Sunday, November 11, 2018

Rondeau Rounds and Some Late Birds

I did my usual rounds at Rondeau once again this weekend.  Saturday was brutally windy and rather cold, but a short lakewatch at dog beach started the day.  One could only stand there for so long!  The only shorebirds were four Sanderlings.  Gull activity was fairly good, but no rarities.....again.

I checked out south point trail afterwards.  Ruby-crowned Kinglets were plentiful for this late date.

A few Yellow-rumped Warblers were kicking around.  Lots of juncos and other sparrows were found.

Later, I went up to the campground.  The south end had quite a few birds to keep one busy.  Two tardy Blue-headed Vireos were working the trees.

Steve had seen a Nashville Warbler (not unusual at this date), but I could not find it.

I decided to go back to south point trail again as it was somewhat out of the wind.  A Blackpoll Warbler was notable on this round.  Lighting was horrible most of the day.

The only flycatcher type left, was a single Eastern Phoebe.

Quite a few Cedar Waxwings were kicking around during the day, but still no Bohemian.

For Sunday I thought of going other places, but it would take a longer drive.  I went back to Rondeau and it turned out to be a good day.  Several late birds were around.  Keith had seen a Cape May Warbler, Northern Parula and American Redstart (female type) during the day, as well as a White-eyed Vireo.  McArthur's had seen a male redstart at their pond as well.  The redstarts are record late by about a week.
I could only come up with Yellow-rumped Warblers despite trying.

Steve and I started the day at dog beach for a lakewatch under more comfortable conditions.  Lots of ducks were moving, especially Bufflehead.  Bufflehead seemed to be everywhere today!  There was a good variety of ducks seen.
Horned Grebes were in good numbers--I kept track and counted 44.  A few Common Loons and a single Red-throated Loon was observed.

We had a distant shorebird which remained unidentified.  It could have been a Purple Sandpiper for all we know!

I went on to south point trail by myself.  Ruby-crowned Kinglets were more plentiful this day.  There were actually all over the park.

An American Woodcock was in the same area as yesterday, but did not co-operate for any type of photo.

Juncos were numerous today, as they usually are this time of year.

The campground was on the agenda next, but it seemed quieter than yesterday.  I checked it twice.
At least three Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were roaming around the campground (I saw a fourth near maintenance).  They are regular in winter in the campground!

Finch types were not all that plentiful this weekend. Although some Evening Grosbeaks were around, I could not come up with any.
A few Pine Siskins were around, as well as Purple Finches.
One wonders if we will see any crossbills.  There is a White-winged coming to a feeder up at Sarnia.  It is an ugly dark juvenile, not much to look at apparently!

Down Harrison trail, I spotted a Gray Catbird munching on some berries.

On a tip from Mike Cowlard, at beach access #1, I saw a Blue-headed Vireo.  It was there as soon as I got out of the car!

A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers was along Lakeshore Road.  Despite their grandeur and size, they are very elusive in late fall and winter!  It had been a long time since I had seen one.

After making rounds in the park, I headed over to McGeachy Pond and met up with Steve.  I did not anticipate spending much time there, but we spent more than 1.5h!  Living up to its name, this dike held some decent birds for this time of year.  A Wilson's Warbler was there on Friday, as seen by Jim Burk.
We had to work for them, looking into the tangles, but we came up with some decent finds.  Steve spotted a Black-and-white Warbler at one point.  Even though I was standing right beside him, I did not get a good enough look.  This warbler is most certainly record late by almost two weeks.

Near the viewing tower, we checked the area and a number of birds were in the lower area.  Almost simultaneously, I heard the chip notes of a Northern Waterthrush and a Common Yellowthroat.  Although I saw the waterthrush well, I could not get a photo.

We did get good looks at the Common Yellowthroat, a bird not unusual in this area in late fall.

I went back up on the dike to see if I could see the waterthrush.  As a consolation, I spotted an Orange-crowned Warbler!  These creatures are often difficult to photograph, especially at McGeachy.  Fuzzy photos are the norm!

After this round, it was time to head home.  It will be interesting to see what else turns up in the Rondeau area in the next few weeks.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Pinery Birding and a Bonus Grebe

A change in scenery was in store for today, as I headed up to Pinery Provincial Park.  I do not get up there as often as I used to, so it was nice to check things out.  I met some friends up there to do some birding, starting at Riverside Trail.
The last couple of days, some Pine Grosbeaks were seen along the trail.  Unfortunately we could not find any today.  There will likely be more.  It has been a long time since I have seen any!

A territorial Red-headed Woodpecker was there the whole time chasing away various birds.

Lots of Black-capped Chickadees were throughout the park, especially at Riverside trail.  They are irrupting south as well.

Other finches included a single Common Redpoll, some Pine Siskins and Purple Finches on the trail.

We parted ways and checked out some other areas on our own.  Deryl Nethercott saw a couple of Common Ravens along the river.  I am fairly certain I saw a couple as well near the store.  They are being seen with increasing frequency in recent times.

We then decided to join Sean Jenniskens at the viewing tower on Nipissing trail.  It has an excellent vantage point and good for seeing hawks.

Things were slow at first, but raptors starting moving later on.

We saw at least four Golden Eagles, several Bald Eagles and other hawks.

Although most were quite distant, a good selection of raptors were seen before we departed.

Various passerines went by as well.  Some Evening Grosbeaks went by a couple of times in quick fashion.  Seems these finches are motoring on through, and few are sticking around.

Six Sandhill Cranes were observed migrating at one point.

I went back to Riverside trail just in case the Pine Grosbeaks made an appearance.  However it was not to be.  Still lots of time to get some!
I did see an Evening Grosbeak flyover at close range as I approaced the boardwalk.

I left the park and thought I would take a quick look around Ipperwash.  However, at Army Camp Road, I received a message that a Western Grebe had been found at Bright's Grove by local birder Matt Parsons.  As this was not all that far down the road, I headed straight to the village.

Red-throated Loon at Bright's Grove

Upon arrival, several local birders were already viewing the grebe.  It was rather distant when I saw it.  Nice to see of course, even though I found the one off Port Credit back in early April of this year.
This will be the fourth record for Lambton now.  (One at Grand Bend May 1996, one in upper St. Clair River January 2013, and one I found one off Pinery back on 18 November 2006)

All in all, it was a decent weekend for birding and with decent weather!