Saturday, September 22, 2018

Birds a-plenty at Rondeau Park

Today I checked out Rondeau Park, knowing there should be a good number of migrants with the change in weather. It turned out to be one of the better fall days in recent times!
I started at dog beach with a lakewatch.  The wind was not quite ideal, but there were lots of gulls--nothing of note.  Some Surf Scoters went by as well as other ducks.

I moved down to south point trail and started off with a bang.  Warblers were streaming through by the dozens!  Some were down low where I could get looks at them, but many were high and remained unidentified.
Many were like this....



At times it was somewhat overwhelming as one could not look at everything.  Northern Parulas were plentiful (I saw around 15).



I came across a couple of Connecticut Warblers as well.




A late September Yellow Warbler was near the light beacon.



There were lots of warblers to see along the trail.



At the "washout", I spotted a grebe on the water, somewhat distant.  Just as I was focusing on it, it took flight to reveal itself as a Red-necked.

There were not many vireos, but a few Philadelphia were seen on the way back.




I stopped by maintenance and another large group of passerines was at the corner.  Again, it was overwhelming at times.



Bay-breasted Butt


There were no thrushes at all on south point, but a few were around maintenance including Gray-cheeked, Swainson's and a single Hermit.

Although no "megas" were seen, it was nice to see so many birds for a change.






I stopped by Blenheim Lagoons on the way home and noticed that there is getting to be better edge around a couple of the ponds. 
Lots of Least Sandpipers and Pectoral Sandpipers were present, plus a Short-billed Dowitcher.



A couple of Solitary Sandpipers were in view as well.



Next weekend is the OFO conference at Point Pelee, which I am looking forward to.  On the Sunday, I will be leading the field trip at Rondeau, with assistance from Steve Charbonneau and Donald Pye.  Hopefully we will have a similar day!

Bronze Copper at Blenheim


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Mid-September Meanderings

Saturday morning I headed down to Rondeau Park in the muggy air.  I met up with a couple of guys from Hamilton who had just arrived to look for the Great Kiskadee.  I was going to by-pass the bird, but it was a good thing I stopped to look for the bird with the fellow birders from Hamilton.
The bird was seen first thing in the morning (we heard it call three times as it emerged from its roost site).  It was not seen subsequently, and may have flown the coop or been predated.

After a brief look at the first record for Canada, I went down to south point trail.  A good number of warblers were on the move through the trees, many of which I could not get on for ID.

Young Eastern Towhee

There has been little wind the last few days and the weather quite stagnant.  The lake was calm and few birds were out there.

There has been an invasion of Purple Finches lately.  I have seen or heard them in every locale.  Last evening I found at least 14 at Peers Wetland!



I checked a few other spots later in the morning, but by then things were very quiet.  I went over to the Kiskadee trail where many birders were on the lookout.  The bird was never seen again after early morning.  One can only hope it is still around.

Some wildflowers stood out on my walks.

Closed Bottle Gentian (andrewsii)

Great Plains Ladies Tresses (with Cucumber Beetle)


Today, I was not sure what to do, but pointed my car in the direction of Essex County. I first did a check of Wheatley Harbour where some Sanderlings and a single Ruddy Turnstone were running along the beach.




There were lots of gulls, but nothing stood out.

I then went over to Point Pelee (last minute decision!), and started on Cactus Trail.  I happened to meet up with fellow blogger Dwayne Murphy and his son Michael.  We chatted a while, noting that a few hawks were on the move.
I did not come up with much there, so moved up to De Laurier trail.  There were no warblers to be found, but some hawks moved overhead, including an early Red-shouldered.

Hawk with Broad Wings



Next stop was west beach trail to look for insects.  Cabbage White and Orange Sulphur are in big numbers right now, and today was no exception.  There was little else.....again.
However, near the serengeti tree, I found a Gray Hairstreak.  Always nice to see!



As well, a couple of Common Checkered-Skippers were out and about.


A co-operative Solitary Sandpiper was nearby.



It was getting late in the morning and I wanted to check out Hillman before it got too hot.  Upon arrival, Bob and Karen Yukich from Toronto pulled in.  It is getting funny, as I meet them quite often in many spots!  Bob was at the Kiskadee event last Saturday as well.

We parted ways and I walked around the shorebird cell to look for butterflies.  There was not much, other than sulphurs and Cabbage Whites. Near the end, I met up with Bob and Karen again and we spotted a Common Buckeye.  Bob was earlier commenting that he had not seen a Buckeye yet this year.  They have been very scarce this year, like many species.



There were quite a few Common Checkered-Skippers around the cell, and I even had one in the yard this afternoon.