Thursday, October 30, 2014

'Tis the Season

It has been a fairly warm week, but I have been watching the weather forecast for the weekend. (Guess I never learn!).  Things are shaping up for a good lakewatch at Sarnia on Saturday.  Strong north winds will be kicking in later Friday and by early Saturday morning it will be brisk.  Hopefully the forecast will be correct.
There should be some birds seen on Saturday!  Only time will tell, but he it is the right time of year.
Exactly two years ago we were treated to the remnants of hurricane Sandy which provided a unique opportunity for birders.

250+ Brant were seen

October 21 was a pretty good day there, but I missed that for obvious reasons.  This weekend is not too late in the season, so there still should be lots of birds around.


In other things...

Got out for a quick walk at Peer's Wetland just before dark today.  Its about all I can do during the week with these way too short days. Lots of Rusty Blackbirds and others moving through.  Passerines are getting scarce with only a few kinglets, a Fox Sparrow and a Hermit Thrush along the dike.  The local Wood Ducks are still hanging out.

On Sunday we heard some odd tapping in Rondeau's maintenance yard.  This Downy was working a shed!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Some Winter Birding, Rondeau Area

Sunrise at Rondeau (note tug and barge!)

Back to Rondeau on this fine day.  Beginning at sunrise, Jim Burk and I checked out the park for a couple of hours or so. Far fewer birds than last week of course, but we remarked that many of the birds from today could be seen in winter!

Warblers have dwindled considerably.  The Yellow-rumped were there, but we added a Nashville, Tennessee and a couple of Common Yellowthroats.  We have never seen a Tennessee in winter (late date I have for Rondeau is 1 November 1998), but I have seen Nashville in winter!  (11 January 1998+). And of course yellowthroats can be found in early winter.  Could not get photos of today's birds.

Butterbutts feasting on Poison Ivy Berries

Never did get an Orange-crowned today (although Jim had one late in the day in the campground) so I guess last weekend was peak.  Had one at Mitchell's Bay a few days ago.

The only vireo was a Blue-headed (which I have seen in mid December at Pelee).

Pine Siskins were all over the place, but that Evening Grosbeak never materialized.  Good time of year for them though.

After doing the south end of the park, we headed up to maintenance area.  As I pulled up, a young Northern Mockingbird got up off the road.  First one I have seen in quite some time.  They seemed to be scarce this year.

We saw a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, which will likely be incognito December 14.

Rondeau Bay is loaded with ducks and no doubt a Eurasian Wigeon  plus a Cinnamon Teal are out there.  Too choppy today to check it out.

Heading out of the park, I found the warm body of a Brown Thrasher along Rose Beach Line. This is the exact-same area I had a thrasher in the middle of last winter.  Wonder if it was the same one.

I wandered outside the park and made a circle tour heading to Ridgetown first.  Lots of geese there with considerable size differences.  There may have been 8-10 Cackling Geese, but some of the ones I saw were a bit larger than usual so may have been lesser Canada Geese.

Over at Blenheim Lagoons, some shorebirds were in the sprinkler cells, but as soon as I plopped my scope down, whooosh!  A Peregrine came by and scattered the birds.  Looks like there were both yellowlegs, Dunlin and Pectorals.

After picking up a sub sandwich in Blenheim, I headed to Erieau and walked the R/R track trail and part of McGeachy dike.  Nothing unusual there.  Butterflies included several Painted Lady and a Buckeye plus the sulphurs, Cabbage Whites and an Eastern Comma.

For one last kick at the can, I decided to head towards Shrewsbury.  Along Bisnett I spotted a white thing in a field.  Obviously a Snowy Owl!  This early arrival was not far from the road and at one point coughed up a pellet.


This general area is good for Snowy Owls every year it seems.

At Shrewsbury Dock, I  caught sight of some shorebirds along the SW side.  There were Pectorals, yellowlegs, Dunlin, a Least Sand and wait for it...a Wilson's Phalarope.
They had moved farther up by the time I got the camera on them.

The Blenheim area tends to have rather late Wilson's Phalaropes.  21 October 2006 I had a record late at Blenheim Lagoons, but of course we all remember the one in 2010 which stayed until at least 4 December. (so that was a winter bird once!).

Supposed to get quite cold by next weekend, so that should make things interesting.