Thursday, October 19, 2017

Searching For Birds

With the days getting too short, I spent a little time before and after work looking for birds.  I often stop at Peers Wetland after work. 
A couple of days ago, I specifically had Nelson's Sparrow on my mind.  There is ample suitable habitat to harbour a Nelson's Sparrow. at Peers, and the last couple of years I had always hoped to find one there.  Near the end of my walk, one popped up out of the cattails!  I had to laugh at the time since it was my target bird.  Unfortunately, I did not have a camera, which is often the case at Peers.
It seems that Nelson's Sparrows have been well-reported this fall.  Perhaps birders have been more adept at finding them, but these skulky sparrows are often difficult to find.  Many go through, but they hide well.
Last December, a few days before New Year's, I found one at St. Clair NWA.  That was more unique given the lateness. 

This evening, I went out to Mitchell's Bay and walked the south shore  trail. This time of year, there are passerines along the trail, but geese are in high numbers coming off the lake. 

This evening there were perhaps 1500 geese in several flocks.  Early on, I spotted one Snow Goose, which was the only different one of the lot!

At sunset, many flocks were coming in off the lake.

It was a year ago that many Greater White-fronted Geese were reported around SW Ontario.  Mitchell's Bay was no exception.  But, nothing other than the Snow Goose today.

Along the trail were many White-throated Sparrows and kinglets.  Besides Yellow-rumped Warblers, was a single male Black-throated Blue.
Other birds included a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, some Hermit Thrushes and an Eastern Phoebe.

This coming weekend looks rather warm for the time of year, so we will see what transpires!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Birds at the Tip

Very strong SW winds sucked me down to Point Pelee early this morning.  One has to try!

John D. Leitch passing Point Pelee

There was a pretty good movement of birds, but not a huge movement.  And, nothing decidedly rare!
It seems to be the trend this fall as lakewatches have been nonchalant for the most part.  Perhaps is has just been too warm.

Jeremy Bensette, Kory Renaud, Dan Greenham

Our highlight was a young Parasitic Jaeger barreling down the west side of the park and past the Tip.  I was the first to spot it and we all got good looks as it flew past.

We had two Parasitic last weekend, so no variety yet!  However, a jaeger is always decent down this way.

There was a big movement of Dunlin today.  Several groups of ten to twenty came down the east side during the course of the morning.  No other shorebirds!  Where are those Red Phalaropes?

Some Bonaparte's gulls were moving today, but not a large number.  Once again, nothing with them.
Double-crested Cormorants were feeding off the west side.

The winds picked up through the morning and the Tip kept shrinking.  We had to keep moving back and watch for rogue waves!  At one point, I was not paying attention and my shoes got soaked.  So much for keeping dry feet for once on a weekend!

Common Loon (note open bill)

A few ducks were moving today, including quite a few Gadwall.  Others included Mallard, Northern Shoveller (2), both scaup and Red-breasted Mergansers.  Strangely, no scoters that I noticed.

Horny Grebe

After 4.5h standing at the Tip, it was time to move on.  It was too windy to look for passerines, including Nelson's Sparrow.  I tried at Hillman Marsh for a bit, but it was too windy and threatening rain.

On to yet another week....