Saturday, October 20, 2007

Birding/Butterflying in the Wind

Today (Saturday) was an interesting day. There was a gale force wind out of the WSW. I would have preferred a NW wind for going to Point Edward on Lake Huron, but we take what we get. Despite the wind, it was a nice day.

I chose to go to Erieau and Rondeau. There was lots of action at the Erieau pier, but no rarities. A SE wind would have been better! There was only a handful of Bonaparte's Gulls among the hundreds of Ring-billed and Herring. Bonaparte's seem to be few and far between so far this fall. Getting late for seeing a Sabine's Gull. That species has never been officially recorded for the Rondeau area.

Over Rondeau Park, I noticed a huge flock of Turkey Vultures coming off their roost. Could have been 100. They were all over today. In fact there has been a huge number of them this fall.

In Rondeau Park, large numbers of Goldfinches and Pine Siskins were moving along the lake into the wind. It seems amazing how fast they go heading into the wind. There were also flocks of Cedar Waxwings. I tried looking for a Bohemian, but no luck. There are only a couple of records of Bohemian for Rondeau, and they are in February.

Also of note were quite a few Purple Finches. It could be a good finch fall as this type of bird is exiting the north in big numbers. When I got home today, there were about a dozen Pine Siskins at my feeder!

A number of butterflies were around today even though it was very windy. I noted at least eight species. The rarest was Fiery Skipper (see photo of one on this blog at the right). I was not able to get a photo of one today though. I saw one in Rondeau, and two later at Blenheim Lagoons. Hard to spot in that wind!

Several Common Buckeye were still around. I have seen so many of those this year. I got a photo of one today (see attached) where I had the Fiery Skipper. This time of year we see the Rosa form, which is reddish underneath.

Other butterflies included Monarch, American Lady, Red Admiral, Orange Sulphur, Cabbage White and Eastern Comma.

There were no shorebirds at Blenheim Lagoons. Lots of different ducks, including Ring-necked which we did not see last Sunday on the OFO outing. As well, several American Coots were present. We did not see those last Sunday either!
Not sure what I will do tomorrow. Probably go back to Rondeau!


  1. Good blog Blake. I'll drop by when time allows to catch up on what you're seeing.

  2. Question: does Rondeau Park fall within a birding circle? There's the Point Pelee Birding Circle and the Hamilton Birding Circle. Where does Rondeau and adjacent areas like Erieau, etc. fit in? Just curious.

  3. Jeremy,
    Rondeau does have a circle that is used as a designated birding area. It is the same as the Christmas Bird Count circle which is 15 mi. in diameter. It goes from the western edge of Ridgetown to the other side of Cedar Springs, and north to just over the 401.
    A year ago we updated the checklist and came up with 350 species. Believe it or not, Swainson's Hawk had just been added that fall! The Wheatear will be #351.
    There are lots of overdue birds such as Sabine's Gull and Mountain Bluebird. Back in Oct. 2003, I personally added Scissor-tailed Flycatcher to the list (almost drove by it!).