Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Late Spring and Warbler Dates

Nobody needs to be reminded that this is a very late spring.  No surprise after the winter we have had.  I saw a funny email today with Spring as a computer program that was in error and could not be found!
The weather has been depressing with very little sun, constant cloud and rain and high winds.  I have seen very few birds.  I was looking at my notes from past years on when I have first seen some warblers.  I usually record things that are rather early or record early for a particular place.  Some years birds have been very early and by this date I have seen several species of warblers.
Last Friday, Dale Wurker found a Rondeau record-early Blue-winged Warbler at the visitor centre.  When something is found, the "local birders" exchange emails to find out who saw what on what date and who can come up with the earliest date.
Looking at my notes, I had a Blue-winged Warbler on 21 April 2002 which was probably record early at the time for Rondeau.
Going through some other dates, I had a Prothonotary Warbler on Tulip Tree Trail 20 April 2002 which ties the early record.  2002 must have been a fairly early year!
23 April 1995 we had a record early Tennessee Warbler, but then on 22 April 2001 we had a pair!
Some Orange-crowned Warblers have been early.  In 2001, Steve Charbonneau and I had one at Rondeau on April 13. Just the day before, I recall one was seen at Point Pelee that was provincially record early!  2001 was an exceptional year for early dates of warblers.
Last year, Jim Burk and I had a record early Northern Parula on Spicebush Trail 18 April.
Not sure when Chestnut-sided Warblers have been record early, but one on 27 April 2008 was rather early.
That same day we had a Cape May Warbler, certainly a bit early.
A Black-and-White Warbler 18 April 2003 was my earliest for that species.
On 23 April 2007 I was at Point Pelee and a few Blackburnian Warblers were present.  The previous early date there was 21 April.
Black-throated Green Warblers can be quite early.  17 April 1994 was record early for Rondeau at the time, but then we had one 13 April 2001.  It was not record early, as one had been seen 11 April!
My earliest date for Prairie Warbler is 29 April 2007 at Rondeau.
I know we had a late April record for Blackpoll Warbler, which was exceptionally early, but I do not have it written down.
Needless to say, Pine Warblers can be quite early, but I have not seen one yet this year.
My earliest date for a Palm Warbler is 14 April 2002, and it was of the "Yellow" race!
In that exceptional year of 2001, we had a Yellow Warbler 13 April for the early record.
Earliest date for a Hooded Warbler for me at Rondeau was 24 April 2004.
Once in a while, Ovenbirds can show up early.  I had one at Point Pelee Tip 23 April 2007.
As we know, there are some March records of Louisiana Waterthrush.  My earliest sighting was 2 April 2006 at Point Pelee and at Rondeau 14 April 2002.
12 April 1998 I was birding with several people and we found a Northern Waterthrush on South Point Trail.  We saw this bird well, and knew it was incredibly early.  Apparently it stands as provincially early.
So, where are those birds this year?  Not trying for record early dates I do believe.


  1. Hey Blake,

    Where does one find out about record early/late dates for Ontario? Is it just something that is word of mouth or is there an actual document about it somewhere?

    Josh Vandermeulen

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  3. Josh,

    There is not really one document that I know of that lists dates. Ross James's book Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Ontario has some dates, but it is quite dated now.
    AW in Leamington has a good handle on dates from his own database, and that is where I get some info.
    The spring of 2002 was rather exceptional at least at Point Pelee and Alan sent out an email on Ontbirds (20 April) listing some dates at Pelee and surrounding areas.
    The previous year, was quite good as well as I mentioned in the text. Alan sent out an email on Ontbirds 14 April listing record-early spring arrivals for Ontario. It was quite interesting.
    Some of it is from exchange of info from various birders, such as we do around Rondeau. Keith Burk keeps an unofficial database of Rondeau area records.
    We bantered around about doing up a document for Rondeau area late last fall, but nothing came of it!

  4. Try eBird "All-Time First / Last Records", but be aware of this: