Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rondeau-Blenheim OFO Field Trip and Checklists

Today I led the traditional Rondeau Park/Blenheim Sewage Lagoon trip for the OFO Convention.  I was a bit worried with the lack of birds and east wind (not good for Rondeau!), but the people were happy with what was found and of course the weather.  Our list ended up at 88 species for a somewhat quiet day.
We started at the visitor centre and saw a couple of Red-headed Woodpeckers and a few warblers.  I also spotted a Yellow-throated Vireo.  After checking the lake, we headed down to South Point Trail.  A few warblers and woodpeckers were along the trail.  We added Hairy and Red-bellied to the OFO list, but never did get the ever-elusive Pileated!  Sapsucker, Downy and Flicker were also spotted.

Another Philadelphia Vireo!

The group spread out a bit and some lagged behind. Maris Apse observed a Prairie Warbler, so many did not get to see it.  It was a nice find for the fall!
We never did find a Tufted Titmouse.  Any other time you may see four or five!  Never fails!
After lunch at Blenheim Lagoons, we spent two hours there and came up with a good number of species.  If you stay long enough, things do appear.

I was pleased that a Red-necked Phalarope was in pond 3.  Although not reported for a couple of days, it can easily be missed.  Also in the pond was the Horned Grebe which has changed in appearance since a few days ago.
Some Ruddy Ducks, Mallards and a controversial female Ring-necked Duck were seen.  Ron Tozer wanted Lesser Scaup for the OFO list, but after much debate (I never had doubts!) it became a Ring-necked.  Not sure why it was a problem, but it was not a textbook example.  Shovelers were present and a female Pintail flew in with some Mallards.

While heading towards the sprinkler cells, a large flock of Bonaparte's Gulls suddenly came in and we instantly spotted an adult Little Gull.  Another surprise!  There was a huge flock of gulls in a distant field from which they came.
Over at the shorebird hangout, we added Stilt Sandpiper to the list and looked at many other common shorebirds.

While at the lagoons, an Osprey flew over, as well as a Merlin.  Black-crowned Night-Heron (imm.) and a Green Heron were also briefly seen.
During the day with random discussions, it turns out a few species seen by individuals/parties yesterday were not added to the OFO Convention Checklist.  For example, we had two Scarlet Tanagers at Blue Heron!  Next year plans are to take a different approach at the dinner to find out what was seen during the day.  With Ron Tozer along, we tallied up the current total of OFO Convention species at the end and it stood at 170.  The record is 176 for a Pelee convention.  More will be added no doubt!


  1. Blake, nice Rondeau list! I was wanting to get out there an join you but... maybe next year. -DM

  2. A good weekend overall, the best checklist for my wife and I was at the Blenheim Sewage Lagoons. First of the year Red-necked Phalarope, Stilt Sandpiper and Little Gull. Spotting the gull in sunny, 15+ degrees weather beats standing at the Whirlpool in December. Too bad I could not get on the Yellow-throated Vireo or observe the Prarie Warbler.

  3. Hi Jean and Bob,
    Blenheim turned out better than I anticipated. A nice day. Good to see you!