Monday, May 13, 2013

Birds in the Cold

Early morning bluebird

With the unseasonably cold temperatures, birds were very low or on the ground today.  I would expect many perished in this frigid weather that has reduced the supply of insects.  There was even snow farther north!
I saw more Yellow-rumped Warblers than any other warbler species (except Yellow). Even the Yellows were slowed down today.
On my last free day, I did some casual birding at Rondeau, taking a couple of long walks. Lately, a large number of Veery have been around.

As well, today I noticed quite a few Swainson's Thrushes as well.  I still have not yet seen a Gray-cheeked.

Along south point's shoreline I encountered a crow which I tried to turn into a Fish Crow.  It did not vocalize at all, but was difficult to tell as there was nothing to compare it to.

I think last week's Fish Crow (which I narrowly missed!) will be Rondeau's 4th record.  We had the first one there way back 20 May 2000.

All along the way, the few birds I did encounter were virtually on the ground scraping up what little they could find.
One of several 'ground' Black-throated Blues

On my way through the visitor centre area, I was told that Cerulean, Golden-winged and Yellow-breasted Chat among others were at ground level behind maintenance.  Later I went up there, but with 657 cars around the place I kept going! I have seen those already this year anyway!

Next walk was down Harrison from Bennett and back Lakeshore.  Along the way I stopped in at the group camping area, which is really nice when nobody is there.  It is very quiet and secluded and at times many birds are in there.  Not today, but this American Redstart was working a shrub.

Just before I left the park, I looked for the Clay-colored Sparrow that Jim Burk reported last evening.  I found it near the marsh trail entrance.

After lunch I headed over to Blenheim Lagoons.  There was a sight to behold.  Probably 2000 swallows slowly working the ponds in a desperate search for food.  Many Purple Martins were sitting on the ground looking a little lethargic.  (I did not have my camera).  Most were Tree Swallows, but all the other usual species were mixed in.  As well, a Black Tern was on the first pond.
Over at the sprinkler cells, a number of shorebirds were in including 5 Wilson's Phalaropes.  Apparently 7 were there late yesterday.  A couple of dowitchers were in too.

On another note, I believe the swan present last week was actually a young Tundra.  A number of people called it a Trumpeter, but upon closer examination head characteristics point to Tundra.

Looks like Wednesday and onwards, lots of birds will be arriving....then departing!

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