Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pelee: Birding in the Wind

A crazy SW wind developed overnight so I headed down to Point Pelee.  Sustained winds over 50 km/h made things interesting at the Tip.
"Where is that Little Gull?"

On the drive down to the Tip the road was littered with branches, leaves and Hermit Thrushes.  All along the way, Hermit Thrushes popped up. By the time I parked at the Tip, I estimated around 140.  More on the trail to the Tip too!

Well, it was nuts at this morning.  Tens of thousands of birds were moving down the east side and heading out somewhere.  Did not look at the west side as we were behind the trees on the east beach.
It was a big day for Red-breasted Mergansers and Bonaparte's Gulls.  During the five hours there, they were constantly going by, and still going by when we left.

I tend to underestimate things, but at least 3500 Bonaparte's Gulls went by, and those were the close ones.  Not a single rarity with them!  At one point we did see an adult Little Gull go by the Tip.
Perhaps 30,000 Red-breasted Mergansers went by as well.  Other ducks included about 28 Black Scoters, but only a few Surf and White-winged.  Some Bufflehead, Black Duck, one Long-tailed and of course about 3000 scaup.
Loons and grebes were scarce with only 4 Common Loons and about 8 Horned Grebes that I noticed.
The only shorebird was a Sanderling that came down the east side, rounded the Tip and headed west into the wind.
Besides the Little Gull, an apparent hybrid Herring X Great Black-backed Gull adult sat on the Tip for a while as well as Lesser Black-backed Gulls (2 first cycle and one adult).

Karl Overman stopped by for a while and commented on the good number of passerines in the park.  In the warbler department he came across a female American Redstart and a Black-throated Blue Warbler.
Lots of Yellow-rumped, kinglets and Hermit Thrushes were around. On the way back from the Tip, we had a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Several Eastern Phoebes were around too.
De Laurier parking lot had lots of sparrow--mainly juncos and chippies.

I watched for swallows, but none were in the park it seems.  However, several Tree Swallows were at Wheatley Harbour and all along the lake to Cedar Springs.

I headed over to Erieau after Pelee and Tree Swallows seemed to be migrating all along the lakeshore.  I had counted around 200.  Also had one buffy swallow that I only got a glimpse.  It is Cave Swallow season, so we have to watch for those now!
Erieau had a number of bonies, but again nothing rare.  Jim Burk could not find anything there either save for a young Little Gull.  I guess all those gulls are at Long Point!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos. I can't imagine seeing that many birds in one day...:)