Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lake to Lake Birding

Early Morning!

I had intentions of starting at Sarnia this Saturday morning as a good NW wind was forecast.  I got up and
the wind was light out of the SW!  Somehow I was not surprised, so I went to Rondeau instead.
It was a clear morning and I started on south point trail.  By this time of year, birds are fairly scarce down there but I did see a few.  A single Ruby-crowned Kinglet was quite obliging.

At least seven Eastern Bluebirds were flying around.  Here are two high in a tree.

A few things were on the lake.  It was much calmer than last week and more shoreline was visible!

After that walk, the campground is always a must this time of year.  Fewer birds than last week, but there were some highlights.  I came across a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  Not unusual for one or two of these to hang around the campground all winter.  This one will likely stay.

At the same time I was chasing around a large flock of juncos.  I heard a robin or two and saw three birds flying by.  The trailing bird was a bit different--a tad smaller and different look.  It stopped to perch very briefly in a tree while the other two continued on.  A female Varied Thrush!  I saw it only briefly, but I had little doubt.  It continued in the direction of the other two birds into Bate's Subdivision.  I headed that way, but could not locate it again.
There was no time to  get a camera on it plus the fact I was not too close to it.  Hope it is still around.
The last Varied Thrush in the park (first park record, but second for Rondeau area) was one I found on south point trail in early October 2002.
Also in the campground was a Fox Sparrow and a few Yellow-rumped Warblers.

I took a brief look at ducks on the Bay then headed out.  By this time the wind was switching and picking up.  I headed over to Ridgetown and saw two Snow Geese among the many Canada's.  I really wanted to sit at Sarnia and watch the lake, so I continued on up to Sarnia!

Just south of Florence, I encountered a large flock of Lapland Longspur.  Some Horned Larks were mixed in, but I estimated about 75 birds.

When I arrived, a good brisk NW wind was blowing and there was quite a bit of action.  There are still large numbers of Bonaparte's Gulls on the US side.  I could not find anything with them...not even a shearwater (lol).
At one point I did see a first cycle Little Gull fly out over the lake.
A first cycle Glaucous Gull was making big circles as I saw it three times in the 3.5h I was there.  Paul Carter joined me for some time and even Sarah Rupert stopped in to her old stomping grounds. Lots of activity...
I eventually left even though the wind was picking up.

Next stop was Perch Creek.  Got a nice look at a Northern Shrike.  The first look revealed that it had a mouse.  Later on I saw it again and got a half decent photo.

I checked for owls and only got one Long-eared in the pines.  Not much else around.

Early Evening!


  1. Blake, that'd an excellent day of birding! hopefully that varied thrush sticks around. maybe your rondeau contacts can be on alert for it. I heard varied thrushes at Banff but never saw one. they can very elusive!

  2. Fantastic find, Blake. Pretty incredible that you have found two at Rondeau. I can't imagine too many Ontario birders can claim finding two Varied Thrushes with none of them being at feeders!

  3. Josh, yes they usually come to feeders here in the winter. The first one I had at Rondeau popped out of the underbrush on south point trail along the lake and sat in a tree. No camera!
    The very first one I saw (in Springbank Park,London)a long time ago, I don't think was coming to a feeder either.