Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Pelee Outing

I often make a trip to Point Pelee a few days before Christmas to see what is around.  I had originally planned to go yesterday, but with the given weather, today looked better.  It was better and even the sun poked out for a few minutes (a novelty on a weekend).  Birds seemed to be moving around.

Earlier, some distance north of Wheatley, I noticed a Snowy Owl sitting in a field.  It was also there (but further back) when I returned in the afternoon.  Turns out it was the only one I saw during the day.

Owl in the Dawning Light

Strong SW winds were forecast, but the west side was very calm and as I approached the Tip, I could hear the roar of ice in the east side.  Winds were still easterly piling up all the ice on that side.  Not too much was happening at the Tip, so I headed back to the parking lot.
As usual, a bat was clinging to the washroom wall.  I have seen several species at Pelee over the years.


Next stop was Shuster Trail which is usually good in the winter.  Birds were right at the parking lot when I arrived including several Yellow-rumped Warblers.  The trail was very quiet but I could hear birds over by the VC.  Lots of things were there including many American Robins, Cedar Waxwings, Purple Finches and the warblers.  At least two Northern Flickers were working some trees as well. I stood in the parking lot for some time and many robins flew over.  The one flock was 100+!
Josh Vandermeulen was on Shuster as this time, so he missed that flock.  I also saw a Great Blue Heron fly over heading south.

Tobermory boats at Wheatley (two new ones are being built now!)
Not a Great Blue Heron!

I stopped at De Laurier for a bit and the usual White-throated Sparrows were near the SE corner of the parking lot.  Was a bit quiet here except for some noisy robins to the north.

A drive through the Onion Field area revealed very little except for a few Northern Harriers.

I headed home via Tilbury and Jeannette's Creek, but saw little of interest.  Mitchell's Bay is all iced in of course but I did see some ducks flying around and a Bald Eagle in the distance.  Some late migrant Tundra Swans were in the fields.

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Each Saturday, a nature column is presented in the London Free Press. Written by Paul Nicholson, it is available online as well at:
The World Outdoors
It is actually an offshoot of the column that Tom Hayman wrote for decades in the LFP. I recall reading Tom's column when I first started birding to get the latest news.  Of course those were the days before Internet and cell phones!
This week's column features Paul's top picks of the past year.


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