shoreline looking north near the VC
Blenheim (Rondeau) CBC takes place the first Sunday of the CBC period and today was the day! With yesterday's snow storm and the relentless gale force winds, it was an interesting day. It was not too windy at first light, but soon very strong winds developed. And the light snow never ceased.
Maris Apse and I managed to get to south point in time to hear a couple of Screech-owls, but the bad roads kept us from getting there earlier. No Great Horned owls were heard, but we did come across the "resident of the campground" later in the afternoon. I seem to flush that Great Horned every time I walk the campground.
Seven to eight inches of snow made for some slow-going today. First off, we walked out to the beach (actually shoreline as the beach has virtually disappeared!) near the light beacon. We saw our first harrier of the day. Obviously they were on the move since we came up with a total of eight.
The lake was fairly active and Common Goldeneye were very plentiful today. At one point I saw a small bird come in off the lake in the distance. I speculated American Pipit, but was not sure. It appeared to have landed on the shoreline, so Maris walked down to take a look. Sure enough, it was a pipit!
Pipit Check!Five White-winged Scoters (only ones for the count) went by at one point.
Landbirds were scarce first thing, but later as things lightened up, some started appearing. We came across four Carolina Wrens (they are numerous this year), a Tufted Titmouse and a couple of Golden-crowned Kinglets. The kinglets went into the pines and started making an alarm call sound. I was thinking owl! Way up in one pine I spotted an owl. I could not make it out at first, but it eventually revealed itself to be a Long-eared (only one for the count!). It was the first one I have seen within the park, let alone on my CBC route. It was well-hidden:
Before lunch, we made it up to the VC and the Eastern Towhee was there to greet us. It put on a good show at the feeders.
Not many birds were around the feeders today. We walked back Harrison birds of note included 3 Tufted Titmice. Lunch was spent watching the feeders.
Next stop was the campground. The north end was rather active with birds included a couple of Golden-crowned Kinglets, a couple of Red-winged Blackbirds, a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers and a flock of Eastern Bluebirds. The warblers were difficult to count, but I came up with 18. Apparently there are around two dozen. Five bluebirds were working the cedars and I spotted three more further south.
Maris decided to go outside the park after the campground walk and I checked more spots within the park. Barely two minutes after Maris left, I came across 6 Wild Turkeys crossing the road.
I decided to watch the lake off the VC. Just as I arrived, an Iceland Gull flew by.
The lake was still fairly active. A lone Canada Goose, probably injured, came out of the grasses onto the ice.
A Bald Eagle also flew by here.
The Rondeau shoreline has taken a severe beating this fall and especially of late. South point trail is now disconnected and not possible to go around unless you bushwack. Fallen trees and a large drop to the water prevent one from walking the shoreline. As well, one cannot get to the south beach towards Erieau at present! The whole shoreline has a lack of beach so the powers of wind and water are amazing.
A while later I started heading out of the park. Allen Woodliffe mentioned that he had a flock of Sandhill Cranes fly over while he was in the campground. A good sighting for the CBC. Preliminary total for the CBC is 98. Some good birds such as Wilson's Snipe (3), American Woodcock, Greater White-fronted Goose (8), Ross's Goose (4), Turkey Vulture (4), Brewer's Blackbird (1)....
Roads were bad due to the drifting snow, so I decided to head home early. One year in similar conditions I got caught after dark and could not make it home, so that was not going to happen again!
I am already tired of winter......!
Sand and Snow!