Sunday, April 27, 2014

April's Final Weekend Birding

Birds are trickling in, but numbers are certainly down from what we have been used to the last few years for this time of year.
Saturday I went to Rondeau.  For some reason, birds are not showing up at Rondeau to any degree!  One was hard-pressed to find a Yellow-rumped Warbler. I did a lot of walking on Saturday, so at least I got some exercise!
I started at Tulip Tree Trail, where I heard and saw an early Wood Thrush.  I also heard some sharp chip notes characteristic of a waterthrush, but that is as far as it went.  It stopped and I never saw the bird.
On south point trail, Steve and I saw a couple of Nashville Warblers, and a few Yellow-rumped.  On the lake, Steve spotted a Red-necked Grebe not far offshore--an excellent bird for this time of year.  They are quite rare at Rondeau to begin with.
grebe record shot

The lake was quite active all morning, but nothing else unusual was seen.

Over at Blenheim lagoons, the Eared Grebe was still present.  It is not one to come close, so photos are poor.

It was extremely windy and difficult to stand up straight there!  The shorebirds were hunkered down in the sprinkler cells along the northerly edge.  There were still lots of Dunlin, Pectoral Sandpipers, a few Lesser Yellowlegs and a single Least Sandpiper.

Can you see the Dunlin?

There were lots of swallows present, so I decided to see if I could pick out all species.  I got all five plus Purple Martin.  No violent-green as Kevin would say.

I also checked out Erieau.  Some Pied-billed Grebes were in McGeachy, and some Horned on the lake, so it was a four grebe day!  It was too much to ask for a Western.

There is still some snow along the north-face of the dike.  Evidence of the harsh winter was there with most of the shrubs and small trees broken and crushed due to the weight of the snow.

Both Sora and Virginia Rails were calling along the Marsh (aka R/R track trail).

Today I went to Pelee since there was no sense in getting more depressed at Rondeau!  It was a good choice as there were birds to look at.  Still very slow for this time of year, but apparently it was pretty good based on the some of the previous days.
I went to the Tip first thing.  An immature Glaucous Gull was floating off the Tip. Some Common Loons were flying overhead among ducks and gulls.

The Tip area, Loop Woods and north of Sparrow Field were the busiest.  A whopping 8 species of warblers were seen or heard today in that area.  The Hooded Warbler was heard again and Barb Wire's group had a Cerulean Warbler.
There were quite a few Palm Warblers including the "yellow" version again.  Some Black-and-White and Black-throated Green were nice to see for my firsts of the year.

At one point, Steve Pike and Chris Law announced a Fish Crow.  There was skepticism, but eventually the subject bird made an appearance heading south along the west side while we were south of the solar panel. We all had good views of the bird.  It headed well out over the lake towards Pelee Island, but turned back and headed into the park.  It was briefly seen again.  Many got to see it, and the characteristics certainly pointed towards Fish Crow.  However, it never vocalized.
Here is my attempt to get a photo (LOL!):

The bird was moving fast and I never got focused on it quick enough.

The Yellow-throated Warbler is still hanging around, but very elusive.  It has been reported everyday, but still remains hypothetical in the books of Ron Tozer and Mike Nelson.

I walked down west beach trail later in the morning.  It was nice and warm there.  Just a Red Admiral or two.  (Tom Preney said they saw a Buckeye today, which is weird since it would be a record early for Ontario by a longshot).  Lots of ducks were in close on the lake including dozens of Surf Scoters.

A good number of warblers were still along the road by Sparrow Field and a bit north.
One of several Pine Warblers today

"zee zee zoo zee"

After lunch I checked out Hillman Marsh and noted the two remaining Marbled Godwits.
Another one of those 'record' shots

At 'least' one Least Sandpiper was present with many Dunlin and a crappy-looking Black-bellied Plover. Habitat is good there and no doubt some Avocets will show up this week, among other things.

Lesser Yellowlegs

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