Rarities are always out there waiting to be discovered, and with the huge number of birdwatchers out there these days, many are being found.
The Smith's Longspurs at Point Pelee were a super find. Somehow I was not totally surprised as I have had that species in the back of my mind lately. I just mentioned that a few days ago to Jim Burk! It is worthwhile to check out those longspur flocks!. It would have been nice for me to see the breeding-plumaged bird, but since it was a weekday, I was not able to get away. I have only seen one of the species--the winter bird at Hagersville several years ago.
Not surprising today with the change in weather, birds were showing up. It was pouring rain first thing this morning so I did not get my walk in at Brander Park. The sun was out this afternoon, so I stopped after work and found a few new migrants. One was a bright male Cape May Warbler! Usually it is a bit later I find these beauties, but this was an early migrant. It is actually my favourite warbler. When I first started birding, the Balsam tree in the backyard attracted many of them every year. There was no shortage of them and I recall one afternoon I counted ten feeding in the one tree!
This evening just before dark, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was working the cedars in the backyard. Not often I get one here in the yard. Lots of White-throated Sparrows working the ground too.
I had just come home from Mitchell's Bay. It is a nice spot to go in the evening as it is only 20 minutes away. I always first drive to the end of Angler Line in hope of catching a glimpse of a Yellow-headed Blackbird. I stopped there on my way home from Point Pelee on Sunday and noted one singing across the marsh near the end of the road. On the way out Sunday, Josh Vandermeulen passed me, but I guess he did not notice me!
If luck is on your side, the blackbirds are in the marsh right beside the road. Luck was on my side today as three males were right there! I could not get clear shots though.
On was directly beside the road but I could not see. I certainly heard it with its loud raspy call.
Common Galinule used to be guaranteed there as well. That marsh is getting choked out with phragmites though, so it is not too often you get one there anymore.
This is the last stronghold breeding area in southern Ontario that I know about. They used to be quite common at St. Clair NWA, but are never seen there anymore as the habitat has changed. We used to get them at Tremblay Beach CA at Stoney Point, Essex as well. That place dried up a long time ago. I used to go there quite often to see them and other things. (I recall a Black-necked Stilt at the lagoons there a long time ago!).
The odd time you will see a Yellow-headed Blackbird around here or Lake St. Clair area. I have seen them a couple of times on the Wallaceburg CBC, and even had one in my yard during winter a couple of times.
Tonight, Mitchell's Bay was crawling with gulls. There were thousands all around, but I could only find three species. It was impossible to get a look at most of them, but no doubt some oddity was out there. Lots were off Ticky Tacky Point (end of Angler Line).
Hundreds of gulls over the lake
I walked the shore trail and sat out on the dock for a while. Some Greater Yellowlegs were around and a Wilson's Snipe flew by in the shorebird department. Countless gulls and terns went by.
Lots of shorebirds (99% Dunlin--300+) were at the old Curly Clark marsh along Angler Line. They were a bit distant though. That place has potential for an ibis or two!
The weekend cannot come soon enough......