Thursday, May 8, 2014

Birding May 5-8: A SNOW and some Snow

Spent Monday and Tuesday at Point Pelee.  Not surprisingly, it was very cold except for Tuesday afternoon. I did not find many birds which seems to be my usual luck there.  It was tough finding where some birds were on those days.
I stopped first thing at Hillman Monday and noted a single Long-billed Dowitcher.  The other shorebirds of note had left from the previous day!

At the park, I came across an Eared Grebe early morning on the west side south of midway of West Beach Trail. Water was calm and lighting was somewhat good for a decent photo.

Around mid-day I walked Woodland Trail with the Groves.  Two Hooded Warblers were at the head of the trail, the Yellow-throated Warbler was at its usual neighbourhood and a Louisiana Waterthrush was at the south boardwalk.  Not much opportunity for photos this day.

Blame this poor photo on my
Louisiana Waterthrush

In mid afternoon, I checked out the Smith's Longspur spot.  One has to go into that field to find them.  I saw a female up close.  For some reason I did not lug the camera along!

I camped at Wheatley PP the two nights in my usual spot. As expected, both Sora and Virginia Rail were calling at the old lagoon site as I went to sleep.  Also heard Great-horned Owl.  During the night, a coyote or some member of the canine family kept me awake for a while!

Tuesday at Pelee was sunny for a change, but very cold to start.  By later in the afternoon it was quite pleasant and no need for jacket inland.  First thing we found a Bobolink perched in a tree at the Tip.  Not the typical habitat, but often seen like this when they first come in.
A fresh arrival was a Warbling Vireo at the Tip.

It was once again tough finding many birds.

Later afternoon was the annual pot-luck at White Pine where a number of friends gather for some good times.  This is the second I have been able to attend and it is quite enjoyable.  A special presentation (plaque of appreciation) at the end of the dinner was given to Alan Wormington for his hard work over the years in for his writings contributing to ornithological records in Ontario.  (A surprise to Alan!). Congratulations!

Back at Wheatley PP, I found a Solitary Sandpiper in the' usual' spot.  There is one here every year at this time!

For Wednesday, I decided to go back to Rondeau.  As usual, the weather was poor!  However there was a good number of birds (esp. warblers) on Spicebush Trail.  Included was a male Golden-winged.
At first light, hundreds of warblers were streaming north at a fast pace.  Seems to be the trend lately!  As a result, not many were left in the park.

In the afternoon I ventured outside the park to look at the Snowy Owl (SNOW) reported the previous day at Erieau.  Latest I have ever seen one!

There is a late June record for Erieau though.

While in the vicinity, I checked the first part of Marsh Trail (aka R/R track trail) and found a number of birds out of the wind.  At one point I thought I was hearing a Golden-winged Warbler, but due to the gale force wind (yes, again!), I was not sure.  Sure enough, a bird came alongside the trail singing.  A Brewster's Warbler!  It even sang a Blue-winged song at one point.

McGeachy Pond edge still had a bit of remnant snow.  Rondeau's marsh trail also had some leftover snow on this day.  One would think it was March with the weather, snow and Snowy Owl!

Up at Blenheim Lagoons (I never did go in), the Franklin's Gull that was found by Steve Charbonneau a couple days earlier, was in a field with bonies.  It is an immature bird.  Too far away for a photo though.

By nightfall, a thunderstorm rolled in.  There were several storms during the night and one very intense.  A lot of rain fell.
By first light Thursday morning, the clouds were disappearing and the sun came out for a nice.  Actually the nicest day we have had yet.  It bode well for birding, as hundreds of birds dropped in during the night.  However, hundreds were quickly streaming north out of the park once again.
Steve Charbonneau and I stopped at Bennet and Rondeau Roads first things and noted lots of birds, most of which were heading north at a good clip.
We decided to counter them at maintenance.  A good choice as we spotted around 18 species of warblers, plus many tanagers, orioles, and vireos.  Best warbler was a Golden-winged that flitted briefly right in front of me for a few seconds.  No time for a photos on all these anxious birds!
Scarlet T.

Nashville Warblers won the lottery for numbers today, but Ovenbird, Black-and-White were close behind.
Thrushes were in good numbers (we had FOY Gray-cheeked) as well a White-throated Sparrows.  We spent a lot of time along Rondeau Road.  Still no Kenucky or Hooded there!
At one point we had Veery, Gray-cheeked Thrush and Swainson's Thrush close together in one binocular view.  A Wood Thrush was singing in the background.  Was not till later we saw a Hermit Thrush!

Birds were all over the park and it was nice to finally see some numbers.  As I left this afternoon, warblers were quietly working the sloughs.

My yard here even had a good number of migrants....finally.

Tomorrow looks pretty good as well.

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