Monday, May 19, 2014

Rondeau Holiday Weekend: Warblers, Woodpeckers, Waterfalls

Birding was decent the last couple days with the pleasant weather.  The nights were clear, and many birds continued on north.  New arrivals were seen each day though, and no doubt many more birds are to come. Few of the later warblers have been seen, and where are the cuckoos?  I have only seen one Black-billed and one Yellow-billed!  I never saw a single one this entire weekend, and they normally breed at Rondeau.

Birding early mornings can be good in late May and even the first few days of June, as I recall in years gone by.  Even mid June there can be a few stragglers!  Latest I have seen Blackpoll at Rondeau is June 22, for example.

I started on south point trail the last couple of mornings and variety has been good with 20+ species of warblers. More species added elsewhere later.

Female Black-throated Blue

Lately, Harrison Trail from the VC to Bennett has seen good birding.  I have checked that section each day, but few if any birders are there.  It is nice to avoid the throngs of people.  That stretch is good for tanagers, which have been plentiful all over this year.  At least four Summer Tanagers have been recorded in that area this season.  Seems to be a good year for Summers as there have been multiple reports all over southern Ontario this month.  A couple days ago, an adult male was seen on Harrison, and today I am almost certain I saw that one again.  It was one of those that got away.  I was just about to put binoculars on a bird above the trail, when it took off deep into the forest.  Everything seemed to fit for a Summer. Oh well....

Lots of Scarlet Tanagers to try and photograph.

Another that seemed to get away today was a Prairie Warbler.  Steve and I just started driving away from south point trail parking area, when Steve stopped abruptly.  He distinctly heard a Prairie Warbler singing.  As I approached, I heard it once, but I knew what Steve was going to say when I got out of the car.  However, where did it go?  We even went for a walk, but never found it again.

Yesterday a couple of Hooded Warblers were messing around the Bennett/Harrison area.  Getting late!

Warbler in the Hood

It was steady birding the last couple of days.  Nothing exceptional, but nice to see birds all along the trails.

Blakeburnian Warbler

Vireo from Philadelphia

Regarding warblers, Black-throated Greens were high on the list Sunday.  Certainly an indication that early warblers are still moving through in numbers.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to head over to Hillman Marsh for a change in scenery.  Several hundred Black-bellied Plover were in plus turnstones, Dunlin and Short-billed Dowitchers. It was a gamble in hopes something of interest was there, but I just do not have the luck some people do at continuously stumbling upon good birds or being at the right place at the right time.

Several dowitchers were in and this one quite close.

This morning was another early start with a nice sunrise.

Steve Charbonneau and I noted several Green Herons on the move.  Difficult to say how many birds were involved, but we had six sightings on south point.  This year we have seen more Green Herons than all of last year!
Two Great Egrets also flew over.
Later, I went out south beach and found the two egrets in the marsh.  (I do not recommend going out there due to the severe and extensive erosion that has taken place since last fall).  Amazing how much land (and trees) disappear! This section of Rondeau has been eroding ever since I can remember.  Where the woods once stood, it is now Lake Erie!

On my adventure, I saw a couple of Red-headed Woodpeckers along the shoreline.  I would assume they were fresh arrivals.  Very few in the park so far this year.  They used to be very common....but you know the story.....

Even this morning, Steve and I had difficulty passing through the south point trail washout area.  At least we got to see Rondeau's only waterfall!  Since the shoreline has eroded back to some of the sloughs, one slough has cut through and is draining like a mini waterfall.

This afternoon I checked out Blenheim Lagoons.  I have not been there in quite some time since nothing of note has been reported.  A fair number of shorebirds were at the sprinklers, including a Solitary Sandpiper, Dunlin, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs.

The ponds had a good variety of ducks including the lonely male Canvasback.

Others included several Redhead, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, a Lesser Scaup, American Coots and a Horned Grebe, not to mention a Pied-billed as well.

The field to the north still had a few Semiplovers.

Next weekend should prove interesting to see what migrants are still passing through.

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