Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rondeau May 2-4, 2014

Since migration is in full swing, I am spending lots of time at Rondeau and at Point Pelee.  I headed down to Rondeau Park early Friday afternoon and headed straight for the NE corner of the park where a Yellow-throated Warbler (albilora type) was discovered earlier in the day by Jim Burk and Steve Charbonneau.
With the winds, most birds were concentrated along the east side, especially at the NE area of the park.  I was not disappointed upon arrival, as there were lots of warblers and vireos.  It took about a half hour before I spotted the Yellow-throated Warbler.

It was back in, but soon showed well for Chris Law and Reuven Martin who were also present.  It was not relocated the following day, but could still be in the area.

There were several species present and multiples of Black-throated Green, Pine and Black-and-White Warblers.  A Blue-winged also came into view near the Yellow-throated.

This corner of the park can be quite good bird birding.  In past years, I have stopped there on big days and found species that I had not seen elewhere.  It is little-birded, perhaps because of the concentration of cottages.

I checked other areas of the park, but they were almost birdless with regards to migrants. Late in the day, I sighted a Red-headed Woodpecker, likely the first in the park this year.
In the evening, I stopped at the VC to listen for nightjars, but only American Woodcocks were displaying.  I heard a Great-Horned Owl in the distance.  Also, several Coyotes made their presence known towards the marsh.  There are at least two families of coyotes in the park, and are often heard at dusk.
On the way back to the campground, I found a Whip-poor-will sitting on the road, so that was a success.

Saturday was a challenge.  I started at  05:30 at the pony barn area and heard two Whip-poor-wills and a Great Horned Owl, and thought things were off to a good start.  With the wacky weather continuing, high winds (will they ever cease?) and off and on rain, it made finding birds difficult.  There were very few birds, and some trails were virtually birdless!

Lots of these came in for Sunday

I saw a few FOY birds.  Still lots to get for the year, some of which I should have seen by now.  But some birds are late this year!
One notable that we (Jim, Steve and myself) found was an Acadian Flycather.  Pelee has already had multiples, so not surprisingly there had to be one at Rondeau where they are regular nesters.  As I mentioned before, we usually do not expect them until later in the second week of May.

The afternoon was a chore to find a migrant bird!

It was cold all day, with gale-force winds at times, but later in the day it warmed up nicely.  At one point we even had hail!  That happened very quickly while I was at the Blenheim Lagoons.  I was in town for supper, so I decided to brave the winds.  There were waves on the ponds! That place tends to be windy even on a non-windy day!
Lots of Bonaparte's Gulls were around that evening, but nothing of note with them.  Thousands in the fields too.  Franklin's, Laughing, where are you?

Today (Sunday) was a different story.  It was fairly calm first thing in the morning, but cloudy with off and on rain (what's new?).  However, Steve and I got an early start on south point trail.  It was obvious many birds came in overnight, and we even think things dropped in as we were birding there because on our way back, birds were everywhere.  Sometimes birds are still moving at first light.  I recall in the past along the lake when we have seen birds come in off the lake and crash into the shrubbery!

There were perhaps two to three hundred warblers at one point and we could only look at the ones close to the trail.  Lighting was absolutely horrible, but it was fabulous birding. And, we were the only ones there! We had a total of 16 species on that section of trail.  Not a lot of vireos, but the three regular species.
We heard a Prothonotary Warbler, but never saw that one.  Some firsts of the year included Cape May, Tennessee, American Redstart, etc.  We saw a Cerulean (female) on our second pass a little later in the morning.  Also saw a Blue-winged which some birders seem to get excited about.  These I find somewhat regular anymore, and they even nest at Rondeau.  Golden-winged is a different story.

Tree-top Warbler!

We spent the first three hours of the morning along that stretch of trail.  That is more like the days of old!
Also of note was a Clay-colored Sparrow which were heard singing its buzzy notes, a long time before we spotted it.
Lighting was so bad and with light rain, that I did not use the camera much!

On the lake, it was fairly active.  It was a day for Common Loons to move.  We saw perhaps close to 50 in a short period of time.  A Black Scoter was the only notable duck.  Well, a couple of Long-tailed went by too, but the odd one shows up in May.  No grebes!
Other trails had very few birds, but the maintenance loop was fairly active first thing in the morning according to the reports.
This week will be interesting, and by Thursday, it looks like a great day....

Sunset, Saturday Eve


  1. I was wondering when I would get to read your report of the last couple of days. It has been tough going from time to time, that is for sure. Glad you got the YTWA....maybe it will end up back at McArthur's? Or we will have to keep an eye on this area to see if it has relocated here.

  2. Blake, great posting, and great birding as usual. I guess that tree-top warbler is a Female Cerulean! Very nice. I have not yet seen a female of that species. Very nice!-DM