Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saturday Nature: Willet to Rubyspot

With the cold front coming in overnight, I knew there would be some birds around this morning.  Lighting was horrible first thing this morning due to the heavy cloudcover, so there were lots of silhouetted warblers.  The sun refused to come out along the lake, but it was sunny farther north.
Warblers were on the move and I spent quite a bit of time at the south point parking lot after I arrived.
After my walk, I had about 17 species of warblers.  There were a lot of Cape May, Blackpoll and Tennessee Warblers today.  I think Blackpoll took top honours today!

Tennessee in Joe Pye-weed

As well, a large number of Swainson's Thrushes was evident.

A good percentage of the warblers were left unidentified as they quickly moved around and hid in the dense foliage.

There was virtually nothing moving on the lake today except the usual cormorants.

After south point, I checked Dog Beach just up the road.  At first, I walked right by a Willet beside the pond!  I had no camera at this point since it was drizzling, so I went back to the car to get it.  The Willet co-operated nicely for a photo shoot.  There are not too many records there for this time of year, but I have had them a couple of times in the first week of September.

Next major stop was beside maintenance.  A few birds were right there including a Scarlet Tanager, a couple of Great-crested Flycatchers and an Olive-sided Flycatcher.  New warblers for the day included a Canada.

There is a Great Crested in there!

I checked the start of marsh trail as well.  Quite a few things were there including more Tennessee Warblers.  Hunters were getting blinds ready for the upcoming season, so keep in mind there is hunting at Rondeau on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday starting later this month.

Blenheim Lagoons still remain shorebird unfriendly.  The white Tree Swallow is still working the place!  I saw an egret in the distance, but it was only a Great.  I once found a Snowy there years ago, so that is always a possibility.

Lots of ducks are in finally.  There were close to 100 Northern Shoveler and in second place were Blue-winged Teal.  While scanning the ducks, I spotted a Horned Grebe (rather distant).

And then a Black Tern!  It was one of those juveniles that catches your eye at first.

Continuing on, I went to the R/R track trail at Erieau.  Lots of birds were there as well, including many Swainson's Thrushes.
I also walked a bit of McGeachy Pond dike, but there were no birds.  Some dragonflies though.  This one appears to be a Lance-tipped Darner.....I hope!


After a late lunch in Blenheim, I got the idea to head over to Thamesville. A couple of weeks ago Bill Lamond stopped at the bridge on Victoria Road to look for rubyspots.  Both Smoky and American were there.  I have passed that spot hundreds of times (usually the way we head to the 401) and wanted to stop there.  There is a little parkette, cemetery and the old bridge abutments.  You can park beside the cemetery and walk to the river bank below the bridge.
The bank is steep and treacherous, and today the river was running high due to recent rains.  However, I immediately spotted some rubyspots on the easterly side of the bridge.  Actually the first thing I spotted was a large dark one which I am sure was an Ebony Jewelwing.
Sure enough, both Smoky Rubyspots and a couple of American Rubyspots were along the edge.

American Rubyspot

It is the first time I have seen Smoky, the rarer of the two.

A good way to end the afternoon!

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