Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Birdy Day At Rondeau

It was a good day to head to Rondeau Park.  I got there early as usual and started on south point trail. It was evident there would be lots of birds after I got out of the car, and I knew I would be spending some time on the trail.  Just as well, as the annual Pumpkin Walk was being held farther north in the park!

Rough Waters on Lake Erie

Many of the birds were buried in the shrubs, but came out with some coaxing.  I found many good-sized pockets of passerines.  I have often found that these early days of October can be quite good.

One of many Tennessee Warblers

I ended up with 17 species of warblers, some of which are less common by this time of year.  Many of the birds I saw today were flagged by eBird which is somewhat misleading.  Indeed some of these are scarce by this time, but there are always some around.
I had difficulty getting decent photos as these warblers were within the dogwoods and in poor light.
Some Bay-breasted, Chestnut-sided were around as well as a Wilson's and a Northern Waterthrush.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

American Redstarts were still in pretty good numbers, and there were multiples of Black-throated Blues.  A couple of Pine Warblers were also in the mix.

Several Pine Siskins were flying overhead during the course of the morning. I even saw some perched.
A couple of Indigo Buntings were on south point, but I usually see these till later in October.
Crappy photo of a Bay-breasted Warbler.  I saw at least three today, but never got the camera on them very well!

I saw a few Philadelphia Vireos plus a single Red-eyed and a Blue-headed.

Palm Warblers were numerous today

Although winds were still brisk out of the west, the lake was somewhat active.  I spent some time watching.  Lots of scaup and Red-breasted Mergs are now showing up.  Several Common Loons were on the move.  I saw one distant Red-throated which is always good for Rondeau.  However, these loons were nothing compared to what I was going to see later!

A single Peregrine Falcon was perched near the light beacon early on.

I eventually saw this one several times later on down the trail.

I spent an amazing 3.5h on south point trail, but only to the "washout".  It was impossible to go further!  Rondeau is shrinking, and there has been an incredible amount of erosion on the southerly side.

The only other spot I checked in the park was the SE corner of maintenance where I found a good pocket of birds.  Another Philadelphia Vireo was among this group.

Soon, I headed out of the park down Rose Beach Line.  A Red-necked Grebe was reported out that way yesterday, but I did not find one today.  However, there was a large group of feeding birds.  I was amazed to find a huge gathering of Common Loons.  I counted 115 in one area off the little park near the end of McKinley Line.  I am sure there were a few more, as these birds were constantly diving.  It was interesting to see the various states of plumage of the Common Loons.
Interestingly, this spot seems to attract large groups.  A couple of years ago in July, I counted more than 60 Common Loons, rather unusual for the time of year.

Next, and last stop, was Blenheim Lagoons.  After yesterday's showing, I thought it would be a good idea to check it out.  However, there were far fewer shorebirds today, and a different mix.  The Stilt Sandpiper was still there along with some Dunlin and the other common species, but at least 6 White-rumped Sandpipers were new.  These were young birds of course.

One Greater Yellowlegs decided to have a swim with some coots!

Different ducks included several Redhead, but the scaup were not present.  The Bufflehead was still there.

Maybe by next weekend there will finally be a chance to get to Sarnia!

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