Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rondeau/Ridgetown/Blenheim Birding Tour

Unhappy turtle at Blenheim Lagoons

Rondeau Park campground was first on the agenda this morning.  Along with Jim Burk, we found a number of birds at the north end including a couple of Ruby-crowned Kinglets mixing with Golden-crowned, Fox and White-throated Sparrows.  One Red Cedar was alive with noisy kinglets and a couple of Chickadees and we thought perhaps a Northern Saw-whet Owl was present.  Maybe one of the kinglets was delirious and imagined an owl because there was no owl to be seen!

Near one of the washrooms we had a brief glimpse of a warbler that was 99% likely an Orange-crowned. The chip notes were characteristic and what little was seen of the bird fit the bill. Surprisingly, we had no Yellow-rumped Warblers in the campground but we did have the one near maintenance.  Kind of looks like there will be a scarcity of warblers in these parts this winter.

A few birds were along Lakeshore Road, but it was a far cry from last week.  Pine Siskins were in big numbers today.

Redpolls still have not shown up yet.

We walked south point trail to the washout area.  As expected, the brutal winds from this past week destroyed more of the park.
We had two Fox Sparrows along the way which I would expect these to be present into the winter.

The easterly end of Rondeau Bay is choked with weeds and debris to the extent I have never seen it before.  The gale force winds of Monday pushed everything across the Bay into a pile!  It is just like a big compost heap.

Two Bald Eagles were out there when I had a look.

I saw quite a few Hairy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers in the park today.  A Northern Flicker was heard as well. No sign of that sapsucker in the campground though!  It must still be around, and hopefully in two weeks.

After the park adventure, I headed over to Ridgetown since I had not been there for a couple of weeks.  Lots of geese present, but they were in the adjacent field.  I picked out 4 Greater White-fronted at the far side of the pack.  Just too distant for a good photo, but they are in this photo.

Also present were 3 Snow Geese and 2 Cackling Geese.

Just down the road, I found a Northern Shrike.  I often find one on Mitton Line west.

After finding those geese, I decided it would be a good idea to check Blenheim.  Sometimes I do not check the back pond, but today it was packed with geese and some ducks.  In it were 43 Snow Geese--the largest flock I have seen in the Rondeau area.

Going over photos, I could pick out 5 Cackling Geese.  Could have been more but I was more fixated in finding something different.

The geese took flight at one point heading towards the gravel ponds along Talbot Trail.

The Snow Geese eventually came back and circled.

Later, Jim Burk had two Greater White-fronted Geese in the pits just before Erieau Road.  Also quite a few Cackling Geese.

A Ross's Goose remained elusive for today.....

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