Today was the Blenheim/Rondeau CBC. It was very damp and cloudy today, but at least the rain held off for a very successful count.
Some very good birds were found and several records shattered for high counts (not all mentioned here). Total species at time of this writing is 105 but I am sure some ducks will be added as some obvious misses were evident at the compilation.
I did my usual area area south of Gardiner Avenue and south point trail. This year I was ably assisted by Josh Bouman.
We arrived before 7 a.m. to check for some owls. Just in from the parking lot we got 2 Eastern Screech and 2 Great Horned. I had one screech earlier.
While waiting at the parking lot for better light to begin our walk, a Common Redpoll flew over. This was actually the first one I had this year! I was happy with that, but later we encountered a flock of 18 along the beach while looking at a couple of birds that will be mentioned later.
This year it was no problem getting Pileated Woodpecker, as we had 3. Often it remains totally elusive!
Out on the lake, not a lot was moving in our sector, but it was evident White-winged Scoters were in good numbers. Turns out this was a record to be shattered as there were several hundred on the count! Final tally is to be determined, but perhaps over 600. Rather difficult to believe!
We saw one Common Loon flying in the distance which turned out to be the only one of the count. A couple of Horned Grebes spent the whole day on the lake in our sector.
A walk back in along the old Dillon Trail proved productive with another Pileated, 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and some other birds. I added a third ruby later. This was another record crushed (which we expected) with 12 seen on the count.
There were over 200 Golden-crowned Kinglets which is a new high.
Pine Siskins departed a while ago en masse as we did not have any in the park. I guess the redpolls made up for it!
Harrison Trail was rather quiet, but we did add a Hermit Thrush.
Woodpeckers were plentiful with lots of Red-bellied and Hairy this year.
Earlier, we walked up Lakeshore Road from south point and took a quick detour to Dog Beach. This turned out to be the highlight of the day as I spotted two shorebirds in the distance. Oh crap, now we have to make a long walk down the beach! I suspected Dunlin, but they were too distant. As we got closer I noticed the two were different species. One was quite dark which I assumed to be......a Purple Sandpiper! The other was a mystery for a few minutes.
They were in company with some gulls, and lost sight of them for a while. The gulls departed as we approached and finally a little farther down we spotted them.
Definitely a Purple Sandpiper and a Dunlin!
As often is the case with a Purple, it was rather approachable.
This is the first time I have had those on a count.
Our last walk was the campground. Early on I heard an Eastern Phoebe, then finally spotted it. A nice count bird!
One wonders if there are two, as Jim had it or another farther north.
A couple of Snowy Owls were out on the Bay ice. The previous record for Snowy Owls (12) was completely blown away this year, as an incredible 25 were tallied.
Saw three snowy owls on the way to Keith's including this co-operative one.
Chatham-Kent seems to be the Snowy Owl capital of southern Ontario right now.
Other good birds on the count included a Common Yellowthroat, Orange-crowned Warbler (5-previous high 2), Sandhill Crane (2), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Marsh Wren.
A couple of killer count birds were a Forster's Tern (remarkably in the same spot as 2001!), and a very first for the count, a Great Egret at Ridgetown.
This was a good count in damp but warm weather. I saw one large moth this morning, and I came across this beetle on the path.