Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Birding at Rondeau

Despite the typical gloomy weekend sky, I had a pretty good day at Rondeau and area as other birders headed to the east end of the province.  As usual, I started with a lakewatch at dog beach.  Nothing noteworthy was seen, but a good variety of ducks.  Three Dunlin were the only shorebirds.

Mystery Balloon at Dog Beach

At south point trail, there were lots of birds near the parking lot.  Yellow-rumped Warblers and kinglets were in good supply today, as were the sparrows.

A flock of about two dozen Eastern Bluebirds was roaming the area the whole time.  When I returned to the parking lot area, I got a decent look at them.  Of course, nothing resembled a Mountain Bluebird.  The Mountains are usually found alone though.

Just before the trail washout, I caught sight of a hatch year White-eyed Vireo.  It quickly disappeared though.  It was in company with several Ruby-crowned Kinglets that stayed, but the vireo just vanished.

Along the shoreline as I was standing on the beach, 4 eagles were soaring.  One was an adult Golden and the others immature Bald.  I never got on the Golden in time for a decent photo.  One Bald was closest.

There were quite a few Purple Finches today and at one point I had a flock of 5 on south point.
Back at the parking lot area and behind there was a bonanza of birds where I spent quite a bit of time. I found this Tennessee Warbler early on, then again later.  It was always low and back in though.

The late date I have for Rondeau is November 1 of which we had one back in 1998, but perhaps that has been surpassed.

Maintenance and Harrison Trail was rather quiet this week.  No sign of that tanager (Steve saw it again last Monday).
Now that the campground is closed, I checked it.  It is our favourite place to check in late fall and through winter as many birds attempt to winter.

Nashville Warbler 31 Dec 2014

Last year we had a few Orange-crowned Warblers to the end of the year until they likely perished in the harsh winter.  I had a Nashville Warbler on the last day of the year last December and several Ruby-crowned Kinglets and even an Eastern Phoebe.

Campground Colour

Today, there was a good flock of birds in the south end, including an Orange-crowned Warbler or two.  Like the other birds today, they were very active and moving along.  I could not get on all of them.

Another Chippie

After Rondeau, I thought Erieau's marsh trail would be a good spot to check.  Sure enough, there were lots of birds.  One of the first ones was this Blue-gray Gnatcatcher--good for the date.

Far from latest though.  My latest was at Rondeau a week before the CBC back in 2003.

I took a look from the viewing platform and noted that the ducks were fairly close in good visibility.  So, I went back to the car to get my scope!  (All this walking did my right leg no good since I smashed my knee cap at work yesterday!).  On the way back to the platform, I spotted a Northern Parula!  I had decided to leave the big camera in the car this time, but only had the G16.  So here is the crappiest photo of a parula. (the gloomy day did not help!).

I spent a good half hour scoping ducks (and about 2000 American Coots) and finally got on one of the male Eurasian Wigeons.  Steve Charbonneau had found it some time ago, but there was another as seen by Allen Woodliffe as well.
Pied-billed Grebes were rather numerous as well on the Bay.

Shorebirds included a flock of over 100 Dunlin whizzing by.

Blenheim Lagoons revealed nothing of note and somehow I did not see our Tundra Swan, but may have missed it.

Sunday looks like a sunny but very windy (again!) day.

Dawn at Dog Beach