Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wild Weekend!

Erieau Pier

It was a pretty amazing weekend both for weather and birds.  I am not sure I have seen such sustained strong NE winds for several days in a row, but it made for some interesting scenery.  Shorelines were battered and some areas flooded.

Saturday, I got up early to do a lakewatch at Erieau, joining Steve Charbonneau, Mike Bouman, Deryl Nerthercott first thing on the beach.  We found a fairly sheltered spot towards the westerly end of the public beach.  We were later joined by Dan Riley and his son and Allen Woodliffe.

For the most part, there was not a huge number of birds, but a very steady stream of them mostly going east.  Horned Grebes were in good numbers, with at least 250 going by or swimming in the 4+ hours we were there.

I was intent on seeing a Sabine's Gull for my Rondeau list. NOT!  It was seen later in the day, but I could not stay as I wanted to head over to Point Pelee area for the OFO convention.

Early on, we saw the first jaeger.  It turned out to be a decent day for jaegers, with about eight sightings.  (Difficult to say if a couple of those were repeats coming back).  However, Steve and I got a Rondeau list bird!  A Pomarine Jaeger came in towards the pier, and it was in fact the closest jaeger we saw.  Photos were useless!

We did see two definite Parasitic Jaegers.  This is all significant because in the 27+ years I have been birding Rondeau, I have only seen 3 jaegers (one unidentifiable was last week!).  They are very rare at Rondeau, but this year seems to be good.

Another good sighting was a flyby Willet heading east.  Certainly a different bird than Willie at the the lagoons.
Some birds were taking shelter where possible.

Steve and I checked a spot near Erie Beach later (where the one Sabine's was seen on Friday) and had another distant jaeger.

After the lakewatch I headed west over to Mersea Road 21 and road 2 where there was gull mania.  A Sabine's was seen there and at least 3 adult Little Gulls.

By this time weather was horrific with rain and high winds.  Must be the weekend!  I did not see the Sabine's at first, but persisted after most people left and finally saw it.
Birds were taking shelter in the fields.  Even Horned Grebes were in this field!

I wandered around a bit till 4 p.m., but spent a little time at the park near Pelee Wings.  What else to do?  There was quite a bit of action here actually.  After some time, some Horned Grebes drifted in close to shore.  I thought this would be good time for an Eared Grebe.  Not long after, I spotted one!
Mike Tate et al saw this bird a bit later after I put out the word.

Today, Sunday, I was a bit apprehensive since I was to lead a trip in Rondeau Park.  Sometime yesterday, I decided to change meeting place due to the weather and a couple other factors.

Marsh Trail was the best choice and a good choice it was.  We had lots of birds, including 14-15 species of warblers.  Some were getting late in migration such as Northern Waterthrush and Blackburnian. I only had the Canon G16 today.


Some Indigo Buntings were seen, and probably the best bird was a Sora at the marsh tower.  I heard the bird on the walk out, then another couple actually saw the bird briefly.
Checklist from eBird:
OFO Rondeau Park

After lunch the tour went to Blenheim Lagoons.  Lots to see there as well.  A single Red-necked Phalarope started things off.  Lots of ducks too.  Among the many bonies was a Little Gull.
On the walk to the sprinklers, I had some luck with a brief sighting of a Nelson's Sparrow.  My initial look noted a short spiky tail, and luckily it alighted on some weeds for a brief look.

Over at the sprinklers, some shorebirds were in including 3 White-rumped and others.  At first we could not see in the back cell, but a closer look revealed 5 Long-billed Dowitchers and....Willie the Willet!  I assume it was the same bird that has been around a month.  Not sure why the place is so

White-rumped Sandpiper with Killdeer

Greater Yellowlegs were also in the back cell to add to the day's species tally.
Checklist from eBird:
OFO Blenheim Lagoons

It was  a fun weekend in crappy weather.

marsh trail Rondeau

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