Saturday, January 16, 2016

January Birding at Rondeau Park

I headed down to Rondeau for the first time in over two weeks.  Birding was pretty good, but the usual dismal weather persisted.  Although the sun came out briefly at home late this afternoon, I guess sun on weekends is a thing of the past!

I started at the VC feeders where photography was virtually impossible with my equipment under gloomy skies.  A number of birds were coming to the feeder setup including some Purple Finches, Red-winged Blackbirds and 2 Fox Sparrows.  I saw only one of the Fox Sparrows first thing.

I then headed down to Dog Beach and met up with Jim Burk.  At the cars, a Common Loon flew over--decent for this time of year and needless to say a first for the year.
We then walked south point trail which was not bad as it was out of the relentless wind.  A couple more Purple Finches made a showing.
 An American Robin was on the trail, but there are lots everywhere this winter.

Just past the 'S' curve, we turned to look at a White-throated Sparrow, while an American Woodcock flushed on the other side of the trail.  Another decent January bird!  We never saw it, but farther down the trail we found these tracks. I believe they are from a woodcock.  Interestingly, I mentioned to Jim a bit earlier that it was a good day for woodcock--the feeling was in the air!

Another stop at the visitor centre saw more birds plus Steve Charbonneau.
Purple Finches kept coming in!  At least ten were there.

We saw the two Fox Sparrows, a few Red-winged Blackbirds and several other species.

Up Lakeshore Road, even more Purple Finches flew over while we were looking for the Eastern Towhee Steve saw the other day.

I walked down Harrison Trail past pony barn area and found a nice flock of birds, including a Hermit Thrush.  Yet another flock of Purple Finches was present at that location.

I met up with Jim Burk again and we walked the campground.  It has been unusually quiet this winter. Normally it is the best spot this time of year. While there, another flock of about 20 Purple Finches flew over.  We have to wonder where they all came from as there were none for some time. In fact, I think today I saw more Purple Finches than I have ever seen in one day at Rondeau.

We talked about redpolls which never materialized this winter in SW Ontario. There were a few flyovers in late November into December, but that was it.

On the way to Blenheim, I checked out Stefina Line and the ditch/creek where the mysterious Wilson's Snipe resides. I think it is only a weekday bird, as I can never find it.  Although I have seen one there in past winters, lately it is a no-show for me.  This little creek never freezes, even in the coldest winters, so it is a cozy spot for a snipe.
The only thing of interest was this kitten in the ditch beside the road.  It looked clean and healthy, so may have been left there.

Today I also checked out McGeachy Pond and Erieau's marsh trail.  Another robin and a couple of White-throated Sparrows were along the pond's dike.
The relentless wind kept birds to a minimum along the marsh trail.  Out on the ice I picked out a Herring X Great Black-backed Gull, which is likely the one that has been seen near the landfill.
Near the landfill, some gulls have been hanging out.  Today I saw a Glaucous Gull, FOY.  One can only hope for a Slaty-backed or something along that lines!

It was a decent day of birding, but only if that sun would appear for a change......

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