Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day Birding on Rondeau Bay

I headed south today and started at Shrewsbury dock.  While Rondeau Bay has mostly frozen again, there are some open spots--one fairly close to the westerly side of Shrewsbury.  Here we had lots of waterfowl, including most of the Snow Geese!  Most were napping though.

Steve Charbonneau joined me and we spent about 1.5h there.  Nothing much moved, but every once in a while, the ice would crack and the geese and swans would wake up.

The Snow Geese were tightly packed and it was impossible to get an accurate count at that time.  At one point I though 170 (including everything there such as hybrids, Ross's), but we conservatively put down 160.  There were at least 40 blue morphs.

At the front of the flock were two obvious small ones, but one was for sure a Ross's.  Much too distant for photos, and the sun was harsh today.

Regarding swans, there were several hundred Tundras, about a dozen Mutes and the two aggressive Trumpeters.  The trumps were easy to pick out not only due to size, but their behaviour.  They nipped at the butts of other swans, ducks and geese!

There were some first year swans there with pinkish bills, and one perhaps a young Trumpeter, but I did not look too hard at it.  Luke Berg later reported a young Trumpeter.

Most ducks were Redhead, but a few Canvasback, a couple of scaup, two Ruddy, a male Ring-necked and a few Blacks and Mallards.

I headed to Rondeau Park and walked the campground to start with.  It was certainly the nicest day we have had this winter.  Totally clear skies and no wind.  It was cold, but that does not bother me.
There were quite a few birds in the campground, but nothing new.

Some Cedar Waxwings were present.  One of these days we will see a Bohemian.  There are only a couple of in-park records and a couple outside the park.  Last I saw some there was 30 January 2000 with a flock of 12 on south point trail.

There was not much activity at the visitor centre, but I saw the first Chipmunk of the year!

The VC was open this weekend for Valentine's Day and Heritage Day.

The east side had quite a bit of very smooth thin ice.

The whole sheet was moving and along the shoreline, it was flaking off making for some interesting scenery.

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