Monday, September 5, 2016

Birding on a Solemn Weekend

The weather has been great this holiday weekend.  Sunday I was not too ambitious and went to Rondeau Park for a few hours.  I met up with Keith and Jim Burk and we checked out south point trail and the maintenance area.
It was not as "birdy" as Saturday but there was enough to keep us busy.
Just before leaving the park, I checked out the start of marsh trail on a hunch.  The hunch was that I had a feeling Fiery Skippers would be on the Golden Rods.  Sure enough, a couple were there.

Later Sunday I went for a walk at Peers Wetland.  A few warblers were quietly working the trees and an Olive-sided Flycatcher was perched prominently atop a dead tree.  Unfortunately I did not have the camera (!).

Labour Day I wanted to go down to Point Pelee to see what was around and reflect on the many visits there from the past.  It was somewhat quiet and nothing was moving on the lake.

The Tip had a few warblers and Sparrow Field had some activity, but not as much as last week.

Serengeti Tree area

The last stop was NW Beach and the footpath south of the parking lot.  I came across this very dark garter snake.  We often see melanistic snakes along the shores of Lake Erie, but this one was one of the darkest I have seen.

There were actually a few warblers along the footpath to look at as well.  No noteworthy butterflies.

Of course while at Point Pelee I thought of past times with Alan Wormington.  Alan died Saturday evening.  I never went on any trips with him, but spent lots of time at Point Pelee with him, especially doing Tip watches.
I do not remember the first time I met Alan, but it was a long time ago. One time, I remember seeing him just before Christmas 1997 at the park.  Later that morning, I came across a Blue-headed Vireo at Sparrow Field which I knew was late.  I seeked out Alan to tell him (he and Steve Pike were up along East Beach north of Shuster).  The vireo was record late at the time.

Many of those Tip watches were a lot of fun especially in November.  We saw lots of good birds over the years.  One occasion was 8 November 2008 when Alan, Kevin McLaughlin and myself were at the Tip.  It was a great, blustery day!  There were thousands of birds, including 8 Cave Swallows.  Highlight was a flock of 22 Franklin's Gulls heading south. (not in this photo!)

Alan was always a stickler for details!  Every time I went to Point Pelee and made a list, I anticipated his emails asking for details.

His immense knowledge about birds and butterflies and knack for finding rarities will never be matched.

Alan was a good writer as well.  He wrote countless detailed articles for many publications.
Anything I wrote for North American Birds had to be edited by Alan.  He often made mincemeat of my reports, but he knew what had to be done to have it right.

In 2008-2010 we served on the Ontario Bird Records Committee (OBRC) together.

Alan Wormington, Blake Mann, Ross James, Brandon Holden, Don Sutherland
Glenn Coady, Ron Tozer, Mark Cranford

I almost never take "people" pictures, so I do not have a good photo of Alan Wormington.  This is the best I can do for now.

Alan with Barb Charlton and Kevin McLaughlin at Wheatley Harbour

Alan at the Tip of his beloved Point Pelee
Farewell my Friend!
Alan taught us well.


  1. It was a reflective weekend, wasn't it.

  2. I never met the man, but I've heard much about him. Ontario has suffered a huge loss.

  3. Hey Blake, Great reflection on Alan's passing. He will be missed by the birding and butterfly watching community. -DM

  4. Just found this via googling 'google news Alan Wormington'. Thanks for the memories about my brother. I've invited those who knew him to post memories on his facebook page...lots of stories and photos. Go to Alan Wxworm

    1. Glad you got to read this Janne. Perhaps we will cross paths in the future.