The past couple of days have finally seen some decent birding opportunities. Saturday saw a decent push of migrants, while Sunday was even better. Friday was a different story.
Frankly, I have never seen such a lack of birds for the date (May 12). Rondeau Park was dead as a doornail as I put it! By noon I nearly fell asleep. There was simply no place to go or nothing to do in the park, so I headed towards Blenheim. Some migrants found the few woodlots in Chatham-Kent, such as Sinclair's Bush. I had a nice walk there Friday afternoon, finally adding Great-crested Flycatcher to the annual list.
In the evening I made a long walk out the marsh trail at Rondeau Park. The wind had died and it was a very nice evening. Willow Flycatchers had arrived in small numbers, and I heard Least and American Bitterns. One Virginia Rail made some noise, and the highlight, was a King Rail making some kek kek kek sounds. Apparently, King Rails were present last breeding season.
Another nice find was an American Tree Sparrow. Usually these are long gone by this date!
Saturday morning dawned cool, but clear. Steve Charbonneau and I checked out south point trail and it was evident there were some new arrivals. Yellow-throated Vireos were singing. The highlight was a female Dickcissel that gave us some trouble ID-ing as it was high in a tree. Crappy photo not worth showing!
We narrowly missed seeing the Kirtland's Warbler that Josh Bouman found in the campground. In fact, we had just talked to Josh about 15 minutes previous! We made a valiant effort to refind it, but to no avail.
This weekend I chose to do the Great Canadian Birdathon. It was a good choice as there really had not been many birds around until Saturday. The timing was right around 11:20 Saturday morning as I finally got a look at a Hooded Warbler. I had missed several previous ones and they had not been as plentiful as usual anyway this year. There were several other warblers around it as well to make the list.
I find it works out better starting around mid-day on a particular day.
Saturday afternoon, the Kirtland's Warbler was refound by Steve Charbonneau and Mac McAlpine at beach access 2. It is remarkable that it was relocated in a different spot! I was not far away, so raced to the scene to see the unique warbler. It remained in the shrubbery while I was there, so no stellar photos!
Kirtland's Warblers have made a remarkable comeback in recent years, and several are seen in Ontario each spring. It has even been taken off the Ontario Review List for southern Ontario.
Saturday evening was the annual big walk out marsh trail along with Mac and Steve. We have been doing this for over a decade as part of the Big Day. We did fairly well.
Least Bitterns must be doing well, as we heard a total of 7. How many are actually out there, we wonder?
Sedge Wrens have been absent the last couple of years, perhaps due to the high water levels.
Sandhill Cranes numbered 9!
One of the weirdest birds out there was the White-winged Dove. We heard it singing along the forest edge. For whatever reason, it comes to the marsh at dusk! It was also noted last year by Reuven Martin at the same location.
The dove is one of the strangest birds I have ever seen, as it has been here three seasons now. It continues to frequent Lakeshore Road and puts sticks on shiny chimney tops!
Last night was one of the warmest nights so far this May. I got up early to hear several Whip-poor-wills.
I continued to tally birds, especially in the middle of the park. A large influx of songbirds had arrived overnight which was nice to see. Many warblers, including Tennessee and Blackpoll were singing away. Tennessee Warblers were all over the place, but were not around previously.
There were lots of tanagers, thrushes and vireos to sort through.
I do not usually carry a camera while doing a Big Day, so no photos.
By 11:20 this morning, I had tallied 125 species within the park. There were several other species reported that eluded me, but that is how birding goes!