Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Frolicks at Rondeau

Today looked like a nice weather day.  Couple that with the fact I needed an extra off, and the fact the weekend weather was coming, I went down to Rondeau today.  The forecast for Saturday looked typical for a weekend, so there was no way I was playing that game again!

I started at dog beach with a lakewatch along with Steve Charbonneau.  There was virtually no wind, so the lake was rather calm.  However, viewing conditions were superb and there were lots of ducks and loons moving.
Not long after our arrival, a large white bird came in off the lake, which turned out to be the season's first Snowy Owl!  I attempted a record photo.

Looks like the Snowy Owls are finally appearing, as two were at Erieau today as well.

At least 40 Common Loons were seen during our watch, along with at least 8 Red-throated Loons.  In the past, we always thought Red-throated Loons were very rare at Rondeau, but then we never did lakewatches like we do now.

A good number of ducks were moving, including a few thousand Red-breasted Mergansers.

Some migrant passerines came in off the lake which are always neat to watch.  Once they hit land, they dive into the shrubbery!

We soon moved on to south point trail where the sun eventually came out.  Best bird was perhaps the Orange-crowned Warbler.

Lots of Pine Siskins and American Goldfinches were flying today, but no sign of any redpolls yet.

Fox Sparrows certainly have moved in, as I counted around 30 today.  We even had one White-crowned Sparrow, a species that has been rather scarce this fall.
Some Red-breasted Nuthatches were around today.

After Steve moved on up to Townsend's Warbler headquarters, I checked out the campground and the north end of Harrison Trail.
A number of Fox Sparrows were in the campground as a well as a Yellow-rumped Warbler or two (we had two on SPT).
A couple dozen Cedar Waxwings were working the Red Cedars in the grounds.  One can always hope for a Bohemian.

I also walked to the pony barn area where I had a good look at a Pileated Woodpecker.  These impressive creatures become elusive in the winter months (especially on CBC's!).

Along the beach at the north end of the park, I found 8 Sanderlings, the only shorebird type of the day.

A few Sanderlings

Lots of geese were along the shoreline, including two Snows and the continuing Ross's Goose.

Two Snow Geese

Ross's Goose in the distance

On the way out, I checked the Townsend's Warbler area where a number of birders were looking.  Most had seen it, but it was very flighty today and difficult to get good looks.

Also on the agenda today, was to check McGeachy Pond.  Upon arrival, two Snowy Owls were visible in the field across the road.

There was not much along the dike, but a Gray Catbird was in the tangles, barely visible.  Perhaps it will stay into winter, as one usually does there.

Yes, it is a catbird

I also got a couple of glimpses of a Yellow Warbler.  There was one there a few days ago spotted by Jim Burk, who seems adept at finding warblers!

I soon headed back north, but after getting a bite to eat in Chatham, I veered over to Mitchell's Bay.  There was not much along the south shore trail, but lots of Canada Geese were around.
I did not see any Snowy Owls on the way, but there are likely some now.

The rain comes in tonight, signalling the start of yet another weekend!

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