Saturday, March 24, 2018

Teal to Tip

The relentless cold weather has slowed things down, but at least we have had clear skies to be out and about.  This morning I travelled down to Essex County with the first stop being Hillman Marsh.
A couple of days ago, a Eurasian Green-winged Teal (or Common Teal) was found at the shorebird cell.
I arrived just after sunrise and found lots of waterfowl in the cell plus a half dozen Sandhill Cranes.

It did not take long to pick out the European version of our Green-winged Teal.  Among other things, the lack of a vertical stripe is a key feature.

It moved around quite a bit in the early morning sun.

This species has been found here and in the vicinity a few times before in the past.  Whether it is a separate species all together, is up to speculation.

Intergrades have been seen as well.  I saw one of those a few years ago nearby, but I think this is the first Common Teal I have seen.

I soon moved on to Point Pelee and headed straight to the Tip.

The Eroded Tip

There were lots of ducks off the west side and I spent a couple of hours with Kory Renaud sorting through the rafts.  The "afternoon shift" joined us for a while as well.

Mississagi in Pelee Passage

Much to our disappointment, we did not find anything of note.  A few Horned Grebes were around, but we did not spot the recent Eared Grebe.  However, it was fun looking through the mass of ducks.

Lots of scoters were mixed in as well.

A few Common Loons were seen today, so obviously they had just come in.  I had not yet seen one this calendar year.  I saw around seven today.

Minnie the Mink

Land birds were rather scarce, but I did walk De Laurier trail before exiting the park.

A quick stop at Wheatley Harbour revealed a Glaucous Gull among the other gulls.  A few Glaucous are still kicking around.

On the way home, I saw a few Snowy Owls, including this one along Mallard Line.

They are no doubt on their way north, as I did not see one around Wallaceburg this past week.

I stopped at Mitchell's Bay.  A huge iceberg can be seen out in the lake.  It is a mystery how this formed!

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