Monday, May 21, 2018

More Holiday Weekend Birding

Sunday was a decent day for birds at Rondeau Park.  There was a good influx of various warblers such as Tennessee, Canada, Wilson's and Mourning, as well as various flycatchers.  The holiday weekend in May often sees a good showing of flycatchers, especially Willow, Alder, Acadian and more of the others.  Interestingly, I did not find any Acadian, despite looking in the appropriate spots.  Hopefully more are to come in.

Eastern Kingbird

I did a long walk from maintenance area down Rondeau Road, across Bennett and back up Harrison.  I found a good variety of warblers including several Canada and Wilson's.
I heard that south point trail was good, so I headed there next.  It was slow going due to the deep water, but worth the effort.  Perhaps two dozen species of warblers were seen, plus lots of flycatchers.  Alders and Willows were calling, and more Leasts were in.  However, I never came across my favourite, the Olive-sided.  Other birders reported it though. ( I did finally find one at Peers Wetland in the evening!).

Indigo Bunting

After many hours in the park, I headed west along the lake shore hoping to see some Whimbrel.  The holiday weekend always seems to be the peak time for them.  After a brief stop at Wheatley Harbour where there were no Whimbrel, I moved over to Hillman Marsh shorebird cell.  Mostly Dunlin were in, but 4 Short-billed Dowitchers, some Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers and a single of both yellowlegs rounded out the shorebirds.
Perhaps just as I was leaving, a Stilt Sandpiper came in, going by the reports.  This species is rare in spring migration in our area.

I stopped by Wheatley Harbour once more and lucked out with Whimbrel.  Far to the east I spotted a flock coming in.

It circled a few times, landed on the beach, circled again, landed again, and took off.

Whimbrel often seem to be nervous and in a hurry during spring migration.

This flock was difficult to count, but I thought there were 58.  Interestingly, Deryl Nethercott reported the same number at Erieau less than two hours previous.  That flock headed west, so likely it was the same group!

Today I headed back to Rondeau for a more leisurely birding time.  The park had very few people--unprecedented for the Victoria Day holiday.  The closure of the campground, likely the first in its history, cut down on the number of people in the park.  Birders loved this situation!

Warbler of Canada

I started on south point first thing.  I had the trail to myself.  It was obvious that there were fewer birds today, but that is expected at this point.  The migrants will move very quickly at this time of the month.

Blackpoll Warbler female

There was good variety and I ended up with about 21 species of warblers.

Cape May Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

I went as far as the "washout" area where there has been severe erosion over the past few years.  The trail used to be way out in the lake here!

Layers of Time
There were still lots of Swainson's Thrushes.  I had close to 40 today.  It has been a banner year for them in migration.

Later, I checked out maintenance area, then Bennett.
I walked the maintenance loop "extension", a trail we used to do often many years ago.

A few birds were back in, including several Canada Warblers.

On the way home, I stopped by Blenheim Lagoons.  Water was high in the sprinklers, but there were lots of small shorebirds on the pipes.

Perhaps over 300 birds were present, the bulk of which were Dunlin, with some Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers and at least 4 White-rumped.

A male Wilson's Phalarope was in the back.

There will still be some birds moving through in the next ten days, but the bulk of them have gone north.

Rondeau Remnants

1 comment:

  1. It looks like the sprinkler cells at the lagoons are in good condition at just the right time, thankfully. The ponds are too full and have virtually no shorebird habitat. If the upcoming summer is going to be dry as some are predicting, maybe those conditions will improve.