Monday, 19 September 2011

OFO convention at Pelee

Last night I returned from the OFO convention held at Point Pelee. Despite the low number of migrants in the park, I would still say the weekend was a success! It was great to meet old friends and to put some faces to names.

Saturday morning I drove from where I was staying in Windsor to Point Pelee. Steve Pike and I were scheduled to be a leading a hike throughout the onion fields and Hillman marsh in the morning. When I arrived Steve was already there, and he looked like death warmed over. He bowed out of the morning session and was hoping to be fine by afternoon, or at the latest, by the time of the dinner.

Our group first checked out the dyke that leads east towards the lake from the far end of concession road E. Despite relatively high winds we found a few pockets of songbirds, highlighted by Philadelphia Vireo and 10 species of warblers. A Wilson's Snipe flew by and some Harriers were seen flying around the marsh.

We made our way up to Wheatley harbour, which I had scouted the night before. Unfortunately both Lesser Black-backed Gulls weren't present, but 2 juvenile Ruddy Turnstones were.

After some discussion, our group decided to head north to a field near Wheatley which held American Golden-Plovers the day before. This turned out to be a very good move as not only did we have good looks at the Golden-plovers, but 5 Buff-breasted Sandpipers flew in to close range for a few minutes! The rest of the time, they were barely visible out in the fields. Also seen here were a few Black-bellied Plovers, Killdeer, Pectoral Sandpipers, and singles of Baird's Sandpiper and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Buoyed on by our success, we headed to Tilbury since it was close. The usuals were here, highlighted by a flock of 11 White-rumped Sandpipers. It was good to see birds actually using the "shorebird cell", now that it had a bit of water again.

The afternoon consisted of leading a convoy of over 30 cars back to the BBSA field. Fortunately for all the participants, we managed to see all 5 way off in the distance. Few other decent birds were seen that day, and I finished birding around 4:00 with close to 80 species for the day. Not bad considering I didn't even step inside the National Park!

I slept in my car Saturday night and decided to sleep in til about 8. I birded the park briefly, but it was very quiet for songbirds and I didn't see much. Highlights included Grey-cheeked Thrush and Mourning Warbler.
I did stop to photograph what I was told was a Variagated Meadowhawk.

On the way back home, I stopped at Tilbury but few new birds had arrived. The WRSA flock now numbered 14.

Photos to be added later!

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