Friday, 24 August 2012

Point Pelee - August 22 to August 24

The last three days I have been looking for birds, butterflies, and whatever else I could find in the Point Pelee area. It's fairly late now and I need to get up early tomorrow morning to go birding, so I am making this quick! I'll put up more photos whenever I can. I also have a few James Bay posts almost ready so I will get them up as soon as possible.

Point Pelee has been getting some really good records of butterflies lately, and with the lack of potential year-birds being reported, I was encouraged to spend 3 days looking for them. Starting with the Sleepy Oranges and Dainty Sulfurs back in May, rarities have continued to arrive including White-M Hairstreaks and Funereal Duskywings recently.

In general, butterfly numbers were way down from what they were and most of the skippers had cleared out of Pelee. I was still able to get two of my main three targets (White-M Hairstreak and Sachem), only missing Funereal Duskywing.


Highlights:
5+ Dainty Sulfur
57 Gray Hairstreak on August 22 (record high count for Point Pelee)
1 Horace' Duskywing
50+ Common Checkered-skipper
50+ Fiery Skipper
4 Sachem
3 White-M Hairstreak

Plus many of the other regular southern butterflies! Here is one early edit of a White-M Hairstreak:

White-M Hairstreak on Solidago - Point Pelee

Birding was a little less of a priority, however there were a few highlights. On August 23 I had an Acadian Flycatcher, only the second I've got this year and the first I've actually seen! It was at DeLaurier with a roving flock of flycatchers, warblers, and vireos - most likely a migrant.

Today while standing around at the tip, Alan Wormington and I watched a small flock of shorebirds come in off of the lake. It contained one Least Sandpiper, 4 Baird's Sandpipers, and 1 Buff-breasted Sandpiper! This was actually a new Pelee bird for me and I was happy to get a few photos at close range until a child came by with its parents and scared it off.

juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Point Pelee

I had planned to spend tomorrow relaxing at home and taking care of some errands but, as usual, birds come along tp screw up those plans. A few Long-tailed Jaegers were seen off of Van Wagner's Beach (Hamilton) today during a light onshore wind. This is a code-3 species and possibly one I will either get in the next 10 days or not get at all (I'm leaving the province for the 10 days following that). Additionally, a Brown Pelican was spotted by the McArthurs at Rondeau today! It was last seen flying east but could very well be in the area or any sheltered cove or harbour on Lake Erie. This is a code-5 bird. My plan is still to go to Van Wagner's Beach for first light and hopefully get a jaeger or two. The winds are forecasted to be from the south, so who knows. If I get a Long-tailed Jaeger early, I'll probably head to Lake Erie and start a pelican search. If at any point I hear that the pelican has been refound, I will abandon all other plans and head straight there! Could be an interesting day...

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