Monday, 22 September 2014

Weekend Trip to Point Pelee - Day 1

This weekend, Dave Szmyr and I had a plan to take the Friday off of work and drive down to Point Pelee. By Thursday afternoon I was on my way to pick him up, and we headed down HWYs 400 and 401.

After staying over at Jeremy Bensette's place, Dave and I first drove by the school east of Leamington on Seacliffe Drive to try for the long staying pair of Eurasian Collared-Doves. The mornings and evenings seem to be most reliable for observing them as the perch on the roadside hydro wires. Sure enough, the early dawn sunlight illuminated several doves on the wires including two chunky gray ones.

Eurasian Collared-Dove - Leamington

Eurasian Collared-Dove - Leamington

After the dove success we entered the park, hoping to find warblers and other passerines in the trees. The night before we had heard dozens of migrating songbirds over head including Swainson's Thrush, Grey-cheeked Thrush, Veery, etc.

Passerine birding was fairly productive throughout the morning on the east side of the park. We ran into several large pockets of warblers at the east end of Shuster Trail as well as the Sparrow Field. Among our 19 warbler species for the day were good numbers of Magnolia and Nashville. Bay-breasted put in a good showing and a young male Canada Warbler was singing. Surprisingly we missed some easy ones including Blackpoll and Ovenbird. Lincoln's Sparrow was more numerous than any other sparrow, and several Indigo Buntings and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were fun to see. Mid-to-late September is a great time to see a wide variety of species in southern Ontario.

Some flycatchers made their presence known including a few late-ish Yellow-bellied Flycatchers.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher - Point Pelee

Late September birding at Point Pelee means raptors and lots of them. Sharp-shinned Hawks are constantly flying over the park and diving through the woods, while three species of falcon are regular and Broad-winged Hawks sometimes soar over. 

This Merlin was one of several seen in the morning.

Merlin - Point Pelee

This Painted Lady was powering up in the sun on the east side of the tip. The cool morning quickly gave way to a beautiful warm, sunny day. It meant that birding was relatively unproductive later on, however!

Painted Lady - Point Pelee

 We checked several other locations in the afternoon including Hillman Marsh, the Onion Fields and again at Point Pelee. At the end of the day we were sitting around 96 species - not bad for the first day. The forecast for the next day, Saturday, was looking excellent with strong southwest winds predicted. Southwest is often the best wind at the tip of Point Pelee National Park and we were hoping for some good birds the next morning!

1 comment:

  1. I saw you at Point Pelee Josh! It was exciting. How come you're waiting for approval to post comments on your blog?