Sunday 12 May 2013

Point Pelee - May 11

I arrived in the Pelee area late on May 10 and was in the park for 6:00 AM to do some serious birding. Meeting up with Barb Charlton as I got off the tram, we were happy to hear a Golden-winged Warbler singing frequently near the tip. Eventually we had decent views of it. For some some reason I have found a bunch of Golden-winged Warbs this spring!

At the tip I met up with Brandon Holden and Dave Bell. There were a few shorebirds present, including another Willet. Few birds were reverse-migrating, though we did have a few highlights (female Blue-winged Warbler, picked out in flight by Dave the machine).

Few birds were in the woods, but the ones that were present were quite low to the ground to find insects.

Yellow Warbler - May 11, 2013

It was a pretty slow morning and we were bored pretty soon. However since it had been over a week since I was last looking at migrants, I added several yearbirds (Red-eyed Vireo, Ruddy Turnstone, Lincoln's Sparrow, Wilson's Warbler, etc). Eventually Dave, Brandon and I got the idea to do the long walk from Marentette Beach all the way to the Visitor's centre along the east side - about an 8 km walk.

It was pretty slow actually, with Common Yellowthroats making up the bulk of the birds. We did have 3 Clay-colored Sparrows which was nice, as well as the odd migrant songbird here and there. At one point, 8 Black Terns buoyantly flew past.

These male Red-breasted Mergansers were doing their best to impress the lone lady.

Red-breasted Merganser - May 11, 2013

Lucky girl.

Red-breasted Merganser - May 11, 2013

We ended up finding quite a few feathers and random bird parts (wings, tails, etc) washed up on the beach. I guess some migrating birds don't make it across the lake (especially in adverse weather), and eventually the wind patterns wash some of the evidence on shore. We actually had more dead bird species than alive! "Highlights" include Long-tailed Duck, Tundra Swan, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Hooded Merganser, etc. We came across quite a few Brown Thrashers and Northern Flickers (including one hybrid). One interesting feather is possibly from a nightjar (we're hoping a Chuck-wills-widow) - I think Brandon is going to photograph it and do some research into it.

Red-eyed Vireo on a not-so-natural perch

We ended the day at Hillman Marsh, where the Black-necked Stilts were a no-show again unfortunately. Both dowitchers and a Pectoral Sandpiper were probably the highlights. Despite it seeming like a relatively slow day, we picked up most of the common species and finished with 131 for the day.

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