Sunday, 4 May 2014

Pelee weekend!! Day 1

With the calendar turning to May, David Szmyr and I each took Friday off from work and drove down in my car on Thrusday night to the Pelee area. The following morning was windy with many birders coming away with few birds. Dave and I walked down the park road to the windswept tip area, seeing the usual waterbirds and a few warblers. We were greeted by these young raccoons...

A nice surprise was this Willet at the tip. We would soon find out how common Willets were this weekend, and I think we ended up with 7 ebird checklists containing this western bird. Other than occasional individuals in southwestern Ontario during spring, Willets are pretty rare throughout the province. It was nice to be able to have crippling views of one, and decent photos too.

We followed Loop Woods up to Sparrow Field where I briefly heard a White-eyed Vireo. Quite a few resident Tree Swallows were flying around the area.

Walking north through Post Woods we finally started coming across some new migrants. Hermit Thrushes and White-throated Sparrows were everywhere and we found our first spring Red-headed Woodpecker, allowing great views as it worked a vine low to the ground. Warblers included Nashville, Black-and-white, Pine, Yellow-rumped (Myrtle), Palm, and Black-throated Green. Tons of Blue-gray Gnat-snatchers flitted around and we spotted our first Blue-headed, Warbling, and Yellow-throated Vireos of the spring!

We had heard that the Audubon's Warbler had been re-found earlier in the morning and we eventually came across the large flock of Myrtle's it apparently associated with. After about 20 minutes of searching I finally laid eyes on the target bird. It was a rather dull individual (female?) but the throat was bright yellow and it did not appear to be a hybrid, at least to my eyes. After a few minutes I was finally able to photograph the backlit, fast-moving warbler at the top of the canopy.

Acadian Flycatchers are showing up in large numbers this spring, an interesting trend for a species generally viewed as a later migrant. Dave and I found two individuals - one on the Woodland Nature Trail, and this one near the southern entrance to that trail.

Other new spring migrants for the year that we saw included Least Flycatcher, Tennessee Warbler (early!), and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Here is a photo of a chickadee.

Dave and I ventured out into the "Smith's Lonspur Field" later in the afternoon and after some walking around we discovered a group of four and later a single female, which allowed us to approach close enough for photos. An even 10 Willets were scattered around the perimeter of the flooded field across the road.

We finished the day with a check of Hillman Marsh (Marbled Godwit, lots of common shorebirds/terns/gulls/ducks) and a walk back in the National Park, where we saw next to no birds. We finished the day with a respectable 105ish species, given the conditions and the fact we only saw 7 warbler species.

No comments:

Post a Comment