Sunday 25 May 2014

Point Pelee! May 18 and 19

After our Big Day on the Saturday we slept in a little on Sunday with a bit of a Big Day hangover. The extra sleep sure felt nice!

Dominic and I drove into the park, and within minutes we had seen several species that we had missed the day before (Northern Mockingbird and Cooper's Hawk come to mind). Today was the day of heard-only birds. First, I heard a Kentucky Warbler singing in a spot where one had been seen earlier that morning. Despite "waiting it out", we couldn't get it to sing again or pop up for a quick look!

The Tanager show continued...

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

The second bird was the Bell's Vireo that Tom Preney had found earlier that morning. There are less than 20 records of this species in Ontario, though a good chunk come from Point Pelee. The only one I've seen in Ontario was at the tram loop on April 21, 2012. Tom found and photographed the Bell's at Sparrow Field, then Dean Ware relocated it at (you guessed it) the tram loop. Again, it wouldn't pop up for views but I heard it sing and do a few call notes from a large brush pile at the southeast corner of the tram loop. Later, Luke Berg heard it sing a number of times from the same location. Unfortunately no birders were able to get a visual on the skulker afterwards!

Baltimore Oriole

Later in the afternoon I went for a Birds and Beers stroll along the west side of the park with a good crew of fellow birders. I was happy to spot a Yellow-breasted Chat at the south end of Sanctuary, followed by a White-eyed Vireo at the north end of the Northwest Beach parking lot. We had a few other birds here and there including some later migrants.

On our last day in the Pelee area for the weekend, Dominic and I again headed into the park first thing. We ended up birding with the Riley's for a bit; always good company! I had a House Sparrow fly around the tip - actually a very scarce bird in the park! I can only recall seeing two or three in the past...Given the "influx" of Eurasian Tree-sparrows north in the past few days, I scrutinized it closely right away!


Dan Riley and I tried to relocate the Bell's again to no avail. The "best" bird of the morning was a Prairie Warbler that we heard just south of Sparrow Field. This one too had been found by none other than Tom Preney.

 It was a beautiful sunny day however, and even though there weren't a lot of birds it was pretty enjoyable. I have been very fortunate this spring to spend 3-4 days a week at Pelee from mid-April until the end of May, even while working regular hours. There have only been a few notable birds I have missed, with the only potential new Point Pelee birds that I can recall being Lazuli Bunting (only about 4 people got it) and Cattle Egret, which is annual at Point Pelee. I've managed to see 8 new Point Pelee birds and a bunch of other awesome species as well. At this point, I was pretty satisfied with how the spring shook down and it was nice to have a relaxing birding day!

Dominic and I left around noon to get back in the Toronto area at a decent time. I dropped him off and continued on my way. I remembered reading about a Summer Tanager in Toronto, and with the whole evening ahead of me I took a quick look to see where the location was. The bird was attending Christopher Escott's feeders, and his house was about a 5 minute detour off my route. I swung by, and within 90 seconds the young male came in and alighted on the suet feeder. What a great yard bird! It was great to chat with Chris and get to know him a bit. Considering he is in the city, he has a fantastic yard that backs onto a ravine. It sure doesn't feel very city-like when you are back there.

Summer Tanager - Toronto

The weekend was a definite success, with a lot of kickass birds and good times. It was great to finally catch up with Dominic again and put in 5 solid days of birding.

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