Thursday 7 May 2015

May 1, 2015 - Kentucky Warbler photoshoot

Last weekend I visited Point Pelee once again, making the long drive into the banana belt of Ontario on Friday afternoon. Due to my early afternoon departure I arrived in the southwest of the province with time to spare, and I checked out the Blenheim lagoons and Wheatley harbour before making my way into Point Pelee National Park.

Earlier in the day Mike Bouman had discovered a male Kentucky Warbler along Ander's footpath, linking the Chinquapin Oak Trail to De Laurier. The bird had been reported in the same general area throughout the day, and I headed straight for DeLaurier hoping to come across this scarce, but annual southern overshoot in southwestern Ontario.

Luckily a couple from Quebec who I run into frequently at Pelee were on the bird as I approached and they were more than happy to point it out as it foraged in the undergrowth. This was a typical view for us - a large yellow and olive warbler with a black mustache walking on the ground and searching under dead leaves for invertebrates.

Kentucky Warbler - Point Pelee National Park (May 1, 2015)

Eventually the warbler foraged a bit closer, and was unconcerned with our presence as it continued to search for little morsels. I stayed with it for twenty minutes, filling my memory cards in the rapidly failing light. I think this is my favorite of the bunch, as it maneuvered across a log in the undergrowth. I think the twigs in the foreground do not detract to this image as is usually the case, as it provides a sense of the habitat that Kentucky Warblers utilize.

Kentucky Warbler - Point Pelee National Park (May 1, 2015)

Occasionally it would pop up onto a rare unobstructed perch, providing a great clean look; rarely seen when the vegetation is taller. This early spring had delayed the emergence of most herbaceous species, providing great looks at skulkers such as this Kentucky Warbler.

Kentucky Warbler - Point Pelee National Park (May 1, 2015)

This was my fifth Ontario Kentucky Warbler, all of which have been from Point Pelee. My first was in early May 2010 and I have seen exactly one in each subsequent year. This was by far my best looks at one, and the first time that I have photograhed one.

Kentucky Warbler - Point Pelee National Park (May 1, 2015)

The last few days have been excellent at Point Pelee, making it very difficult for me to stay focused on proposal writing and other office work during the last few days. Luckily I have also been busy this week with evening amphibian surveys to provide me with a nature fix, but I'm itching to get back down to Pelee! The forecast this weekend looks hot with southerly winds and a few bouts of precipitation. We are in the peak of migration now and these conditions could provide a healthy dose of migrants, with hopefully several good rarities mixed in. Check out Brandon's weather blog for more details on this weekend's weather and potential for rare birds. Just in the last few days in Ontario there have been 2 possibly legit Barnacle Geese near Ottawa (potential 2nd provincial record?), Great Cormorant at Prince Edward Point and Presquile, Western Tanager near Thunder Bay, Spotted Towhee in Marathon, a Northern Gannet at Holiday Beach, 36 species of warblers in southern Ontario (all the annual ones minus Kirland's), and a smattering of American Avocets and Willets among other great birds.   I'll be driving down tonight for a long weekend of birding - should be fun!

1 comment:

Angie in T.O. said...

I did a blog about the one at Sam Smith this weekend!