Sunday, 9 October 2016

Point Pelee on Saturday

Yesterday I took a trip to the Pelee area to see what was around. With hurricane Matthew heading up the Atlantic shore, I figured that some things may show up in the area (I was right...I frigatebird was spotted near the Pinery. I might go if it is found again).

As expected, there were a number of Blue Jays moving through. I estimated at least 100 were seen along the north dike, and around 240 at the Sanctuary Pond. I also noted 8 Northern Rough-winged Swallows there was well.

A couple immature Bald Eagles hung out around the VC.

There was an impressive number of Turkey Vultures moving around as well. They prefer NE winds to help them migrate, but the winds were NW, so birders got to enjoy the sight of over 200 vultures swirling around in a massive kettle.

The tip was fairly quiet, but I still managed to see more species than what I saw on my big day back in May (I saw 29 on May 7th and 34 on October 8th). Raptor Migration is still in full swing with a number of Red-tailed Hawks, Sharpies, Coopers, Northern Harriers moving around. A high flying Peregrine (?) Falcon is my first one of the year.

A 'Gashawk' flew by as well :)

I was a tad surprised by the number of warblers I saw at the tip. I was expecting one or two species, but I ended up with five. Obviously Yellow-rumped was the most numerous (7), but I ended up with Palm (4), a stunning male Black-throated Blue (1), Magnolia (1), and Blackburnian (1).



Black-throated Blue

Dark-eyed Juncos are starting to arrive, and I saw about two dozen around the tip. White-throated Sparrows are starting to show up too.

There were dozens of Monarchs at the tip. I even saw a few flying far out on the lake while looking through the scope at some gulls.

Dragonflies were numerous, and I saw both Red and Black Saddlebags, Meadowhawks, and Common Green Darners.

Black Saddlebags

I saw four species of gulls, most of them out over the lake. I wasn't able to find a Little Gull hidden among the Bonies.

juvie Herring

There was a group of three Common Loons being attacked by the gulls far out in the lake. It was interesting watching the birds dive under the water as the gulls flew at them. I think that the loons were bringing up some food that the gulls wanted, so they took it from them. I also saw two species of grebe...Horned and the uncommon Red-necked.

yes, there is a loon out there

New England Aster was the most common wildflower. Cabbage Whites and Sulphurs love them.

After lunch, it was off to DeLaurier. A number of Sparrows and a couple Palm Warblers frequented the grassy areas. A Prairie Falcon was seen earlier, but I had no luck finding it.

They closed off the observation tower on the trail, but at least I heard my first and only Gray Catbird of the trip. Blue jays were moving through in large numbers.

So were Golden-crowned Kinglets.

The Marsh Boardwalk was next.

Green Frog

There wasn't much around to photograph, but I added a few new species for the day list such as Wood Duck, Belted Kingfisher, and Swamp Sparrow.

More Palm Warblers were around as well.

I wanted to try to see the Snowy Egret at Big Creek, so I said good bye to the park and that's where I went. It wasn't there, but I saw 21 Great Egrets, my third species of grebe for the day, and a (domestic) Muscovy Duck!

The middle one had me fooled!

Pied-billed Grebe

Hillman Marsh was the last stop. I didn't get there until quarter after seven, so it was becoming dark, but I could still make out a few birds. The shorebird cell is quite nice at dusk.

Canada Geese and ducks such as Mallards and Scaup were coming in for the night.

Shorebirds included Greater Yellowlegs, Killdeer, and a peep of some sort. It was dark by this point, so I made the shorebird ID by ear.

No owls yet, but in another month a couple species will come to roost.

It was a great day, I ended up with 55 species, and I can't wait to go back!

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