Monday 19 December 2016

Rondeau Christmas Bird Count (CBC) 2016

Yesterday (December 18), my dad and I left London at 5:00 am for the 1 hour 45 minute journey to Rondeau Provincial. Why? For the 2016 Rondeau/Blenheim Christmas Bird Count. I assisted Blake Mann (aka the 'Burg Birder) on his route south of the VC.

Our General Area

We arrived too late to get any owls, but we got on the South Point Trail by twenty to eight.

Quinten (Me) and Blake on the SPT
Photo by Dad

Quickly we picked up Juncos, Tree Sparrow, American Pipits, Downy Woodpeckers, a Lapland Longspur, and a Bald Eagle. Hermit Thrush and the typical winter woodland birds soon followed.

Downy Woodpecker

One of Five Hermit Thrushes 

The lake was quite busy and we quickly found Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Mergansers, Scoters (of the Surf and White-winged variety), gulls, Common Loon and a highlight of the day...Red-throated Loon that I found off the South Point Trail. The loon is an awesome count bird and it was a lifer.

RT Loon

A Rough-legged Hawk flew in off the lake.

A large flock of Tundra Swans flew by early on as well.

This seems to be a good year for Tufted Titmice throughout the area. Blake and I had 5 or 6 in our area alone. First ones I've seen all year.

No White-winged Dove :-(

American Pipits seemed to be everywhere. I saw one flying up to get insects from the siding of cottages.

One bird seemed to be very lost and confused. He came within a few meters of Blake and I on Lakeshore Rd. The bird was there a couple hours later as well.

We added a few species at the VC feeders.

Blue Jay

Red-winged Blackbird


Tree Sparrow

The Eastern Towhee continues.

Nothing of note along Harrison Trail other than Winter Wren and a few Robins.

Bald Eagles were seen all day.

Lunch at the VC was highlighted by Fox Sparrows, the Towhee, and Chipmunks.

After lunch we went to the Campground to see what we could find. Blake seems to have a knack for finding Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. He found two, and my dad found a Red-tailed Hawk. I found a starling :-)

We said good bye to Blake and went our separate ways. He continued to bird in the park (and found woodcocks and bluebirds), and I went west to Blenheim Sewage Lagoons and Erieau.

Not too much is still at the lagoons. Lifer Short-eared Owl was definitely the best bird.

Crows are everywhere, but that's normal since we're in Chatham-Kent.

Muskrats were swimming around in the only cell open...the back bubbler.

Although eBird flags them as rare, Pipits were still around in small numbers.

Erieau was next.

Greater Scaup

There was a surprising numbers of Black Ducks and Mallards.

Still a couple Ruddy Ducks hanging in.

Pied-billed and Horned Grebes were swimming in the channel.

I was told this was a sunken lake freighter. What do you think?

I found it Allen :-)

Rail Trail was last. Only birds of note there were Marsh Wren and a flock of 65 Sandhill Cranes.

It was a great day to be out, and between Blake and I we saw around 57 species on our route. The whole CBC tallied 111 species, down from some years, but still good considering the recent cold snap which caused many of the birds to leave or perish. You can check out Blake's post on the CBC for more information.

Rondeau's eBird Checklistcan be viewed here.

I've got to get down to Rondeau more often....


  1. Certainly great to have you along! Good that you got a couple of lifers during the day as well.
    I saw that ship from south point trail also!

  2. I enjoyed birding with you. Quite amazing that we saw over half the total number of species on the CBC in our little area alone.

  3. Sounds like a great day and congratulations on the lifers. I'm anxiously waiting for the upcoming CBC in Stratford.

    1. Thanks Jonathan! Good luck and have fun on the Stratford CBC. I'm sure something will show up!

  4. I'm glad you had a fun day with lots of birds. And it was great to meet you. I look forward to seeing you and your dad at Rondeau again one of these days.

    1. Thanks Allen! It was great to meet you as well. I enjoy reading your blog. I will be back soon.