Sunday, 30 April 2017

Rondeau in the Morning, Essex Later On

First things first...I missed the White-winged Dove.

Okay, now that that's out of the way....

Today my dad and I checked out a few locations in southern Ontario, starting with Rondeau Provincial Park. The day started with American Robins, American Woodcocks, and a Fowler's Toad on the road.

Continuing along Rondeau Rd., we added Wood Thrush, chickadee, and White-throated Sparrow to our list. Mammals include White-tailed Deer, Raccoon, and Virginia Opossum.

South Point Trail was one of the best stops of the day. Pine Warblers were singing first thing, and soon I found a Yellow-rumped Warbler. FOY Common Yellowthroat as well.

There were some birds braving the insane east winds and waves. I wouldn't doubt a few of the swallows perished today in the harsh conditions of Lake Erie.

My first "good" warbler of the day was a singing Blue-winged Warbler. After following it in the brush for a while, I got some photos that I'm happy with.

There were a decent amount of Eastern Towhees around today.

I saw three Red-headed Woodpeckers today. This one came in when I was looking at the Blue-winged Warbler.

There were a few Blue-headed Vireos around. I heard a White-eyed a bit later.

There was a decent movement of Common Loons today, and I saw close to 40.

On the way back, a fellow birder found a Yellow-breasted Chat, which was a lifer. Unfortunately, just as I was to take a picture, auto-focus decided it liked the leaf in front of the chat better than the bird. What I was left with was a yellow blob (if you stare at it long enough you can kinda see a YB Chat).

The VC feeders are always a great place to check out, and today it was quite busy.

Blue Jay

Tufted Titmouse

Eastern Towhee

Chipping Sparrow

Carolina Wren

White-crowned Sparrow

There were a couple of birds near the start of the Tulip Tree Trail, but other than a FOY Gray Catbird, it was a very quiet walk.

Baltimore Oriole

Black-throated Green Warbler

Spicebush Trail was also fairly quiet, however there were some birds to be seen, including a pair of Wood Ducks, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, White-throated Sparrows, and a Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Dutchman's Breeches was a plant that I've always wanted to see...I saw it.

Maintenance loop was dead except for the first Eastern Phoebe of the trip.

The Pony Barn and Log Pond revealed my first Yellow Warbler of the trip, some House Wrens, and a pair of Gray Catbirds.

Yellow Warbler

Gray Catbird

Finally, we checked out the docks, where we found some FOY birds like Purple Martin, Bonaparte's Gull, Forster's Tern, and Palm Warbler.

Purple Martin

Red-breasted Merganser

Forster's Terns and Bonaparte's Gull

Palm Warbler

Forster's Tern and Bonie

After checking ONTBIRDS from Tim Hortons, we decided to forgo Blenheim Sewage Lagoons and make a beeline for Hillman.

When we got there, the American Avocets and godwits were nowhere to be found, but a nice group of 50+ Willets and a Stilt Sandpiper were a nice consolation prize.


Stilt Sandpiper...uncommon spring migrant

Willets are becoming increasingly common in Ontario, and I'm sure it won't be long before they regularly breed here.

There were some other birds at Hillman too, including a pair of Trumpeter Swans.


Yellow-rumped Warbler

Caspian Tern and Bonaparte's Gulls

Bonaparte's Gulls

For the final stop of the day, we went to Tilbury Sewage Lagoons in pursuit of the Black-necked Stilt, which is a very good bird for Ontario, and their numbers are increasing.

With the help of another birder, I was able to find the stilt soon after arriving. What a beaut!

The final bird of the day was this American Kestrel with a mouse.

It was a pretty good day, considering the conditions. I can't wait to get out again!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Late April Arrivals

There seems to have been a major migration push in the last few days. Luckily, I've been out to see a few of the newly arrived migrants, and some that have been around, but are the first ones I've seen all year. I saw three first of year (FOY) species yesterday on the Nature London hike to see the American Woodcocks out at Killaly Meadows ESA. Here, we found some good birds, including FOY Yellow Warbler, FOY Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, FOY Eastern Towhee, and FOY Spotted Sandpiper.

"Sweet, Sweet, I'm so Sweet!" - Yellow Warbler

This morning, I had my first good looks this year at a trio of Yellow-rumped Warblers. Of course, I didn't have my camera, so I had to go back later. Thankfully, there was still a single bird hanging around.

I had to chase the little bugger around the pond and through swampy areas to get any decent shots(good thing I was wearing rubber boots!)

This weekend, despite there being rain on the forecast, I'll be heading down to Rondeau. Hopefully I can turn up some good birds (like maybe a White-winged Dove)!


I feel like this pretty much sums up some days during spring's very relatable.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Support the BB and B Birders! (Please)

Well, next month is May, which means neotropical migrants will start to arrive. Point Pelee will be packed, and the Great Canadian Birdathon is once again underway!

This year, as it's been for the past two years, I'll be doing my birdathon in Point Pelee (maybe next year I'll do the Bruce or Rondeau). The last couple of years, we didn't do too hot on the species list, but this year we've moved back our usual date by a week...hopefully it makes a difference!

If you would like, you can support my team The BB and B Birders, as we take on the challenge of birding in Ontario's most famous birding hotspot. All the proceeds will help bird conservation, and I've also chosen to have a portion of the money go to Nature London. To donate to this wonderful cause, just click here.

But wait...there's more!

If you do chose to donate, and thank-you to everyone who does, then have some fun! Instead of pledging "by species" (though that is perfectly fine), donate your desired amount in interesting ways. Some examples may include:

(insert amount) per shorebird species we see
(insert amount) for every bird we see that has orange somewhere on it's body
(insert amount) for every species that we hear only
(insert amount) that is tallied at the "Tip" only

Of course, there are many more combinations, so be original....

You can send all personalized pledges to The birdathon is scheduled for May 13th, so try to have all pledges regarding birds seen in by then. We expect to see somewhere in between 100 and 150 species on this trip (150 would be AWESOME!!!!), so I wouldn't donate something like $10 per species (unless you really want to!)

Of course, if you're the kind of person who doesn't want to take a gamble, then you can always just donate a certain amount and leave it there....everything is appreciated!

On behalf of the BB and B Birders, I'd like to thank-you for supporting bird conservation.

Good birding,
Quinten Wiegersma

Monday, 24 April 2017

I'm Feeling a Little Blue (I Missed the Little Blue)

I'll be straight to the point...I dipped on the Little Blue Herons that have been hanging around Corner's Corner in Elgin County. It was disappointing, but that's the chances you take with birding!

I did see my FOY (first of year) Winter Wren, which was nice. In typical Winter Wren fashion, I didn't get a picture, so here is one that I got last April in Point Pelee.

With the dozens of Wood Duck boxes (there could very well have been over a hundred on the property), it came as no surprise at least some Wood Ducks were around. 

I was happy to be able to add to my Turkey Vulture picture collection.

Other birds seen include;

Canada Goose

Red-winged Blackbird

Northern Flicker

Wildflowers were also on my radar. 

White Trillium

Yellow Dog's-tooth Violet

Marsh Marigold

Other than the dip, it was a pretty good trip. I discovered a new place and met some new people (along with some people I haven't seen in weeks). 

Spring Migration is Upon Us!!!!!!