Friday, 12 May 2017

The Point Pelee BIG DAY Ahead!

Tomorrow is my Great Canadian Birdathon in the Point Pelee birding area. I'm super excited!

The purpose of this post is to discuss my plans, and what type of day I think it's going to be.

Starting with what type of day I think it's going to be....

I think it's not going to be the type of day that all  birders dream of - you know, the days where the neotropical migrants can be found in numbers in every tree, bush, and field. While they will be migrating, I highly doubt that any fallout will happen.

Based on this map, which shows the wind direction (yes I know that's Brandon's thing), the migrants will be faced with 10-ish kilometer NORTH winds. Great for birding in the fall, but definitely not ideal in the middle of May.

Later in the evening on Saturday there is a trace of some south winds, which means that there just might be a fairly large number of birds the NEXT morning...when I'm not there.

The forecast is pretty clear, so there will  no doubt be at least SOME movement. That's good for me!

Because of the weather forecasted, I think that even though birds won't be in every tree and bush, there should still be pockets of'll just have to wander a bit to find them. This might be a case of quality over quantity.

My plan for the day is a little bit different from last year. Instead of heading down to the tip first thing in the morning, I'm going to try starting with Tilden's/Shuster/Cactus Trail (T/S/CT) and Woodland Nature Trail (WNT). T/S/CT and WNT seem to be the birding "hubs" right now, and based on my eBird findings, it will probably be most worthwhile to hit those two up front when the sun comes up. Like last year, I'll be arriving at 5:00 am.

I will go down to the tip after T/S/CT and WNT to pick up the water birds that like to hang out down there. I've heard that it's a good year for terns in the park, and they would make a welcome addition to the Big Day list. Any rarities found by the "morning shift" would hopefully still be around as well.

The beaches and dunes on the west side of the park seem to also be a very good area, so I'll make sure to check them out. Of course, DeLaurier will be searched for birds such as Whip-poor-will, Bald Eagles, and sparrows.

Hillman Marsh Conservation Area is a spot that you just can't miss on a Big Day attempt. Here I can expect to pick up shorebirds, rails, herons, terns, gulls, and ducks.

The onion fields are a bit more of a crap shot when it comes to birding - however the real prize here would be one or two Ring-necked Pheasants and some Rock Pigeons (all birds count!).

Of course, I'll probably end up at other sites around the area, really depends on what is being seen!

I'm also hoping to reach a few milestones:
  1. Essex life list up to 200 (requires 53 more). It would then surpass my Middlesex life list!
  2. Life list up to 270 (requires 8 more)
  3. Weekend Big Year list up to 200 (requires 51 more)
In regards to my Weekend Big Year, since I'm at 149, I wonder what my 150th species will be? The two most likely candidates are Eastern Whip-poor-will and Eastern Screech Owl.

Whatever the day has in store, I'm sure it will be jam-packed with great birding!

Let the BIG DAY Begin!

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