Saturday 19 August 2017

Arctic, the Plains, and the...Everglades?

(This post was written and originally published on Monday, August 14th, however due to a weird system glitch, it re-posted on August 19th)

No, I did not travel extensively. Yesterday we found birds from all three in one place...Point Pelee and area!

Some of you may know about the juvenile Wood Stork that was found on Saturday on the Tip of Point Pelee. This is a first record ever for the park, and for most of the birders going to see it, a first for their Ontario list. As soon as I found out about this bird, I ditched the plans to go to Rondeau and instead to make a beeline to Point Pelee for this MEGA bird.

We arrived at the park around 10:45 and I went right into the VC to get some Wi-Fi and check the ONTBIRDS alert. What I saw nearly gave me gave me a heart attack....Jeremy had posted that the Wood Stork was at the Tip!!!

It's fair to say that Jeremy got a little excited...but then again, who wouldn't be!

I ran from the VC and was considering running to the Tip, but then I saw that the Tram was just about to leave so I hopped on that. I swear the Tram has never gone slower!!!

I passed the slow Tram ride by texting my mom and aunt, who I had left behind in the parking lot. I warned them that if I got word that the bird was at the Tip I would hop on the first Tram with or without them!

I quickly joined up with the only other two birders on the Tram and we made our way to the Tip. When we arrived, only one birder was there (I guess the rest hadn't gotten the memo yet!). He told us to look up as the stork had just taken off.

Not 5 minutes into the search it flies perhaps 20-25 feet off the ground off the Tip then back again right over top of me! It was absolutely incredible.

Later, while heading back down the West Beach trail, we see it again circling above the trees.

It was awesome!

The stork continued to be seen off and on again throughout the day, but not after around 2:15. I am very happy that I was one of the lucky few today that got to see it more than once and closer than half a kilometer away!

I explored the West Beach trail and a little but of Shuster in the afternoon.

While I didn't really pay all to much attention to butterflies, I still did find a few.

American Snout

Red-spotted Purple

Giant Swallowtail

I was happy to be able to finally find some Cicada Killers.

I found an Eastern Garter Snake.

Eastern Garter Snake

West Beach had the two most interesting birds (other than Wood Stork). A Canada Warbler was heard singing and an Olive-sided Flycatcher was seen sallying for insects.

Olive-sided Flycatcher

A few other birds could be found throughout.

Orchard Oriole

Eastern Kingbird

Bonaparte's Gull

After the park, we went and checked out the Essex Sewage Lagoons. The targets here were birds from the Plains and from the Arctic...Wilson's and Red-necked Phalaropes!

Phalarope have always been a nemesis of mine. I have tried numerous times to try and find them, yet all of my attempts yielded nothing. My luck turned around yesterday!

There were 2 Wilson's and 4 Red-necked Phalaropes to be found.

Wilson's Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope

Red-necked Phalaropes

Of course a few other shorebirds were around as well.

Least Sandpiper

The final stop for the day was to be Blenheim Sewage Lagoons. While nothing here would be a lifer, I wanted to see if I could add a few things to my Chatham-Kent list.

Lesser Yellowlegs were abundant.

Lesser Yellowlegs and Pectoral

There were a couple Short-billed Dowitchers in one of the cells.

The real highlight were 8 Wilson's Phalaropes! Considering I had never seen a Phalarope in my life prior to yesterday, 14 in one day plus a Wood Stork is really cool!

Wilson's Phalaropes and Stilt Sandpiper

Many Bobolinks were found in the grasses along the dikes and on the road.

There were a few species of ducks around, including the summering Ring-necked.

Blue-winged Teal and Mallard


Surprisingly, this is my first Great Blue Heron for the lagoons.

As the sun set, and the peeps became impossible to identify in the deteriorating light, I knew it was time to finish for the day.

Going into the day, I thought that finding the Wood Stork would be a very slim chance. I definitely didn't think finding it within 20 minutes of arriving at the VC was even possible!

This is just the beginning of what I believe will be an amazing fall!


  1. You certainly had an excellent day with the Storm.....I mean Stork being a highlight!

    1. Don't forget that it was flying over the Too! Darn autocorrect! I think that happened to few people yesterday on ONTBIRDS.

    2. Quite the stork....I mean story!

    3. It was, wasn't it? I'm sure many people got a laugh!

  2. Hi Quinten! A big thanks to you and your Mom for an awesome day! We're used to being 'ditched' when you're in 'bird mode'. We were very happy that you got to see the Wood Stork! 😁