Sunday 6 May 2018

Early May Big Day

Yesterday was the eBird Global Big Day, and I had a jam packed day of birding planned!

I awoke (sort of) at five in the morning, and then went out and scoured my neighborhood for some birds. My first stop was to a spot where American Woodcocks are known to perform their "dance". Unfortunately when I arrived, they weren't peenting, but I managed to catch one flying from the display grounds back into the forest. Also seen was a flyover Wood Duck.

Next stop was a patch of forest and wetland. Quite a few birds to sort through! There were a few warblers, including Orange-crowned, Blackburnian, Yellow, Palm, Magnolia, and Nashville.

Palm Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

There were a couple vireo species as well, Blue-headed, and a White-eyed Vireo. White-eyed Vireos are quite rare in London, so I was very happy, and surprised, to find this individual a few days ago. thankfully it stuck around for yesterday, and it was still there this morning!

Blue-headed Vireo

White-eyed Vireo (photo from May 4th)

I made a couple more quick stops, and I managed to pick up Warbling Vireo, my first one of the year.

Next up, Rondeau!

I started with the maintenance loop, where I found a few more things such as Swainson's Thrush, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Black-throated Green Warbler, Gray Catbird, and Northern Waterthrush.

Swainson's Thrush

Gray Catbird

I got word of a female Cerulean Warbler not too far away, so I walked over. She allowed for some close up looks!

I was about to go to the Pony Barn when I got a text from Blake about a Summer Tanager in the campground, which I just so happened to be driving through! It sure wasn't hard to find, as there were almost a dozen people looking at it! I think that may have been one of the highest concentrations of birders I have ever seen in Rondeau :-)

Next I went to check out a reported Kentucky Warbler on Water Street. I missed it by about two minutes! We spent about an hour looking to no avail. I did manage to see a few other birds, including some more thrushes, warblers, and a Tufted Titmouse.

Gray-cheeked Thrush

The Pony Barn was mostly quiet, but I did mange to come across a few things.

Baltimore Oriole

Wood Thrush

Next stop was the Blenheim Sewage Lagoons. My intention was just to quickly run in to get Savannah Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark, but I noticed a crowd back by the sprinkler cell. I ran over to investigate, where I was told there were three Long-billed Dowitchers! They were a lifer for me, so I ran back to the car to grab my camera. Thankfully, they were very cooperative!

There were a few other shorebirds in the sprinkler cell as well.

Least Sandpiper

Greater Yellowlegs

Dunlin and Lesser Yellowlegs

My next stop was the Pelee area, where I was going to meet up with a few friends. We first checked out Hillman. There were a few shorebirds to be found, including Black-bellied Plover, American Golden Plover, Dunlin, yellowlegs, Ruddy Turnstone and 27 Long-billed Dowitchers.

Long-billed Dowitchers

Next up was Pelee. My friends went to get something to eat, so I got a head start on Tilden's. I managed to come across a few things, including a Blue-winged Warbler, Hermit Thrush, and a singing Louisiana Waterthrush.

Blue-winged Warbler

Carolina Wren

Wood Duck

I did the trail a second time once my friends showed up. We manged to find a Northern Waterthrush near where the Louisiana was.

We decided to try our luck with the Kentucky Warbler which had been spotted on Tilden's. As it usually is by 7pm, the trail was more or less deserted, so we'd have to find it ourselves! We had almost given up when my friend spotted it practically on the path! It flew to a tangle just off the trail, where it sat, allowing us to have some great looks!

After our success, and my fourth lifer of the day, we continued on, managing to find a Dark-eyed Junco and a Solitary Sandpiper on Tilden's, and a few Wild Turkeys on Woodland Nature Trail.

Solitary Sandpiper

Dark-eyed Junco

I said good-bye to my friends (I'll see them again next weekend!) and then started to head home. Last stop of the day was Hillman, where I found some woodcocks, and my last two new birds for the day list, Trumpeter Swan and Great Horned Owl.

It was an amazing day, and I finished with a total of 126 species, completely obliterating my previous personal big day record of 108.

Stay tuned...I'll be tackling Point Pelee next Saturday!


  1. Glad that you had such an awesome day! 😊

  2. That sounds like a great day! Incredible how much can be found in a day if one takes the time to look.

    1. Sure is! To think, I missed plenty of "common" birds as well!

  3. You saw some great birds! Luckily you got a Kentucky at Pelee. I lucked out with the one at Rondeau! It was my target bird for the weekend.

  4. We had almost given up on the Kentucky! I wish I had tried my luck at the Worm-eating, but hey, there is always next time (four more days!)