Sunday 9 September 2018

Call of the Kiskadee

As many may already know, a Great Kiskadee was found on Friday on the marsh trail in Rondeau park. It was first posted to iNaturalist, and was quickly picked up by the Ontario birding community. ONTBIRDS and Facebook messages were posted. It was go time.

Unless you're like me, and are not legally allowed to drive.

So, why is this "Great Kiskadee" such a big deal? Well, this bird is native to central america and just makes it to south Texas. There has never been a Great Kiskadee recorded in Ontario, or even Canada, before this individual, so it got people very excited!

My kiskadee adventure started when my friend Owen and his dad picked me up around 9:15 or so Friday night. We pulled into Rondeau around 10:45 and set up for the night. The plan was to awake before first light the next morning and be there to start the search. Of course, we had to go to the washrooms first to look at the moths that the lights had attracted.

Large Maple Spanworm

Large Tolype Moth

Rose Hooktip

We woke up early the next morning and walked over to the marsh trail, where we began our search. After about an hour and twenty minutes, with no sign of the bird, I will admit I was beginning to think that perhaps we were out of luck (this is a flycatcher after all, and flycatchers are famous for being one day wonders!), but then all of a sudden I heard "There it is! We have it!". Lucky for me, the people who said that were only a few meters away, and I was able to get on the bird for about two seconds as it flew out of the willows and around to the backside of the tree. Woohoo!

We made a few phone calls, and within a minute we had probably around 30 or 40 birders sprinting down the trails from either direction towards where we had seen it. I found it kinda funny, though I know if I had been one of the ones further down the trail, I would have been the one leading the pack! 😜

It took a little bit, but it was soon relocated out on an open branch, where it remained as it preened for a considerable amount of time. It was viewed by all present, and all those who showed up in the next twenty minutes, on the branch. I think I said something along the lines of "Wow, this bird is very cooperative"....that proved to be its most, and only, "very cooperative" moment all day.

Long story short, I hung around for the next 10 or so hours, enjoying everything that the Marsh Trail (well, the first 200 meters or so anyway) had to offer. At one point I also went for a little walk to the front gate and around the campground, where I saw things such as Broad-winged Hawk, Common Loon, and a very nice looking Northern Parula at close range at eye level (Of course, I let Ethan borrow my camera when I saw her!)

It was great to see many familiar faces, and put even more faces to names. Over the course of my stay, I'd imagine a couple hundred people showed up to try and see the rarity. Not everyone was successful, but the bulk of them were!

While waiting for the bird to pop up, we entertained ourselves with the many other bird species around. Plenty of mixed flocks of warblers, vireos, and flycatchers moved through.

Great-crested Flycatcher

Palm Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Cape May Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

At one point a member of the park staff showed up with a large (well, to me at least) Eastern Foxsnake.

I saw this caterpillar in some vegetation along the trail, a Smeared Dagger.

Later in the afternoon, after at least four hours of waiting, the bird popped up and was enjoyed by all those present, Certainly nice to see after hearing it call from somewhere in the bushes for so long!

I think I can officially call it a very successful day! As of writing, the bird is still present, but patience is needed in order to see it.

Jeez, all these rare birds need to stop showing up so I can get to writing about James Bay (just kidding...please keep sending them oh mighty birding gods)

1 comment:

  1. Nice capture of the Kiskadee and the other great birds. I loved how you added in a little mothing into the mix! -DM