Monday 11 May 2020

eBird Global Big Day 2020

This past Saturday was the eBird Global Big Day. Before Covid-19 hit, the plan was to be down in Point Pelee for that day, but obviously that was not to be! I sure will miss going this year. It seems that provincial parks are opening up this week however, so maybe I can still make a short trip to Rondeau. Who knows.

 After staying put around home for about a month and a half, I was looking forward to getting out a bit further afield for the big day. I didn't really have any goals in mind, just a few places I wanted to check out around London. Normally, we should be seeing good numbers of migrants by now, but the weather has different plans. It was obvious while looking at the radar from the night prior there weren't going to be many (any) new arrivals!

No birds!
For reference, here is a night with lots of bird migration (from earlier this month, I forget when, maybe May 3rd?). Birds show up on radar as circles around radar stations.

I started off the day in my neighbourhood, as usual. I managed to wrack up just over 40 species before 7:30. Hardly any highlights, just the usual stuff! I then went to Gibbon's Park in London, in hopes of seeing the Summer Tanager which had been found the day prior. Turns out I had just missed it, as it was seen only a few minutes before I got there. Darn. Its turning into a bit of a county nemesis, as I have missed three in the last six months. At least I scored a few new birds for the day, including my first Least and Great Crested Flycatchers for the year.

After unsuccessfully searching the park, I went back to my neighbourhood for a couple hours. It seems that the screech-owl has gone AWOL! At least I saw a Green Heron...

I should mention that the weather was super weird. One moment it was nice, and the next it was snowing quite heavily! This morning I awoke to snow on the ground. I contemplated going out, but opted to go back to bed!

In the early afternoon, I went back out. I stopped into Gibbon's Park again briefly, before heading down to the Westminster Ponds. Here I hoped to see the Common Gallinule which has been reported. It took a bit, but I finally spotted it. A new bird for my Middlesex county list! I saw a Pileated Woodpecker as well.

Common Gallinule

In the south end of the city, I checked out the Dingman wetland. Lots of yellowlegs of both species, which was nice to see. I certainly have missed their vocalizations!

I drove through the town of Komoka, ticking five swallow species, a Chimney Swift, and a few Mute Swans. My last stop of the day was the Strathroy Sewage Lagoons. A nice variety of ducks and shorebirds were seen. Several Sora and Virginia Rails were heard.

Dunlin and Lesser Yellowlegs
I finished the day in my neighbourhood with an American Woodcock, my 94th species that day. Not too bad!

I'll tack on this sighting from yesterday, a Sora in my neighbourhood.

Looks like later this week may be a turning point for migration! Stay tuned.

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