Monday 30 April 2018

Rondeau Roundup

Yesterday I went to Rondeau with a group from Nature London. Despite it being a "slow" day, I don't think anybody was disappointed!

We started the day with a quick drive down Lakeshore Road, looking for the White-winged Dove, a bird that has somehow evaded me for the past four years. No luck!

We met up with the group, and then went and explored Tulip Tree Trail. Some highlights included Common Loon (flyover), Hermit Thrush, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Tufted Titmouse and Winter Wren.

Hermit Thrush

After about an hour on the trail, I took my group on a little walk down Lakeshore Road. There were plenty of Brown Thrashers.

I stopped to talk to the owner of the "pink house", who said the White-winged Dove had just taken off, but was likely at the "yellow house", a little bit down the road. I lost a lot of my group, as they didn't want to walk down the road all that way, but I kept treking (sprinting)...I had to see that bird!

Eventually I got to the "yellow house" and....nothing. Darn. But just as I was about to turn around I spotted a dove fly up from the ground behind the house. A dove with a rounded tail and white on the tip of the tail. Could it be? It all happened so fast, but it definitely warranted a closer look. It wasn't on the stovepipe, and it wasn't on the roof, so where did it go?


Ahhh!!! It was the White-winged Dove!!! I quickly found it in a tree not too far from the house, where it offered great views. After a little while it flew north, where I refound it high in a tree.

After the dove excitement, the group went to South Point Trail (they tried and failed at seeing the White-winged...good thing I went when I did!). Plenty of small woodland birds were around.

Hermit Thrush

White-throated Sparrow

House Wren

Eastern Towhee

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Most of the group turned around where the path was really flooded, but three of us kept going, seeing what we could find. There were a few sparrows near the beacon.

Field Sparrow

We managed to find our first (!) warblers of the trip...a distant singing Yellow-rumped and at least three Pine Warblers.

Pine Warbler

Not too much of interest was out near the washout except for a Horned Grebe and an Eastern Bluebird.

After South Point, we went up to the campground to check out a Snowy Owl which my friend had texted about. It didn't take too long to find it up in a tree. Kind of a bizarre place for it!

Maintenance was fairly quiet, but we did see a Carolina Wren and my first Spring Azure of the year.

Carolina Wren

Spring Azure

Marsh Trail was the last stop for the group. Not much of note except for a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Blake notified me of a Wilson's Phalarope over at the Blenheim Sewage Lagoons, so I made a stop there after Rondeau.

It didn't take long to find her in the sprinkler cell. Female phalaropes are more brightly coloured than the males, and this female was no exception. Quite the bird!

There were some other shorebirds around, such as both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

Lesser Yellowlegs

I found a group of Pectoral Sandpipers and a Wilson's Snipe in a wet spot to the north of the sprinkler cell.

Pectoral Sandpiper

A few other birds around the lagoons as well, including Purple Martins, Savannah Sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks, gulls, ducks, and blackbirds.

Bonaparte's and Ring-billed Gulls

Wood Ducks

Eastern Meadowlarks

All in all a super great day in the Rondeau area!

On a side note, I saw this stunner in London today. Not often we get a Prothonotary Warbler up this way! This is day three for this bird...I wonder how long he'll stay.

Saturday 21 April 2018

Spring has Sprung!

Recently there has been a large influx of birds in my area. Over the last few days I have spent quite a lot of time checking out some of my local spots. I have not been disappointed!

I was quite happy to see my first Yellow-rumped Warbler of the spring back on Tuesday.

I also managed to see a Savannah Sparrow and Wilson's Snipe that same day.

Savannah Sparrow

Wilson's Snipe

A pair of Eastern Phoebes were working a wetland.

Eastern Phoebe

A couple days later I went out again, and saw my first Hermit Thrushes of the year, as well as a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Hermit Thrush

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yesterday, Friday, I went down to Dutton to try and see the presumed Eurasian Collared-Dove. It was a success!

Eurasian Collared-Dove (left) and Mourning Dove (right)

There were a few American Robins at the dove spot as well. I also managed to see my first Barn Swallow of the year on the drive.

I spent all day today riding around my neighbourhood looking for migrants. It was a nice surprise to find my first Spotted Sandpiper of the year.

There were a few swallows around today as well. Most were Tree Swallows, but I caught a glimpse of a Northern Rough-winged Swallow a couple times.

Tree Swallow

This Horned Grebe has been hanging around for a few days now. Today it allowed for some decent photos!

I also saw my first Broad-winged Hawk and Chipping Sparrow (finally) of the year.

Chipping Sparrow

After so much success first thing in the morning, I went back out after breakfast. I was quite pleased to find my first ever Dekay's Brownsnake.

There were a few Ospreys hunting for goldfish in the pond.

As I was rounding a corner I spotted something on the flooded pathway. It was an American Bittern! Unfortunately my camera was in my backpack when I first saw it out in the open, but thankfully it allowed me to get some record shots of it in the phragmites.

American Bitterns are a pretty rare find in the London area. This sighting is only the fourth record on eBird in the last decade!

I came back a little later, and found the bittern back on the path. Thankfully, I was prepared this time, and managed to get some photos that I am happy with.

What a great few days it has been! Let the madness (hopefully) begin!

Sunday 15 April 2018

Early Spring(ish) Birding

This past week has been quite something in Ontario!

Last Sunday I visited the Rondeau area to have a look around. I stopped into Ridgetown on the way, and was rewarded with some Snow Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese.

Snow Geese

Greater White-fronted Geese

Rondeau itself was pretty quiet, but I was able to find a few things here and there, including my first of year (FOY) Eastern Phoebes and Rusty Blackbirds of the year.

Horned Grebe

Lesser Scaup

Red-winged Blackbird

Downy Woodpecker

There was a flooded field just north of Shrewsbury which was quite productive. I managed to find my FOY Dunlin and Lesser Yellowlegs.


Green-winged Teal and American Robin


Lesser Yellowlegs

Last stop was the Blenheim Sewage Lagoons.

Plenty of ducks and Bonaparte's Gulls!

Ruddy Duck

Bonaparte's Gull

Just before I left, this Eastern Meadowlark popped up.

Fast forward to yesterday. I managed to get out to the landfill before the ice storm hit to look for some of the reported gulls. Although I missed the Glaucous Gull, I did see my FOY Lesser Black-backed Gull. I managed some far off record photos.

I also came across my FOY Greater Yellowlegs, as well as a Lesser Yellowlegs.

Greater Yellowlegs

Lesser Yellowlegs

Hopefully this weird weather clears out soon!