Monday, 21 May 2012

Point Pelee

I spent a long weekend at Point Pelee last week for the "peak" of migration.  The weather was beautiful.  Unfortunately, the birds thought so too and flew right over without stopping. There weren't many of anything except for Yellow Warblers and both orioles.  That said, I and a friend managed a day of 108 species and found about 125 species over four days.  Last year we managed 144 over two days so it was quite a bit slower this year.  It would have been nice to get to photograph a number of the beautiful warblers passing through but the ones that were present were not very forthcoming.  Pelee is beautiful though, with or without birds and we had a very pleasant long weekend at a rented cottage on Lake Erie.  Here are some of the aforementioned Yellow Warblers:

They are so common that I often don't even bother to look up when I hear them but they really do look pretty nice when when you make the effort.  Remarkably, one of the easy to find birds this year was the Black-billed Cuckoo.  The first one was a lifer for me.

One morning also yielded a Yellow-billed Cuckoo at the tip of the point.

Both are usually pretty hard to see but gave up good looks over the days we were there.  Here are some (really very poor) photos of some of the other species we saw.

Baltimore Orioles were everywhere.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a really beautiful bird that I still haven't managed to get a good photo of.

One of two Eastern Screech Owls in the park regularly.  The other was a rufous-morph. The first I've seen.  Here's one of two regular Prothonotary Warblers:

There were also some sparrows around.  The first is a record shot of a Field Sparrow, the second is a Savannah Sparrow, and the third and fourth shots are of a cooperative White-crowned Sparrow.

Barn Swallows were obliging.

And there were lots of Cedar Waxwings too. These are really beautiful birds.  It's a bit of a shame that this one chose to pose in such a dark place (my equipment/skill is just not up to it).

Bald Eagles were also around.  This young one posed nicely not too far off.

And lest anyone think that Pelee is only for birds and birders...

Some columbine growing amongst grasses.

A Question Mark Butterfly (one of many butterfly species passing through Pelee during this time of year).

A Fox Snake relaxing on a tree.

Morning sun shining on a rotten log supporting all kinds of new growth.  Pelee is a very beautiful place.

Sunday, 6 May 2012


I spent a couple of hours at High Park yesterday morning.  It was pretty quiet.  Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers, one Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, and this really tame Wood Duck were the highlights.  These ducks are usually pretty timid but they were very obliging yesterday.

They really are very nice-looking birds.  Maybe not quite as striking as this Mandarin (from Japan) but really  nice nonetheless.

The cherry blossoms at High Park have come and gone with only a few pink-ish trees left.  Chipmunks are around in numbers as are joggers, sparrows (White-throated and this Song Sparrow), and Robins.  This particular chipmunk seems to need a cane.

 Song Sparrow:

A real dirtbird:

The female Red-winged Blackbird is one of the more annoying birds.  Every time I see one skulking in a bush, for a brief second I feel this moment of hope that I'm looking at something interesting, and then I realize what I'm seeing .

I don't know (anything) about trees. I don't know what this one is but it does look interesting.

Next week I head to Pelee.  Should be great. Hopefully, I'll come back with some photos.