Sunday, December 4, 2016

McGeachy Strikes Again!

Today, December 4, turned out to be a fine day for birding.  As usual the weather forecast was wrong, and it turned out to be nice! There was no wind which was great for scanning the lake or hearing birds.

I started at Rondeau's Dog Beach for a brief lakewatch.  Scaup were moving in big numbers today as over 1000 went by.

However I only saw 4 Red-breasted Mergansers there while they are usually the big number. (Later I saw ~800 off south point trail moving west).
A Red-throated Loon was swimming far off shore, likely the same bird as yesterday.

I then moved down to south point trail where one could hear for a long distance.  There was not much to be seen on the way out, but on the way back I did have some birds to look through. The only warbler was a single Yellow-rumped--probably a bird that is attempting to winter at this point.

I found a "flock" of birds at one point that included the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  This bird is assumed to be the one that has been hanging around for several weeks.

Also in that flock were 3 Fox Sparrows, several Chickadees and kinglets (no ruby!).


After a brief check of the VC feeders, I moved up to the campground.  It was quiet again today.  I did come across a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at the south end.  I heard one at the north end, so perhaps there are a couple which is not unusual for this location in winter.

With the calm and clear day, I took advantage and scanned the ducks from the old pier area.  There were lots to sort through.  I was almost giving up on finding the Eurasian Wigeon when I found one in the distance.

Soon after I found another male Eurasian Wigeon a bit closer!

Perhaps one of these is the one that was at Erieau the past few weeks, as it was not located this weekend.  No reason a third could be around though!

Mindful of yesterday's events at McGeachy Pond dike, I headed over there next.  Not long after walking west, I caught sight of a yellow bird.  What was it?  It was very actively down in the tangles.  I soon got a look and determined it was a male Wilson's Warbler!


It was very difficult to try and photograph as it was down in and very active.  Earlier I had thoughts of finding the Palm Warbler that Garry Sadler photographed yesterday, but a Wilson's is just as good.  (by the way, the Palm Warbler was a "Yellow" eastern type, much more rare in Ontario).
There was something with the Wilson's today that I never got a proper look at.  It could very well have been the Palm.

Needless to say, the Wilson's Warbler is record late for the Rondeau birding area.  Coincidentally I found a record late one at Rondeau Park last year 14 November 2015. It was record late by 15 days, so do the math!

I also finally got a look at the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher that has been hanging around the dike.

Not record late for the area.  Actually my latest is 7 December 2003 at the park.

What will show up at McGeachy pond next?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

"Winter" Birding Rondeau Area December 3

This morning I met up with Steve Charbonneau and we checked out Rondeau Park.  It was a day with dull skies even though the forecast, as usual, said partly sunny (lol).  A lakewatch at Dog Beach revealed some action including a couple of Red-throated Loons, up to 8 Common Loons and 3 Horned Grebes.  A few gulls and ducks were on the move while a single American Pipit flew over.

South Point trail was  a bit quiet, but we did find one decent group of non-warbler type  birds.  A single Ruby-crowned Kinglet was among the Golden-crowned, Brown Creepers, and a couple of Tufted Titmice.

The campground was rather quiet for this time of year, but the birds do roam around.  Not a single Cedar Waxwing!

We then scooted over to Erieau to check out the Marsh Trail (aka rail trail).  We had hoped to find the Blue-headed Vireo, but a thorough search left that one unchecked.  We met Keith Burk who earlier had several Marsh Wrens, not unusual for this trail at this time.

Just before getting back to the cars, we met up with Garry Sadler who had photos of a mystery bird.  It was a *Palm Warbler*!  He had it near the west end of McGeachy Pond dike.  It appears to be a "Yellow" Palm Warbler which would make more sense this time of year.  Obviously that was out next stop!

Photo by Garry T. Sadler

A few birds were along the trail, until we came to a multitude of Cedar Waxwings.

With well over 100, there had to be a Bohemian or two.  Keith was the first to spot none other than a Bohemian Waxwing.  We soon had good looks.

The flock roamed around quite a bit, and we even had it at the west end parking lot as we were leaving.

Bohemian Waxwings are very rare in the Rondeau area.  In fact this may be only about the sixth record.  The first time I saw any in the area was 30 January 2000 when I found 12 birds on south point trail (highest count). The same day Steve and Jim had some at the gas plant.

We spent almost two hours along the dike and needless to say, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher remained unseen even though others saw it earlier (and later!).  It hides well in the shrubbery and tangles!

I walked the rail trail again and came up vireo-less, but did see more birds than the first walk.

I made another quick check of the McGeachy dike and had good views of the Bohemian Waxwing, as did Allen Woodliffe and John Lamey.

Final stop was Blenheim Lagoons where the Western Sandpiper is in company with 6 Dunlin.  It took a while to spot them, but soon they came fairly close.

The Western Sandpiper has been present an incredible 3 weeks now.

Certainly there were some quality birds around today!