Sunday, October 23, 2016

Rondeau Ramble October 23

Sunrise at Rondeau Park

It was down to Rondeau again today.  Kit McCann, a fairly new birder from Essex County, joined me for a birding tour of the park.  I did my usual routine of starting at Dog Beach for a lakewatch, walking south point trail, and Harrison Trail from maintenance to south of the pony barn.
The weather was very nice today, and as expected, far fewer birds were around.

The wind had switched to the SW and was moderate, so a lakewatch at Dog Beach was not too productive.  Just after arrival, the first loon went by and it was a Red-throated.
Only 2 American Woodcocks came in off the lake today, plus a Hermit Thrush that nearly got nailed by a Cooper's Hawk.

Along the trail, we ran into a couple of good pockets of birds.  Different birds from yesterday included a couple of Blue-headed Vireos and a Nashville Warbler.  Three Blackpoll Warblers were in the mix as well.

More Eastern Phoebes were around today, as they seemed to be everywhere.

We also got a look at a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers.  They can be surprisingly elusive on a trip to Rondeau! (especially on a Christmas Bird Count)

We walked to the back corner of south point trail--the first time I have been there since May!  With the severe erosion the past couple of years, the walk to that point has been difficult.  It used to be a regular thing to go to the back corner.
However, the beach is fairly wide now.

Next stop was to park at maintenance and then walk down Harrison Trail.  Once again there were lots of American Robins and White-throated Sparrows among others.  Early on, we encountered an Orange-crowned Warbler.  It was a lifer for Kit.

Near the gate area of the park, we looked at some ducks.  An Osprey made a pass.

I believe Kit listed 7 lifers today!
I went on home afterwards, but Kit stopped by Blenheim Lagoons. He found 2 Cattle Egrets!  (No doubt the ones seen near Shrewsbury yesterday).  Kit seems to have an uncanny knack at finding heron types.  Some weeks ago, he was the first to see a Little Blue Heron at Holiday Beach.  Just over a week ago, he found the Cattle Egret at Hillman Marsh shorebird cell.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Brisk 'n Birdy

It was a good day for birding, but brisk and cold.  I was tempted to go to Sarnia but thought I would get more bang for my buck at Rondeau Park.  Yesterday, a couple of decent birds were at the lakewatch spot at Sarnia on the northerly wind!

I started at Dog Beach in Rondeau Park for a lakewatch.  There were not many gulls, but lots of ducks.  All three scoters were represented today, scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, etc.
woodcock making a beeline for the woods
Steve Charbonneau joined me and we were amused again with the passerines coming in off the lake. A total of 6 American Woodcock, a couple of Hermit Thrushes, several American Robins, Pipits, a junco and even a meadowlark (presumably Eastern) were among the mix.

The only other shorebird today was a Dunlin that I saw before Steve arrived.
While there, we got word of a couple of Cattle Egrets near Shrewsbury, flying inland.  Steve later went off to look for them, but they were not found again to my knowledge.

I continued on to south point trail where there were good pockets of birds.  Most were Yellow-rumped and kinglets of course, but others were mixed in.

Purple Finch

I had one very good spot with 2 Blackpoll Warblers, 3 Palm (one being of the hypochrysea type), a late Eastern Wood Peewee and other birds.

Blackpoll Warbler

The "eastern" Palm co-operated quite nicely. It is the second one I have seen this fall at Rondeau.

As often is the case this time of year, Eastern Bluebirds flock up and one group of about 30 was on south point trail.  I saw a few more later, including 3 at the old Dillon dump.  There I also accumulated 3 Black-legged Ticks!  (I hope that was all).  October is the worst time of year for the critters at Rondeau, although this year they have not been too bad.

Behind maintenance, I found the robins.  There were dozens plus just as many White-throated Sparrows.

On to Blenheim Lagoons....
The 3 Barn Swallows were still present diligently searching for food.

There were several hundred Ruddy Ducks, plus several other species including Blue-winged Teal (there were more than the 8 I reported on eBird, but who was counting?)
Also present was a "farm" duck which looked out of place.

In the sprinkler cells, shorebirds included 3 Lesser Yellowlegs, 4 Greater Yellowlegs, a Dunlin, a Least Sandpiper, a Pectoral Sandpiper and several Killdeer.

The lagoons were full of Bonaparte's Gulls, but as usual, nothing with them.