Monday, 4 May 2015

Pelee and Rondeau Weekend Part 1: Hillman Marsh

Female Red-Winged Blackbird
I spent Friday and Saturday of last weekend visiting one of the most well known areas for migrants in Ontario, the Point Pelee area.  I knew that this would be my last chance for a while to get to Pelee before things got too busy here at home. 

We left around 7:00 in the morning on Friday.  A brief Tim Hortons stop for breakfast was the only stop on the way down.  We were actually planning to visit Point Pelee National Park first, but when I saw that the route went right past Hillman Marsh, we changed our plans.  I did not want to miss the opportunity to look for the american avocets that had been seen observed there in the last week.

The usual red-winged blackbirds and common grackles were some of the first birds of the day.  Further down the trail, we met a photographer that pointed out a yellow-rumped and a pine warbler trying to hide in the tall grasses.  I would soon see a couple yellow warblers which would be the extent of my warbler sightings here at Hillman.  Out on the water, several distant terns caught my eye, but they were too far for a positive identification. 

I was hopeful when approaching the shorebird cell, thinking that this could be where the avocets were.  If they were there I didn't see them.  However it was far from disappointing.  A northern rough-winged swallow offered some excellent views, but took off as soon as I raised the camera.  Lifer!!
The shorebird cell can attract all sorts of shorebirds, many of which are pictured on this board just overlooking the water.

Swimming out in the shorebird cell was a pair of scaup.  I have seen scaup before, but have not had them close enough to tell if they were definitely greater or lesser.  These ones got close enough for a picture and I got good views through binoculars.  Based on the slight tuft on the head, I believe that they are lesser.  I know that the pictures make it hard to tell but if anyone disagrees, feel free to correct me.  The two bottom photos were taken in a ditch just outside of the marsh. 

Possibly a slight tuft on the head.  Very hard to tell from the picture.

The chorus of frogs was a welcome spring sound and I managed to spot several of them among the marsh grasses.
While singing the frogs seemed to float stretched out along the water's edge.

Painted turtles

From here we headed on to Point Pelee.I could have gone through the full trip in one post, but I have plenty of pictures and so I'll spread it out a bit. 

Ebird List

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