Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Pelee and Rondeau Weekend Part 3- Holiday Beach and Rondeau

This post might end up longer than some of my past posts. The warm weather means that I am busier at home on the farm which leaves me less time to write a blog post.  The weather also means that birding is getting even better as the summer visitors arrive and nesting gets underway.  So much birding and so little time to write about it :)

After leaving Pelee Provincial Park on Friday May 1st, we headed past the location where the Eurasian-collared doves are commonly seen.  Last year I was lucky enough to spot the doves and they were present on the power lines this year again.  It sounds like they are maybe nesting in the area.
Eurasian Collared Dove- Leamington Ontario

On Saturday May 2nd, we left the Pelee area and headed for Holiday Beach Conservation area.  It was here that I picked up a couple snowy egrets last year and a tricoloured heron had been seen there the week before, so I was hopeful for a good day of birding.  We got there early and were one of the only ones there at first.  I started scanning the water and decided to head up the hawk tower for a better view over the marsh.  Several species of ducks and a handful of pied-billed grebes were out on the water.

A large number of mute swans were also present.

Mute Swan- Holiday Beach

 It was also a thrill to see a healthy population of purple martins.

Purple martins, one of my favorite shots of birds in flight.

I met a very co-operative tree swallow.

We headed down a nearby trail where I got my first glimpse of a swamp sparrow.  Further down, the trail turns into a boardwalk that heads through the marsh.  As I passed a clump of marsh grass, a sora suddenly scurried out.  The picture below is far from good, but I was satisfied considering how shy soras generally are.
Can you spot the sora?
 I watched as a second sora scurried into view and the two interacted with each other, but soon disappeared.  Ahead, I again heard the grunting of a virginia rail, my second of the trip.

I picked up 27 species here and posted them to ebird. 
I didn't see the tricoloured heron, but was still satisfied.

We left Holiday Beach and headed on to Rondeau Provincial Park, the last stop of the trip.  I have learned a lot about Rondeau from other bloggers, but had never had a chance to visit it myself.  First stop was the visitor's centre where I had a great birding conversation with a member of the Friends of Rondeau as we watched the feeders.  The first trail I went on was the tuliptree trail.  It was here where an american woodcock flushed up, a species I had been trying to see for a long time.
We were just a bit too early to see the prothonotary warblers that nest here.
There were plenty of chipmunks along the trail.

Then we moved on to a trail that headed down towards the beach.  On the way down the trail, a couple birders pointed me to a pair of blue-grey gnatcatchers, another life species.  As we approached the water, it became obvious how serious the erosion is at the park. Some parts of the trail had to be re-routed.

The water was relatively quiet for bird life, but it was still a great spot to stop and look around.

I picked up a large ebird list here as well.

Back home, I spent the other day at the Mitchell Sewage Lagoons.  The water level in the cells is ideal for shorebirds and I picked up a new species, dunlin.   An out of season tundra swan and 3 out of season lesser scaup were present along with the usual species.

If you're still reading at this point, thanks for putting up with a long post.  It was a great trip with 11 new life species.

Enjoy the spring weather.

White trilliums- home farm

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