Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Point Pelee and Tennessee: Part 1

I had the opportunity recently to travel with family to visit friends in Tennessee and to stop at Point Pelee on the way there.  I was looking forward to visiting Pelee again and hopeful for the chance to see some southern specialtys afterward.

We arrived in good time at Pelee and first up was the marsh boardwalk.
A familar scene.

There can often be some good sightings in the marsh but on that day it was rather slow.  For me the most interesting was watching an active marsh wren along the edge of the boardwalk.

From there we headed straight down to the visitor centre and were soon on the shuttle heading down to the tip.  I got off the shuttle and immediately noticed something on the boardwalk.  Then I saw the blue tail.  My first five-lined skink, Ontario's only lizard.  It disappeared down under the boardwalk, but then peeked back up and I managed a photo.  Not as good an image as I had hoped for but better than nothing.

An excellent tip was visible on that day, a lot longer than it has been on past visits.

Numerous gulls were milling about on the tip and several red-breasted mergansers were swimming nearby. 

A small flock of blackpoll warblers were working among the trees along the edge.

  A few giant swallowtails and common buckeyes were around the tip as well.  I do not often see these species around home so I was happy to find them here.  A few monarchs were around,but not the numbers that I was expecting to see.  I remember visiting the tip in September a couple years ago and seeing masses of them.  Perhaps it is past their peak migration through Pelee?

We were undecided where to go from the tip, but finally settled on the Delaurier homestead trail, one that I had not actually been on before.  It was an interesting walk through the buildings and along a gorgeous trail.

  Not a lot of activity here either but some close views of a soaring immature bald eagle and a breeding plumage male wood duck were nice sightings.
 It was starting to get late in the afternoon and we were hoping to cross the border into the US that day.  I was looking forward to the coming days and exploring Tennessee.

To be continued...

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Afternoon in Mitchell

There have been some interesting sightings reported lately at the West Perth Wetlands in Mitchell and today my nephew and I decided to take a look.  Recent reports included an american bittern that had been offering some good views and a red-necked phalarope.  The phalarope had only hung around a couple days but the bittern had been reported at the wetlands for some time now and I was hoping to finally get a good view of a species that has only offered me one brief glimpse in the past.

Arriving at the wetlands I promptly discovered that I had forgotten  my camera.  All that I had was my phone camera and a scope with which I could maybe use to do some digi scoping.

Lots of monarchs are showing up now and many were seen throughout the afternoon.

The large numbers of shorebirds that had been around also seemed to have moved out and although there was some decent variety, I was expecting a bit more. Likely a lot of that had to do with two cells being almost completely dry.

 Lots of yellowlegs, pectoral, least and stilt to sort through.  No killdeer today for some reason.
Stilt sandpiper doing 'sewing machine' action.
A northern harrier made periodic flyovers and was later observed feeding on something out in the soccer field.
Duck variety was quite good today including several first of the fall species for me. 

The bittern did not make an appearance today, but it was an enjoyable afternoon regardless.  The lagoons will be changing daily as fall migration continues. I hope to be back again soon and hopefully next time I will remember my camera.