Saturday, 29 April 2017

Essex Explorations

After an enjoyable day in Chatham-Kent yesterday, I was looking forward to visiting Point Pelee.  The morning dawned cool and cloudy, I hoped that the rain would hold off long enough to explore the park. 

Marsh boardwalk was up first.
Red-Winged Blackbird, Marsh Boardwalk
Red-Winged Blackbird, Marsh Boardwalk
Swamp Sparrow, Marsh Boardwalk

 I was interested to see how the recent marsh fire had affected the landscape of the marsh.  It was impressive to see fresh shoots of green rising up through the charred remains.

Most of the other trails were rather quiet and birds were not overly active.
American Robin, Tilden Woods
The tip was where things started to become interesting.  It started with meeting Kory Renaud who directed me to pockets of warblers actively moving through the trees. 
I was interested to watch a large raft of Red-Breasted Mergansers bobbing around in the rough waves. They seemed condensed right around the end of the tip, seemed as though the wind and the waves had forced them there. 

Red-Breasted Mergansers, Point Pelee Tip
No sign of the Eared Grebe that I had heard was reported earlier, but several Horned were bobbing around.

Swallows were thick. 
Northern Rough-Winged and Tree Swallows, Point Pelee Tip

Mixed in with them I found a first-of-the-year Least Flycatcher along with a Blue-Headed and Red-Eyed Vireo.  It was about then that the rain started, bringing my Pelee visit to a close.
 Least Flycatcher hanging out with Tree Swallows, Point Pelee Tip
After a brief lunch in Leamington, it was off to Hillman Marsh before heading home.  The rain had let up by this time.  There were several birders scanning the shorebird cell as I arrived and I was glad to be able to meet Blake Mann.

With the exception of a large flock of Dunlin, most of the shorebirds I was hoping to see were quite distant.  Fortunately with the aid of the scope, I was able to add American Avocet, Marbled Godwit and Willet to my life list along with distant photos of each.
American Avocets, Hillman Marsh

Willets and Dunlin, Hillman Marsh

Marbled Godwits, Hillman Marsh

It was an enjoyable two days spent visiting Essex and Chatham-Kent.  I'm glad the trip worked out before things get too busy here at home.

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