Great Egret

Great Egret

Friday, 25 April 2014

Friend day, and a few birds also

Thursday was another gorgeous spring day....lots of sunshine, light winds and mild temperatures. Did you see the sun dog the evening before? A sun dog is created by the refraction of the sunlight through ice crystals that are present in the high cirrus clouds. The side closest to the sun is reddish/orange in colour, changing to yellow and eventually bluish before turning white at the side farthest from the sun.

Unfortunately there weren't a lot of birds around. They must be passing right over head on their way north, as I have heard reports of more warblers being seen north of here than what is being reported at Rondeau. We need a few storms from the southwest to force the migrants down. Maybe the rain of today will change things.

Nonetheless, there were a few birds to be enjoyed. While chatting with some friends at the Visitor Centre, someone came along with a photo of a White-eyed Vireo that he had taken a few hours earlier along the south side of the maintenance compound. So off we is the first one I have heard of anywhere in southern Ontario this year.

This species is notorious for spending most of its time in thick shrubbery, and this one was no exception. Sometimes it disappeared for awhile, and we were only able to locate it when it sang its very distinctive song. It was often in the shadows of the cedar hedge, but persistence paid off, and eventually I was able to get some photos through more open branches. It is an uncommon but regular bird at Rondeau. Interestingly, the first nesting record of White-eyed Vireo in Canada occurred less than a kilometre north of Rondeau in 1971. It has nested on occasion in the park since that time.

The Tuliptree and Spicebush Trails were quiet, but there were a number of friends and acquaintances who were around, so I actually spent much more time visiting than birding! And I don't think I missed any birds either. The social aspect of birding is definitely a plus, especially when birds aren't plentiful. I spent a fair bit of time chatting with various park staff over the course of the day as well.

An Eastern Gartersnake slithered by. The previous post showed a Ribbon Snake. This photo shows some of the subtle differences between the two species, if you compare the two photos.

As the afternoon wore on and people became fewer, I decided to try the Marsh Trail, which I hadn't been very far along on this year. It was great to note that finally all the snow has disappeared off the trail, other than a couple of small patches that were no trouble at all.There were lots of White-throated Sparrows along the trail, and the occasional Hermit Thrush. Leopard Frogs were 'snoring' in the wetland.

I went as far as the observation tower. There were ducks out on the bay, especially Gadwall and Bufflehead. A few muskrats were busy along the marsh edges doing what muskrats do. Hopefully they won't end up at the Visitor Centre pond and destroy the liner like one did before!

Right near the beginning of the observation tower boardwalk was some bird activity. Both Palm Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler were busily feeding in some willow trees.

Palm Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

And nearby in the dogwoods, a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were busily feeding.

1 comment:

  1. Hope there are more birds on the weekend. Weather has gone downhill.....yet again!