Great Egret

Great Egret

Saturday, 17 May 2014

May 16 & 17 action

The cool weather of the last couple of days has been a least for viewing birds down low where there is more insect activity. And it is a lot easier on the neck, too, not having to strain to see small birds flitting around the tree tops against dull gray skies.

But many birds were so low, it was difficult to see them as they furtively crawled through the ground vegetation, such as this male Blackburnian Warbler.

This female Black-throated Blue Warbler was a little more visible, but still sometimes hard to see amongst the shrubbery, except for brief moments.

The north end of Rondeau was particularly busy with birds....lots of diversity and colour to enjoy! I had at least 20 species of warblers in just a few hours spent on Black Oak Trail and between Bennett Ave and the maintenance compound, including the log pond along Harrison Trail. And only a handful of birders, which made the experience more pleasant. A few birders are okay, but when it gets crowded, I go elsewhere.

Black Oak Trail was quite good. I look forward to checking out this trail later in the season, when the flowers of the oaks are coming out, which attracts insects, thus attracting warblers, and the leaves aren't as fully out as the maples and beech trees farther west. There were at least a dozen species of warbler along this trail alone. And no other birders.

At the log pond, there was a good bit of warbler activity: Magnolia, Am Redstart, Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, Palm and two female Prothonotaries. Lots of sapling stems made getting clear shots challenging, but I got a few record shots, including this one. The females are similar to the males, only a duller yellow, not the almost fluorescent colour of the male. This profile shot illustrates the rather large beak this species is known for.

Prothonotary Warbler female

This is a first year male American Redstart. There were quite a few scattered about, especially near water. This one was also at the log pond.

American Redstart

 Scarlet Tanagers were particularly plentiful. I probably saw at least 30 today, and a few were quite close. While watching one bright male on the ground along Harrison, it actually flew right over my head close enough to touch. Maybe there were a few insects hovering over me that he was interested in, but he did it twice. And a couple of others did the same thing later.

Thrushes were all over the place. Mostly Swainson's Thrush, but also quite a few Veery and a surprising number of Gray-cheeked Thrush, along with the occasional pair of Wood Thrush.

Gray-cheeked Thrush


 Flycatchers weren't quite as abundant, but still fairly common, including Eastern Wood-Pewee, which breeds at Rondeau.

Eastern Wood-Pewee

It is a great year for Gray is by far the most abundant member of the Mimidae family here. And on that note, where are all the Brown Thrashers? I've only seen one thrasher for every catbird, it seems.

Today I went to Erieau to look for the reported Neotropic Cormorant. No one saw it after first thing this morning, to my knowledge. But there are thousands of cormorants at the south end of Rondeau bay, roosting on the sandy islands closer to the Rondeau marsh. Some will nest 2013 there were at least 55 nests.

While I was in the area, I checked the Rail Trail, and noted a handful of warblers (Mourning, Common Yellowthroat, Black-and-white, Black-throated Green, Magnolia, Yellow and Palm) as well as more Scarlet Tanagers. Also a couple of Indigo Bunting, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireo, etc. There are more and more female warblers around, indicating the stage of migration being at its peak or perhaps just past?

Black-and-white Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

In the marsh area were at least three Gadwall and an American Coot. Either or both of the latter two species may be nesting.

And the Snowy Owl continues to be out in the corn stubble to the east of McGeachy Pond! I wonder if it is hanging out because it is too weak to continue north. There was enough heat haze to make getting a photo next to impossible.

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you are getting quite a variety of birds and photos. I love the Common Yellowthroat shot.