Great Egret

Great Egret

Friday, 23 May 2014

Rondeau area update: May 22 & 23

I've been away for a few days.....maybe you have noticed my absence. Marie and I were in North Bay, visiting our daughter and new son-in-law. I'll post a bit of that trip in a future post.

We got back late in the evening of Wednesday, May 21 and I was ready for my 'Rondeau fix'. So on Thursday morning, I headed to Rondeau. The birds along the north end of Rondeau Road were not abundant, but there were a few warblers on the move: Blackburnian and Magnolia especially, and some of the resident warblers were in full song. There were lots of vireos, including Yellow-throated, and a few Empid flycatchers including Yellow-bellied. Pileated Woodpeckers were around, but not very vocal this day. They have a territory and nest site in this vicinity and so are particularly quiet.

Blackburnian Warbler

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are still around in good numbers...not quite as plentiful as they were a few days ago, however. Presumably some of the ones currently around will remain to nest.

The Spicebush Trail had loads of wildflowers. Lots of different violets, some lingering trilliums, Pepperwort Toothwort and many others. I will do a special post just on some of the wildflowers there. I'll include one of my favourites for now: the White Baneberry, a.k.a. Doll's-eyes, for reasons that will become apparent in a future post.

A Wood Thrush has taken up residence along the west side of the trail, so hopefully some decent pics of adults feeding young may be in store. I also heard a partial song of an Acadian Flycatcher just a bit north of where one has nested in the last couple of years, so hopefully that bodes well for this species.

At the Visitor Centre feeders there was a fair bit of bird activity. Mostly the usual ones, but what caught my eye was this gorgeous adult Red-headed Woodpecker!

It was particularly attracted to the suet feeder and was rather feisty in discouraging some of the other competitors for this type of nutrition.

Later I went to the Dog Beach access, hoping to see some shorebirds, and in particular Whimbrel. Spotted Sandpipers were kicking up a fuss, as were some Killdeer.

Spotted Sandpiper

And then I noted a flock of three largish shorebirds with long down-curved bills come closer....Whimbrel! They landed briefly nearby, but were quickly airborne again.

Another large flock of at least 250 Whimbrel were well out over the lake, and disappeared without coming close enough for even a long record shot.

On the return along Lakeshore Road, I noted a chipmunk in a tree....not the usual place to see them, but they are avid climbers and on occasion I have seen them near the top of a 30 metre high tree. This one was at a better level for photographing, in spite of the heavy cloud cover and poor lighting.

Today I took a quick trip to Erieau, to see if any more Whimbrel were in the area. This species only passes through in a very short time period.....usually no more than about a week. But none were visible today. I did see 6 brightly plumaged Ruddy Turnstones on the far breakwall.

Along the Erieau Rail Trail there was a smattering of warblers, about 8 species in all. Highlights were Canada Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler and Mourning Warbler along with some of the more regular migrants and residents. The dull light and shrubby conditions made getting photos particularly challenging.

Wilson's Warbler
An Eastern Kingbird and Ruby-throated Hummingbird were a bit more cooperative.

Eastern Kingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird


  1. A lot of birds were along the Erieau RR trail last evening (Thursday) including a high number of Wilson's Warblers and Magnolia Warblers. One of the better times I have had there.
    I saw one lonely Whimbrel at the pier area--a flyover!

    1. Thanks, Blake......yes there was still a good number of Wilson's around today. I had at least 5, possibly twice that but with so much movement and more leaves, it was hard to tell. And I was a bit surprised to see at least 4 White-crowned Sparrows. They should be much farther north, but then this hasn't been a normal spring.....

  2. Nice collection Allen, I wish I could've seen the Wilson's while we were in Pelee.