Great Egret

Great Egret

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A mixed Friday & Saturday

Friday was cool, but sunny with lots of snow still around. Saturday was a mix of freezing rain, rain and heavy cloud, but warmer, causing much of the snow to disappear. I'm sure birds are confused!

A couple of hours at Erieau on mid-day Friday proved to be worthwhile. There were lots of waterbirds, in the main channel, off the south beach of Rondeau and in the marina slips. I was hoping for something a little more exotic, such as a Harlequin Duck playing in the surf around the rocks, and although there were lots of ducks there, I couldn't find a Harlequin. Lots of scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Am Black Ducks. But what caught my eye was a flock of shorebirds. Fortunately they landed on the western tip of the south beach, and it resulted in me counting 38 Dunlin and two Killdeer.

At Erieau proper, there was a good variety of waterbirds: a nice looking female Long-tailed Duck was swimming around. For some reason, it is not a common species towards the western end of Lake Erie.

Red-breasted Mergansers were scattered around, as were most of the other usual species. The male Redhead photo shows it passing through its autumn plumage with the brownish back and not yet into its normal winter plumage with the all grayish back. The Common Merganser is in its winter plumage as well, but in a couple of months it will be sporting a clean dark green head. The number of American Coot has dropped considerably from even 2-3 weeks ago.
Red-breasted Merganser


Common Merganser

Ruddy Duck

American Coot
There were still lots of Horned Grebes around as well with at least 30 in view from Erieau without looking too hard.

Horned Grebe
 On the gravel surface near the marina slip, there were several American Pipits, which are abundant across southern Ontario these days, as well as Horned Larks, Snow Buntings and a few Lapland Longspurs.

Horned Lark

Lapland Longspur
My next stop on Friday, and my first stop today, was in Rondeau. The Visitor Centre feeders were not exceptionally busy, but had some of the regular species (e.g. Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch and White-throated Sparrow) as well as a good sized flock of Pine Siskins. At one point I estimated at least 100 siskins at the feeders or in the vicinity.

Song Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow
On Friday, with snow still covering most things, the plowed scrapes along Lakeshore Road proved worthwhile. There were American Pipits (8), Fox Sparrows (4), as well as the more common American Tree Sparrows, Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays. A female Wood Duck was scavenging along the road, surprisingly. I suspect it was looking for acorns.

American Pipit
Today, the scenery was different. There were still lots of pipits here and there, but in the rain, cloud and heavy overcast, they were more challenging to photograph.

American Pipit
At the corner of Bennett Ave and Harrison Trail, I had a brief look at a Northern Goshawk, my first of the fall. But no photograph.

Near the parking area between the tennis courts and the traffic circle were more pipits, and three Killdeer. A closer look shows the rain droplets on the bird's back.
At a feeder just north of the campground, there were three Fox Sparrows mixed in with the juncos, sparrows and cardinals.

In the campground, birds were scattered in a couple of small groups. One group had several Golden-crowned Kinglets, three Ruby-crowned Kinglets and 5 Black-capped Chickadees busily searching for food in a snowy, weedy patch.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
A bird that is usually around, but often difficult to find, is Chipping Sparrow. This one was entirely by itself, and I almost missed it.

Chipping Sparrow
At least I didn't have to be concerned with over exposed highlights off the snow today!


  1. Wonderful photos, Allen!
    I've yet to see an American Pipit in real life so it's nice to see a good photograph of one so I know what to look for.
    This is Karen, who you met at Tilbury Sewage Lagoons when the Cattle Egrets were there. :)

    1. Hi Karen.....thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog, and for the kind words. It has been a great year for pipits, so hopefully you will catch up to some in real life!