Great Egret

Great Egret

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Not the winged things I was hoping for......

Yesterday dawned warm and bright. I had decided not to go out to Rondeau since there were other things on the home front that need my attention. Then came the posting from Steve about a cooperative Kentucky Warbler at the corner of Bennett Ave and Lakeshore Road. Drat. I hadn't seen a Kentucky Warbler for at least a couple of years. But I kept on with my home front activities.

Then came the posting about a Swallow-tailed Kite flying south over Bennett Ave......that would be a new bird for the Rondeau checklist area. I remember seeing one south of Leamington awhile back....sometime in the mid to late '80s I think.

All of a sudden my activities around home seemed like they could wait a few hours, so I quickly packed some snacks and gear and off I went.

As I got closer to the park, I made a conscious effort to keep my eyes peeled to the skies as well as the hydro wires. Once in the park, I stopped at an open area near the tennis courts, in the hopes that the kite would pass by in plain sight. My patience wasn't rewarded (and I wasn't all that patient :-) so I headed farther south. I met Steve Charbonneau, finder of the Kentucky Warbler, at the beach access across from the Visitor Centre. It gives a wide open view, and there were lots of dragonflies buzzing around, which could be good for attracting a kite. When nothing materialized, we checked various other spots we thought might be likely. But wherever the reported kite was, it did not appear where we were.

Steve and I went back to see if the Kentucky Warbler was still singing. In spite of checking the area on two or three occasions over the next few hours, the warbler was not to be heard either by me or by several others who were searching. Maybe it was the increased heat of the day? Maybe it had moved on? Maybe......???

I didn't let the day go to waste even though I struck out on the two target birds.

There were a few raptors and raptor type birds in the sky. Turkey Vultures were abundant, and we even hoped to find a Black Vulture as a consolation.

A sub-adult Bald Eagle flew by.

This immature Red-tailed Hawk soared overhead briefly.

And there were other things with wings.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are fairly common now.

Black Swallowtails are just emerging.

Spicebush Swallowtails are fairly abundant, not surprising since Spicebush itself is abundant.

I noticed my first Painted Skimmer of the season.

Another winged critter is the Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, commonly seen along the sunlit pathways of the forest and adjacent areas. They don't normally let me get close enough with a macro lens to get a shot like this, but they were busy doing what Six-spotted Tiger Beetles do. For what it is worth, Six-spotted Tiger Beetles don't always have six spots.....the number varies considerably.

While checking out the South Point Trail just in case the kite was perched somewhere in sight, I noted this pigeon on the trail that actually was quite tame. A closer look indicated that it was banded, so presumably is a lost racing pigeon.

A pair of Wood Ducks were resting on a rotting log in one of the sloughs.

This Wood Thrush has built its nest surprisingly close to a lot of pedestrian and bicycle traffic. It is in a honeysuckle bush right along Harrison Trail just south of the exit to Tulip Tree Trail. Hundreds of hikers and bikers have passed by within a couple of metres of this nest.

While none of the anticipated rarities showed up for me, I took the time to enjoy one of Rondeau's star visitors of the season.....the White-winged Dove. In the past, it has not been cooperative for the well lit, unobscured views I was hoping for. Either the sky has been bland, or there are branches or leaves in the way, such as this next photo where it was resting and preening in a Sugar Maple. I had to tweak the image more than usual to get this result.
After a few minutes, it started moving around in its territory, providing some of the views I was hoping for.
Within its territory, it has decided to begin nest building! On one occasion it started on the roof of a Toyota Venza, but when the owner took it for a shopping trip, the bird moved its efforts onto the base of the window and hood of this Lincoln!
I wonder what Matthew McConaughey would say about that (for anyone watching US television)!!

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