Great Egret

Great Egret

Thursday, 6 April 2017

More early bird action

It is that up and down weather so typical of spring. Sunny and mild one day; blustery with cold rain and even snow the next. Nevertheless, birds are attempting to move north as evidenced by some of the latest findings.

A couple of trips to the Rondeau Provincial Park area in the past few days has been worthwhile. Sparrows are a typical early season migrant, and there has been no shortage of them. There have been lots of Chipping Sparrows....

 ....I got my first Savannah Sparrow of the spring.
 ....Song Sparrows are everywhere.
 ....I had at least 4 Vesper Sparrows on one occasion.
I also got my first Swamp Sparrow of the spring, although no photo as it scurried amongst the branches and fallen logs in a slough. There are still lots of American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos present, and an occasional White-throated Sparrow has shown up.

The sloughs are also good for Rusty Blackbirds, although I haven't seen hordes of them yet. Hopefully there are more to come. It is a declining species in Ontario, but not officially At Risk yet.
There have been lots of Golden-crowned Kinglets, although in their continuous active search for food, it is hard to get them in focus long enough for a photo. At least the cooler weather has kept them down low.
 Eastern Phoebes can be seen throughout....sometimes along the forested edges of Lakeshore Road, and other times deep in the forest playing hide-and-seek amongst the trees. They will be nesting very shortly, if they haven't started already.
 There has been an occasional Yellow-bellied Sapsucker noted over the winter, hanging out at the north end of the park. This is the first one I have seen in the forest, so a spring migrant.
On one of my trips around the Spicebush Trail, I had 5 species of woodpecker, missing only Red-headed. There haven't been any spring arrivals of Red-headeds yet that I am aware of, although there has been an occasional one overwinter somewhere in the extreme southwest. Hairy Woodpecker is not as commonly seen as it used to be, and photo ops are even fewer in my experience. This one cooperated for me for a few seconds.
Hairy Woodpecker
Killdeer have been back for awhile now, and their nesting season has begun. One of the adults is usually pretty close to the nest, especially during this cold wet weather. They aren't incubating yet....that won't likely start until the third of four eggs is laid.

Killdeer nest

Some of the park's other wildlife provided photo ops in my travels, including this larva of some insect which was resting on the top rail of one of the boardwalks. I don't expect it to get much older given the exposure and wet weather.

Sandhill Cranes are a normal occurrence these days, which is nice compared to the rarity that they were a couple of decades ago. The first nesting record for the Rondeau area occurred about 15 years ago, and there are probably 2-3 pairs that nest annually now. It might have nested historically, but probably at least a century or more ago and was never recorded to my knowledge. This pair was apparently gleaning residue from a nearby soyabean field just outside the park.
The weekend looks promising, and the camping season at Rondeau begins tomorrow (Apr 7).


  1. Looks like good weather on the weekend for a change. Terrible weather during the week!

    1. Yes...clear skies and warmer sunny conditions should get some birds moving.