An early departure from Niagara saw us calling in to a great diner in Simcoe for breakfast just as they opened, with a Bald Eagle having already being seen on the drive so far.
Then, with our lunchtime sandwiches from Tim Horton’s and our first Chimney Swifts, we drove with much anticipation to Long Point Bird Observatory and our first day of migrant hunting. Upon arrival, a quick check revealed nothing much of interest in the banding station so we hit the trails and in quick time found Myrtle, Palm, Black-throated Green & Black-and-White Warblers, plus a Warbling Vireo.
We didn’t walk very far but just hung around the same area for quite a while and new birds kept appearing all of the time and we had Purple Martin, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow Warbler, Black-capped Chickadee, Baltimore Oriole, and both White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows.
We walked along the street to the Provincial Park which was closed but saw a flyby American Bittern, as well as American Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow and a few Northern Cardinals. With nothing else on offer we returned to the Obs and checked out the feeders which were attracting Downy Woodpecker, Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Blue Jay, and a couple of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.
Our picnic lunch was consumed a few kilometres back along the road at a picnic site set in some very large trees. An amazing flock of 100+ Cedar Waxwings was feeding here and further scrutiny produced Hermit Thrush, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Carolina and Northern House Wrens, Brown Thrasher, 4+ Warbling Vireo and an Orchard Oriole. Returning to the Obs it was very quiet although from an overlook across the marsh we saw Great Blue and Green Herons, Eastern Phoebe, and yet more Yellow Warblers.
It was now late afternoon and as the skies darkened and rain splattering the windshield we drove the short distance to Port Rowan Wetlands seeing a Belted Kingfisher along the way. The wetlands held a great little area of lagoons, marsh and reeds where Song Sparrows fed along the water’s edge, a flock of 6 Buffleheads displayed, and numerous Tree Swallows flew low overhead.
Best of all was a Virginia Rail that after calling for a while scuttled incredibly close to look at us before walking away across an open area and out of view. Wow!
If that want enough, a Sora Rail was also seen, along with Pied-billed Grebe, Killdeer, and a Beaver… Nice!
Driving between sites today also produced Northern Harrier, Merlin, 2 more Bald Eagles and a Cooper’s Hawk.