Sunday, 22 May 2016

Point Pelee

After heavy thunderstorms overnight I was hopeful of some new migrants at Point Pelee. So once we reached the tip and found the wind had also swung round to the north-east we headed to the leeward side and sure enough encountered a large group of birders watching an immature male Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

What a stunning bird and although much commoner further south in the USA it’s quite a rarity up here in Canada. Most of the birders were walking along the beach as the sun was hitting the eastern side of the promontory and as we stood close to the tip there were lots of blackbirds, grackles, kingbirds and jays in flocks heading south, with Cliff Swallow and Chimney Swifts mixed in. We did a few circuits of the trails before returning to the beach and this time a cracking male Cerulean Warbler was putting on a show to an admiring crowd. There were also Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Northern Parula and other regularly seen species, but also much appreciated.

We returned to the Visitor Centre for coffee and snacks and whilst sitting in the warm sunshine we got word of a Worm-eating Warbler showing well in Tilden Wood. So we raced across the car park and into the woods only to find we were literally two minutes too late. However after a bit of a wait, during which a Mourning Warbler flew across the path next to us, the biggie was refound and everyone enjoyed stunning views. Surprisingly it was feeding high up in a tree in ‘nuthatch’ fashion. We also got better looks at the Rufous-morph Eastern Screech Owl that was right out in the open at the same roost spot.  

Eastern Screech Owl - rufous morph

From here we birded the Marsh Boardwalk Trail through nice open forest and had nice looks at many regular species including this Common Yellowthroat, whilst I got the briefest of looks at a waterthrush. There was also a flyover American Black Tern, Green Heron, Eastern Wood Pewee and other warblers.

Common Yellowthroat

We went for lunch at Freddy’s restaurant just outside the park entrance and enjoyed a leisurely rest and good meal before heading to the Route 33 wader pools. This time Short-billed Dowitchers were in attendance and feeding close to our cars (what amazing birds), plus a Pectoral Sandpiper was new, as was a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, whilst the Semi-palmated Sandpiper was still there. 

Short-Billed Dowitchers

Leaving here we returned to Point Pelee and Tilden Woods where the Worm-eating Warbler was seen again but this time we well and truly nailed a Mourning Warbler that came into view on a  couple of occasions right in front of us - wow!

This Veery showed well along Tilden Trail

A confiding Chestnut-sided Warbler this afternoon

I loved the early evening light on this Swainson's Thrush

After this we retuned to the motel having had another exciting day, stopping along the way when Julie spotted something in a roadside field so we checked it out and discovered a lovely Northern Harrier on a kill surrounded by a flock of 25 Killdeers.

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