Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Waiting for the Black Swift. From left to right: Mike Tate, Richard Carr, Alan Wormington, and my mom, Rosemary Reid. Photo by Marianne Balkwill

I love birding, but I HATE waiting for a possible rarity to reappear where it has been spotted the day before. I have done this in the past with success on the first day a rarity is spotted, like when you wait for a Mississippi Kite to fly over the Visitor centre parking lot again in Point Pelee National Park. With a raptor that flies south you KNOW it is going to have to fly back north again when it is in a peninsula. A Black Swift however, that is another story. After seeing a post on Ontbirds yesterday that the bird reappeared the day after the first initial sighting was a shocker for me, as I thought the Black Swift surely flew outta here. Apparently, the Black Swift that was spotted at Long Point last week appeared for two days in a row as well.

Today I had the day off and I promised mom to take her birding. We actually spent most of the day waiting in our lawn chairs for the Black Swift which never flew over the parking lot. We also went into Tilden Woods to stretch our legs from sitting so long. The trails were pretty quiet. We did see a few warbler species including, Magnolia, Wilson's, American Redstart, Canada, Yellow, Common Yellowthroat, Black-throated Green , Black-throated Blue, Nashville, Blackpoll, Ovenbird, Blackburnian, and Tennessee, as well as a cooperative Indigo Bunting, a female Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Swainson's, Grey-cheeked, and Wood Thrush.

After packing it in around 1:00 pm, we went in search of more passerines at Delaurier and walked along Ander's Footpath, as this area would be sheltered from the strong southwest winds. We first stopped at the homestead to snap some photos of Five-lined Skinks, and then walked down Ander's Footpath. Tons of midges, but besides, Eastern Kingbirds, Orioles, Yellow Warblers, a Great Crested Flycatcher, a Least Flycatcher, singing Indigo Bunting and a singing Eastern Towhee, it was pretty quiet.

Juvenile Five-lined Skink hiding in the grass. Photo by Marianne Balkwill

We decided to try our luck at Hillman Marsh, but not without first checking out the young Great Horned Owls. Today was the first time I have really checked out the spot, just south of the main gate at Pelee, where a family of Owls were living. The alarm calls of Red-winged Blackbirds led us to a fledgling sitting on a branch south of the nest hole.

Great Horned Owl fledgling. These little fellows caused many a birder to congest traffic during spring birding season. Photos by Marianne Balkwill

Hillman Marsh shorebird cell was pretty active. We stopped there briefly as it was getting late in the afternoon. We picked out Caspian and Forster's Tern, Least Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin, and amongst the Bonaparte's Gull, I think I had a Little Gull, but then it tucked its head in amongst the Bonis.

My next day off is Sunday. Maybe I'll check out Point Pelee Marsh for the first time, unless there is a wave of passerines in the park. We shall see.


  1. I think you meant one sandspit farther east for the Black Swift. It wasn't sighted at Rondeau, but perhaps it flew right over Rondeau! Could be the same bird from Long Point.