Common Yellowthroat (male). Photo by Marianne Balkwill
I lead three days of birding hikes for the Friends of Point Pelee this May. This year it was the 11th, 12th, 13th, along with a Twilight Hike on the 14th.
The 11th was pretty dismal. All day it rained. Jeremy and I both led hikes. This was Jeremy's first day ever leading a group! He was nervous but I knew, even through the pouring rain, he would have no problems. In the morning the group walked the Tilden Woods Trail. Through the rain we viewed a few birds, but the hike turned into more of a natural history hike than a "birding hike". Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and a male Common Yellowthroat were the only warblers we located. Luckily, Baltimore Orioles and Orchard Orioles were still showing off. There were 3 great spots to stop along the trail as well: A Blue-grey Gnatcatcher nest, a female Wild Turkey on eggs, and a Common Nighthawk conspicuous on a branch. It is amazing that even though we are birding out in the rain people's spirits are still very high...even my own! The other hike started at 1:00pm. This hike ended early due to thunderstorms. Rats.
May 12th was simply amazing! We led two hikes. In the morning we had 3 groups go out and in the afternoon we had two groups. In the morning we went to the Tip, in the afternoon into Tilden Woods Trail. Here is a summary of both:
Morning: Tip Trail
Black-throated Green Warbler
*It was so good within the trails near the tip, we actually never made it to the very tip!
Afternoon: Tilden Woods Trail
Yellow Warbler (including one building a nest)
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (including one on nest)
Wild Turkey (on nest)
Summer Tanger (male)
Scarlet Tanager (male)
Black-throated Green Warbler
May 13th didn't go to plan. Jeremy and I were scheduled to lead our last morning hike together, but thunderstorms told us otherwise. The afternoon hike only had enough for one leader, so I left for the day.
May 14th I celebrated my birthday with working at the winery (yeah?) followed by a Twilight Hike (yeah!). My Mom happened to stop by to give me a birthday card, and then everyone in my group HAD to sing me "Happy Birthday"...lol.
The evening hike was quite productive around the parking lot, but not so much along the DeLaurier Trail itself. There were a lot of swallows flying around so we did some swallow ID (Purple Martin vs. Barn Swallow vs. Bank Swallow) and we saw quite a few species of warbler including tons of Yellow Warblers, Nashville Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warbler. A nice surprise to the group was an Eastern Bluebird right near the Delaurier homestead. Of course, the American Woodcock displayed right on schedule. I always get a thrill out of the American Woodcocks, and so did everyone else in the group.
All in all a shorter experience leading hikes this year than last. Perhaps next year I will be able to do more hikes, or maybe lead my own? We shall see.