Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Birding thus far

Here we are just entering fall. Though, I guess if you are a birder, fall started already in July with the migration of shorebirds, followed by August and September with warblers, vireos, flycatchers and migrating raptors. While this is all going down there are butterflies to be found as well.

Unfortunately, this "fall" I haven't had a chance to get out too often. I had a few hours in between jobs to look for Horrace's Dusky-wing, but to no avail. I did have an Osprey in mid August at Muddy Creek in Wheatley, which I am guessing was a migrant. Shorebirds in the immediate area seem to be a disaster this year. Unless you are out in the Pelee marsh, there is next to nothing for shorebird habitat. I have checked out the onion fields a few times for Upland and Buff-breasted Sandpiper, but only ever came up with Killdeer. I did get word this week that the Hillman Shorebird cell is being flooded again. Wish this happened already 2 months ago.

I had a few highlights this fall. I have already lead a couple of guided hikes for Birdingpal Tours. One was for a lovely lady from Germany, and the other was for a couple from Scotland. By leading tours I did get a great chance to see most of our common fall migrating warblers and vireos, and even got a lifer Bald Eagle and raccoon for the couple from Scotland which always makes me feel good as a guide. Another big highlight was the OFO convention on the 17th and 18th of September. On the Saturday I got to go birding with Jeremy, his friend Mark, and Blake Mann. We didn't participate in any of the field trips but instead went out on our own to see if we could add any species to the weekend compilation. We came up with White-crowned Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Great Crested Flycatcher, and Mike and I heard a Carolina Wren. It was cloudy for the majority of the day, but when the sun came out we walked the west beach and had Buckeyes, Grey Hairstreaks, Common Checkered Skippers, quite a few Fiery Skippers, and Black Saddlebags.

This past Saturday I had off so I spent the morning in Point Pelee. There were southwest winds for the first 10 minutes I was down at the tip before it switched to the south. There was not much going on except for a nice kettle of 12 Sharp-shinned Hawks, and a Lesser-black Backed Gull at the tip. A Merlin also took a passerine out of the sky which is always dramatic! No signs of Jaegers or Sabine's Gull which was what I was hoping for. In fact, I'm not sure if anyone has seen any Jaegers or Sabines this fall at the tip.

I also got a chance to go out after work on Tuesday September 27th before we got some rain showers. I walked the west beach in Pelee. It was VERY quiet for passerines. Highlights were a House Wren and a quick glimpse of what was either a Lincoln's or a Song Sparrow. A lot of raptors were showing nice and low including an Osprey, Bald Eagles (3), a Cooper's Hawk, a Red-tailed Hawk, and the ever present Sharpies and Broad-wings. Butterfly highlights included only 3 Fiery Skippers, one Giant Swallowtail, one Eastern Tailed Blue and the brightest Question Mark I have ever seen!..of course I didn't have my camera!

It has been rather quiet in the way of migrants this week. I think once the temperature takes its first dramatic dive, it will get very very interesting!

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