One of the highlights this weekend was a LeConte's Sparrow that was spotted at the Sparrow Field in Point Pelee National Park. Photo by Marianne Balkwill.
It has been a while, but I finally had a weekend off. Both Saturday and Sunday I got up at 6:00 am to get out to Point Pelee for some fall migration. I began both mornings at the tip. In the end, both Saturday and Sunday didn't produce any Jaegers or Sabine's Gulls.
On Saturday I birded a while with Steve Pike, Alan Wormington and Richard Carr. We had a pretty awesome morning for land birds. There must have been at least 100 Hermit Thrushes lining the road when you came into the park at dawn. At the Tip there was the usual ducks. A Peregrine Falcon chasing blackbirds, and harassing what seems to be the first real wave of migrating crows, was a treat as well. This was my first Peregrine for the fall. In fact, we had a 3 falcon morning with Peregrine, Merlin and American Kestrel. I also had my first Rough-legged Hawk as well.
Passerine watching was a little bit of a challenge. Lots of birds around, but almost too many to keep track of. In and around Sparrow Field was great with Orange-crowned Warbler, Palm Warbler, lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers, both White-crowned and White-throated Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Purple Finch, Pine Siskins, Blue-headed Vireo, a Brown Thrasher, a Gray Catbird, an American Redstart and a female Indigo Bunting to name a few. Steve even thought he saw a Leconte's Sparrow, but we couldn't get on it.
Delaurier was our next stop. Lots of Sparrows around, and a nice sized flock of Eastern Bluebirds, along with 5 Eastern Meadowlarks, a few Nashville Warblers , a Lincoln's and a Field Sparrow.
Around lunch we went our separate ways. I checked out the rest of the Delaurier Trail, especially the canals for possible Purple Gallinule, as well as at the Marsh Boardwalk. There has been two birds spotted in Ontario this fall thus far, so I am sure one must be out in the Pelee Marsh somewhere. Unfortunately, the marsh covers 3/4 of the park and, unless you have a canoe or kayak, the boardwalk is your only opportunity to see this southern species. No luck, though I did have a single Snow Bunting fly over.
Another spot I routinely check was around the Blue Heron picnic area. Not a bad spot today, with a bird that I would never expect to see in there, an immature Northern Shrike!
The only other place I checked out was down Concession E with 5 Rough-winged Swallows on the wires, and at Wheatley Harbour which, once again, had 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, this time all adult!
On Sunday morning it was straight to the tip again. Southwest winds and a nice movement of Bonaparte's Gulls, but nothing fancy. A Long-tailed Duck, my first Bufflehead for the fall, and a pair of Goldeneye flew by, along with Surf Scoter and a couple of White-winged Scoter. Forster's Terns (2 ?) flew by as well. A flock of Sanderling landed at the Tip.
There were a lot of Monarchs on the move today, and in general it wasn't too bad for butterflies. There were around 120 Monarchs at the tip alone. Other butterfly highlights for me was 3 Commas, 1 Question Mark, 2 Red Admirals and 2 Buckeyes.
The bird of the day was in Sparrow Field when Alan Wormington and I came across a LeConte's Sparrow. Richard Carr came by and had a great look at it too. This is probably the same bird Steve saw on Saturday.
In the afternoon I met up with Aaron, and we did our own exploring in the park. We had a pretty nice walk and stirred up quite a bit of sparrows including, Lincoln's, Song, White-crowned, White-throated, Swamp, Field, and Fox Sparrow. We even found a nice group of Spring Peepers hanging out around Blue Heron picnic shelter for some photos.
One of 6 Spring Peepers hanging out in the sun around the Blue Heron picnic shelter, Point Pelee National Park. Photo by Marianne Balkwill.
An immature Red-headed Woodpecker was the highlight of the afternoon at the Delaurier Parking lot. We met Ross and Sandy Macintosh there as well.
Not a bad weekend of birding, friends, beautiful weather, and spending time with Aaron.