Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday morning at the Tip of Point Pelee

I'm usually not one to start the morning at the Tip of Point Pelee on a day when there are winds out of the north, let alone on a day when the winds are out of the north and there is a cold misty rain, but Jeremy and I thought that it would still be the best spot to stake out for some Cave Swallow action this morning.

The morning already started great when I left the house in the dark, started up the car, and shined my headlights onto a new yard bird, Saw-whet Owl.  When I got into Point Pelee and met Jeremy at the Tip parking lot there were a lot of passerines around us including Pne Siskins, Purple Finch, Juncos and White-throated Sparrows to name a few.

The Tip still has that island to the south of the main sandspit and today the usual suspects were hanging out there including Herring, Ring-billed, Great Black-backed and Double Crested Cormorants.  Bonaparte's Gulls were really on the move today and looked like they were having fun swirling around wherever the wind took them.  The highlight was when I scanned and saw the bird of the morning, an American White Pelican was coming in off the lake and landed right in the water between the island and the sandspit.  This is the first time I have ever seen a Pelican at the tip. Later it stood up and hung out with the cormorants.

Other than the Pelican, there wasn't much down there.  Just the regular birds you would expect at this time of year.  Unfortunately, we didn't see a single species of swallow. They had better luck near Niagara I hear.

Another Saw-whet Owl that Paul Pratt's group had near the train loop was a neat sighting, and I also had my first American Tree Sparrow for the fall in the Sparrow Field.

Jeremy had to leave at noon to go to a wedding, and seeing how there were so many Red-shouldered Hawks flying around, I decided to go home to see if I can get this bird on my yard list.  I have lived in the new house now for two months, and the Saw-whet Owl this morning made for a total of 71 species.  No Red-shouldered today, but I got Ring-billed Gulls for #72, and surprisingly not 1 but 2 Common Loons flew over the house for #73.  Both birds were about 30 minutes apart and came in from the northwest.

With north winds tomorrow, I might just sit at home in the open field behind the house and just scan the skies for Red-shouldered Hawks, Golden Eagle and Cave Swallows.

On another note, I'm sure every birder in Ontario has their eyes to the weather channels for the next few days.  Looks like the remnants of Hurricane Sandy may pay us a visit.  It will be interesting to see what its course will be in the next few days.


  1. An interesting day Marianne. Must be a Saw-whet day! I always like seeing them.

  2. Hi there. Good to read that your area had a Saw-Whet Owl sighting. This is a bird that I have heard singing away many times in Algonquin Park. I live in Toronto, and this past Friday, my wife and I came upon an adult Saw-Whet Owl out in the bush. This was the first time as birders that we had ever seen a Saw-Whet Owl. Fortunately, we had our camera with us and got some good pictures and video. We have posted them for anyone interested at: