Friday, December 16, 2016

Scouting for the Pelee Christmas Bird Count

This coming Monday, December 19th, is the Point Pelee CBC.  Jeremy Hatt and I decided to scout our area today which included the onion fields east of County Road 19 up to Wheatley Harbour on the Essex County side. 

We had a few reasons to scout our area today:

1. Count week starts today and we may find something today that might be missed on Monday

2. It's nice to know where those bird feeders are in advance that attract a lot of icterids and sparrows

3. Are we dressed warm enough? (Probably the most important one...It's @##$* cold out!)

Today's temperature, that hovered near -10C, is to be similar to Monday's high, though Monday is supposed to be sunny. Today we had clouds and even some snow.  However, as another blogger has stated, the long range forecast is usually wrong.

Jeremy Hatt posing in his possible wardrobe for this Monday's CBC that will be very useful with the forecasted cold and wind. Will we see Storm Troopers and the Death Star that day?  Anything is possible in Pelee.
We had a few neat species that we may actually miss in our area on Monday.  One of those is Long-tailed Duck, with a female found on the lake with a raft of ducks (that also included a few Canvasback which may be missed as well) from the northeast beach at Hillman Marsh. 

As for Hillman Marsh itself, besides a strip of open water near the south side, the whole marsh is frozen.  It was amongst a big group of Canada Geese and 3 Tundra Swans, we also had 3 Green-winged Teal. If the marsh is completely frozen, we may also miss this species on Monday.

Jeremy Hatt scanning for ducks.  Not too many photos today. Fingers numb.

The highlight this morning was also found at the northeast beach parking lot along the shoreline.  While I was counting ducks Jeremy spotted 2 shorebirds flying in.  Hoping they were Purple Sandpipers, they were in fact Dunlin, which is still a great bird that may be missed on Monday. 

A zoomed in photo of Dunlin that Jeremy took with his phone and binoculars.  He did a way better job than I could ever do taking a photo the same way!
Arriving at Wheatley Harbour near noon the only bird of note was an American Coot. Not the greatest time of day to visit Wheatley Harbour for gulls but it couldn't be helped. There were also a few other spots that we missed, but those areas required getting out of the car and walking.  Today's scout was just a drive around our area before we went to work for our Christmas lunch, which was excellent!

Merry CBCing everyone!

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