Friday, May 17, 2013

Birding the Point Pelee Area

This morning Karl Overman and I crossed the border into Ontario to bird Point Pelee National Park and the surrounding area.  Today was not one of the best days for Pelee but we still managed 20 species of warblers including these three.

The biggest surprise at the park was a flyby Surf Scoter Karl spotted coming in near West Beach.
Black-billed Cuckoo and Mourning Warbler were the other highlights but were heard only.

We moved on to Hillman Marsh where we found a large flock of Black-bellied Plovers and this Whimbrel along with a few hundred Dunlin.

A visit to the Blenheim Sewage Lagoons capped off our day.  There were hundreds of swallows, and a good variety of ducks, but the Wilson's Phalaropes stole the show.  We counted at least five including a few brightly colored females.

The Dunlins were extremely cooperative as well.
All of a sudden nearly all the shorebirds spooked and took off.  We soon discovered the reason, this sharp adult Peregrine Falcon.
Although our species total was a little on the low side for mid-May with 105 species it was a fun day to be out birding in an area I don't visit that often.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Black-tailed Godwit

My brother has been complaining about my neglect of my blog lately so I figured I should post something.  In Late March the Black-tailed Godwit which had showed up at Chincoteague NWR last fall reappeared and was showing much more reliably.  One Saturday morning I was able to drive out and see it along with many other shorebirds.

This sharp American Oystercatcher was hanging out with the Willets and Godwits for most of the time I was there.

The Black-tailed Godwit is the bird on the left in this photo.  The white underwings are the key field mark that separates it from the similar Hudsonian Godwit.

The next two photos show how it was slightly smaller and paler overall than the Marbled Godwits in addition to the black tail.

This trip was a nice way to start off the spring with a Code 4 Eurasian vagrant.  Seeing a few Piping Plovers and a wild pony were really nice highlights as well.  Chincoteague is always a fun place to visit.