Sunday, May 10, 2009

Point Pelee and Rondeau 2009

I twittered the experience, which was an interesting exercise. I'm likely to do the same this coming weekend, when the Family Birding Extravaganza comes around again. But we are now back from our annual trip to Point Pelee and Rondeau, and I have lots to report.

First of all, the lifer: I can now confidently add Cerulean Warbler (Dendroica cerulea) to my life list, as I saw a male not once but twice, in two different parks, on this trip. In fact, we saw the most warblers we have ever seen, including a Blue-Winged Warbler (Vermivora pinus) and a couple of wonderful looks at a Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea), always lovely. The warblers were everywhere. So, despite my initial concern at their seeming absence, were the thrushes -- Wood, Hermit and Swainson's, not to mention Veerys and ubiquitous American Robins. The Solitary (or Blue-Headed, depending on who you talk to) Vireos were always somewhere to be seen, and they're one of my favourites. There were Northern Orioles and Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks every time we turned around. There were swallows (every conceivable species except Cliff) and grackles. There were all sorts of woodpeckers, although the most glaring hole on our list was the missing Hairy Woodpecker -- there was not one to be seen.

There were a couple awesome looks at Wild Turkeys, including a big, beautiful (or so ugly, yet regal, that he was beautiful) male walking leisurely by the road at Point Pelee. We also had a chance sighting of a flock of Sandhill Cranes coming in to land while we were at the point. I'm sure it was my imagination, but they looked tired to me. That's a lot of gangly leg and neck to hold aloft across a Great Lake.

We had a really, really lovely trip. I'm very tired now, with a serious case of warbler neck from staring up into the canopy and snapping my head around everytime something flicked in the corner of my eye. My problem here is going to be that this year's trip is going to be hard to top, with our highest-ever total of 114 species for the four days. Luckily we didn't see the Yellow-Breasted Chat reported to be in a couple of the areas we were hiking in, which means he can be my target species for next year...

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