Monday, November 19, 2012

Pelee Day 4 - Nov 13, 2012

A loose association of Ken Burrell, Josh Vand and I worked Pelee for one last morning (my last, at least)... We ran into a few others along the way!

Tip watch:

Highlight here was the Red-breasted Mergansers... The previous day, we had a steady flight of birds moving south past the tip (we guessed 15 to 20 thousand).... Little did we know, they must have been landing just beyond our easy vision past the point - because today, they were ALL present at the SAME TIME around the point... It was insanity...

Typical view as the massive flocks re-arranged around the point... 

I'm not sure I've seen anything quite like it before... We had the typical run of ducks here including Gadwall, Pintail, some scoters, mallards etc.. Along with several Common Loons and Horned Grebes... 

Some highlights were another Long-tailed Duck and several flocks of Tundra Swans! One distant flock of Swans contained a small white goose with black wing tips!! Unfortunately they stayed distant, but we could tell without a doubt that it was smaller than your average Snow Goose (Ross's type)... 

The mergies had started to die down, and I just wasn't feelin the waterbirds (cold and windy at the point).. So Ken-tucky and I branched off and went to the visitors centre parking lot to watch for some winter finches and other goodies... We had:

2-3 Evening Grosbeaks
35+ White-winged Crossbills (small groups)
30+ Common Redpolls 
10-ish Pine Siskins
3 Purple Finch
15-ish House Finch
several Eastern Bluebirds
2 House Sparrows (odd fly-overs for the park, although I often see them here in the fall) 

The big hurrah came in the form of 2 CAVE SWALLOWS flying rapidly southwards... We called Josh Vandermeulen, who was still looking for this species on his big year, and he zipped after them towards the tip... Josh called us back soon thereafter with word that he had one sitting on the beach 10 feet in front of him... That got us moving, and I went out for some "point blank" views (and photos) of this obviously stressed out (stupid) bird!

It even flew around for a while, allowing us to test our skills with flight shots! What a beauty! 

I was feeling pretty content at that point (and cold), and decided that even though it wasn't quite noon - that I was going to start my drive home and get prepared for work that awaited me the next day... Although I was soon distracted by a group of parked cars, which were looking at 2 Northern Rough-winged Swallows perched on the deck at sanctuary pond!

The rest of the drive was uneventful, including a few quick stops at hillman and the routinely boring Wheatley Harbour... This was my last hurrah for the 50 days of rare (long over now), and a damn good few days of birding! 

Oh, and I also had a Golden Eagle on the drive home (low and close over the 401!) which I thought was a year bird - until I got home and remembered I had one back on Feb 15th eating a road killed Deer in Niagara... Still a beaut though!

Another look at the insane mass of RBME's that was constantly present at the tip of Pelee.. I took some videos of the insanity, so maybe I'll get them online before too long! What a sight! 

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