Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pelee Rappor - Nov 1st - HOT SAUCE !!!

Where the heck do you think you're going? 

Ohhh goody. Strong winds, rain is over... I'll probably see the exact same birds, whilst a Social Flycatcher gets reported in Burlington... (my expectations - not being pessimistic - just realistic)

Lesser Black-backed Gull... hmm... That's different from yesterday...

Hmm... Another Lesser Black-backed Gull...

Hmm.. A Sanderling... Another new bird...

Hmm... two Sanderling...



Oh ma gawd.. What is it?

Sure doesn't look like a Piping.... Legs look dark.. Doesn't look right at all.....

Did that Lesser Sand-Plover fly from Indiana to Pelee?? Could it be???

---- Anyways... Long story short... The darn bird was not cooperative at all. Kept running in and out of view while I fumbled with my camera trying to get some record pics. The scope was shaking badly in 60-70kph winds and I just wasn't sure of what I was looking at. It kinda looked like a Snowy Plover, but dang... Lesser Sand is probably more likely for date/location and I sure haven't seen one of those before...

It flew briefly and I could see white outter tail feathers... Then I couldn't find it anymore... Pretty much all I knew was - it was NOT a Piping Plover...

After 15 minutes of not seeing the bird, I ran back and checked the books... Lesser Sand-Plover has a dark nape and a mostly dark tail. That is NOT right for the white outer tail feathers and pale collar this bird showed. But that's JUST THE RIGHT THING for Snowy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Too bad it's gone... Kinda strange that it looked much darker than the SNPL I have seen in the past (Florida)... Western bird??

***45 minutes later***

IT'S AT THE TIP STILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and here I thought it was gone...)

To heck with this wind and sand! I'm goin for it!

Camera in tow, I walked towards the tip. I had tried this earlier, but the blowing sand was so painful that I couldn't spot the bird (to take photos) once I moved away from the trees at the point. I decided to slowly walk out, and aimed for a small ledge in the sand to try and take some kind of shelter. 5-6 minutes later I had reached my destination - and I hadn't seen the bird once during my walk out. I tried to lay down but was just getting buried in sand... Trying to use my hood as a shield, I squinted forwards searching the gulls for a small pale bird... Imagine my shock when I realized the bird was 25-30ft away - hiding behind the same ledge I was!!!

I tried to raise my camera, but my hood was lashing in front of my face and I couldn't focus on the bird. Removing my hood, I could properly aim the camera - but new problem arose. You might expect sand to get into my ears, perhaps my nose (it did) - but in my EYES as well. My eyecups for my binoculars filled with sand!!!!! Insanity.

It was all worth it:

I think I actually "flushed it" a bit as I moved towards the ridge... Hard to see a sand coloured bird on sand! But it probably resulted in MUCH better photos (close range) than I would have tried for had I known the bird was there... 

What a bird! I did some ebird-searching and found a record from CT in 2004 (found early October, stayed until early November) and a November record from the Carolina's... Pretty much the only two "vagrants" for October/November in the east. What the heck is it doing here?


I stayed with the plover for a good 3 hours (it actually hunkered down in my butt-print from when I photographed it for a good 90 minutes) - until others arrived and I left it in good hands. I was hungry!

The tip was quite active again, although no other "major" highlights... Gosh only knows what I missed flying past while I was freaking out over the Plover... Some things I did see:

"Most Numerous Bird" Award - today and everyday! Although not always seen running... 

Hybrid Herring X Great Black-backed. Probably the same bird I first found here over 10 days ago... 

~35 Bluebirds (in one big flock) spent some time working the tip. No Mountains were found, unlike this discovery in Mich today:
(anyone else have a hankerin for lasagna now?) 

This young Herring Gull made 4+ passes around the tip today, at well spaced intervals. I often think of birds "leaving and never returning" - but this one clearly returned over several hours... 

I somewhat suspect it was "trauma baring" - but this is NOT the right pattern for a juvenile... Perhap its partially leucistic? 

After that I worked the tip trails (actually walked all the way to the Visitors Centre along the east beach) - for 3+ hours... I managed to tally 1 species of Warbler and 1 species of Flycatcher. 

A check of Sturgeon Creek yielded the EXACT SAME Dunlin, Dowitchers and White-rumps. Along with the SAME egret, wigeon, teal etc.... 4 Greater Yellowlegs were new...

This is pretty much a carbon copy of my previous days, minus the plover! All it takes is one bird... 


Or maybe two birds? On route to Wheatley Harbour - this little gaffer caught my eye!

Oh, I know what you are... All white - and standing under a Horse... 

I was pretty excited. Maybe not uber excited. But given the plover, it really sweetened the deal for today... Need more proof that good birds had arrived in the province in the last 24 hours? And don't get me wrong.. Finding a Cattle Egret is very exciting. But this is also the 5th in the past 4 years that I've found... Who knew they were so regular?

Couldn't have picked a better time to get discovered... So exciting! And looks from 30ft away don't hurt either!

By the time I got to Wheatley, some inbred douchebags were driving around on the beach in their jeep and scaring all the geese/gulls... Needless to say, I didn't see anything unusual there... One field north had 1000+ gulls as well but just the regulars. I decided to book it over to Leamington marina - but it was practically empty. Where are those Franklin's Gulls I ordered? 

Meh.. Not that worried about it... Tomorrow is another day!


  1. Pretty sweet! Thanks so much for that Pelee/Ontario bird! So glad the Snowy Plover hung around. Went to try for it around noon and it was gone for about half an hour (flew?) and then it just showed up again. THANK GOD!
    I wonder how long the Cattle Egret has been around the area? I had a Cattle Egret on Tuesday land along the bank of our neighbour's irrigation pond which had a lot of gulls flying around it that day as a farmer was working up the field as well. Later they all got spooked and they flew over the house (not a bad new yard bird). They all flew directly east and were gone. I'm about 7km northwest of where you saw it yesterday. So maybe the same bird? That's when it was colder with northerly winds, so I wonder if it may have been wandering around even before that....?.....

    1. Glad you got it! :)

      Congrats on the sweet yard bird. Not sure if it would be one bird or two! Both theories make sense. I know I drove past that spot previous days and it wasn't present (and was present again yest) - but who knows?!

      Too bad I missed you in the park.. Next time!

  2. Awesome &$%^ing find. I missed that CT bird back in '04 because I was out of the country...missing a one-day wonder isn't so tough but missing a bird that was around for a month wasn't any fun!

  3. Snowy Plover in Nova Scotia three years back = another record in the east:

    1. That September though, rather than October-November...

    2. Yeah.. I've noticed there are a bunch of vagrant records for Aug/Sept! (that one looks like a Hurricane bird as well)... I was on a terrible internet signal at the time and gave up after searching for Nov and Oct! Thanks though! (Looks like there aren't many records for the Atlantic coast from MA north)

  4. Wow, crazy awesome find!!!!!!

  5. Congrats! Would have to imagine that bird originated from the mid-west population. I usually forget that the population even exists. Good stuff! -JP

  6. Some pretty nice shots! It was blustery day at the point Friday. John G.