Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Few FOY Birds in the Pelee Area

Another warm push of air from the south brought in some new migrants. I went out both Saturday and Sunday morning before we were supposed to get that so called "wash out weekend" they were predicting.  I didn't bring my camera with me because it sounded like a hell of a lot of rain was going to fall, so this post is pretty lacking in photos.

Saturday morning I hung out for a couple of hours at the Hillman shorebird cell.  Lots of ducks were in the cell, as well as in the section of the marsh just northeast of the shelter.  FOY birds for me included 5 Blue-winged Teal, a brief staying Dunlin and 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, 3 Tree Swallows and a few American Coots. Pretty much all of the expected ducks were present with Green-winged Teal being the most common with easily over 100 individuals.  It was really nice just being there by myself, and the ducks got pretty close. I witnessed the drama unfold as a male Gadwall tried to protect his mate from 5 other males.  It got pretty aggressive in that he would actually sit on top of her then repeatedly launched himself off of her going after multiple males.  Eventually she took off with all of them in hot pursuit. When it began to rain a bit I made my way for home.

Sunday morning had rain on the radar, so I left my camera at home again. I decided to head out to Pelee. I decided to park at Pioneer Picnic area, make my way down to Black Willow, and up to Dunes and back.  Walking to the lake from Pioneer I noticed 5 Common Loons flying overhead. Altogether I had 17 Common Loons (FOY), and 33 Horned Grebes (FOY) of different plumages. Both these species were clearly on the move. I was hoping with east winds the west side of the lake would be great for viewing ducks, unfortunately it was pretty empty overall with a few Scaups, Common Mergansers, a couple of Bufflehead and a Surf Scoter. Tree Swallows were a plenty with 15 birds total coming in off the lake.  Also had my FOY Eastern Phoebe on the beach which is always such a great site in early spring.

Walking down to Black Willow I had a FOY Fox Sparrow.  Golden-crowned Kinglets and Brown Creepers were probably the most common species encountered.  Walking up to Sleepy Hollow along the seasonal trail I flushed and American Woodcock. Another Eastern Phoebe greeted me in the Sleepy Hollow parking lot along with a FOY Field Sparrow at the beach that was hanging out with 3 American Tree Sparrows and a Song Sparrow. Near Dunes along the bike trail a 3rd Eastern Phoebe greeted me, while Golden-crowned Kinglets teased me knowing I didn't have a camera by coming within an arms length from me....the cute little jerks...lol

One thing that I have noticed the past few times I have been at Pelee is the amount of car traffic.  Maybe it is because I'm usually out on the weekends now, or maybe it is because of the free admission to all National Parks this year? Makes me wonder what it is going to be like here in May?  I think I'm going to go with my usual strategy by avoiding the crowds at the Tip altogether and bird the north end of the park this spring.

When I got home I did manage to get one photo for this blog post when I went birding in my yard.....not a happy photo I am afraid.



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