Friday, April 8, 2011

Point Pelee Birding in Early April

I got out of work early today, so I figured I would go to Point Pelee and see whats happening bird-wise. In short: Yellow bellied Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe & Brown Creeper were abundant!

My first stop was  ERCA's Hillman Marsh. When I arrived at mid-afternoon the weather was pretty cold, windy and not very good for birding. I noticed the wetland cell had 10+ Great Blue Herons, as well as many common seasonal ducks.

The shorebird cell had thousands of Canada Geese. A few Tree Swallows were flying around. A Greater Yellowlegs was found as well as about 15 Dunlin (let me know if I've mis-identified these shorebirds).

The onion fields. The soil is so rich, so black. You almost want to get out of your car and pick up some soil in your hands. There is an interesting historical connection with these fields and the natural history of the area. I would like to learn more about it. My understanding is that Point Pelee's marsh extended to Hillman marsh but was dyked and drained to create fertile farming fields. I've seen similar onion fields bordering St Clair NWA and Rondeau (at Erieau).

At Point Pelee, I first walked Shuster Trail. I heard Winter Wrens and saw BCCs as well as a few Cardinals. After Shuster Trail, I walked Tildens Trail. Birds seen include: Golden crowned Kinglets (4), Brown Creepers(4), and Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers (6) were pretty easily seen. I heard an Eastern Towhee but was unable to find it.
 Habitat for prothonotary Warblers. Lets hope they hang out a little this spring. Last Spring they did not stay very long at Point Pelee or Rondeau.

Later I walked Woodland Nature Trail and saw more of the same birds. Several more Yellow bellied Sapsuckers (6), Golden Crowned Kinglets (3), Brown Creepers(4) as well as a plethora of blackbirds and Robins. I did not see a Hermit Thrush today. I did not see any early Warblers today either, although I was not really looking for them.

Yet another YBSS. I saw many but did not get great photos of them.

The trail on the west beach side of the tip had many Flickers (4) and Wild Turkey (5). There was a male Turkey showing off his feathers to impress the ladies. Many Eastern Phoebes were around... really they were almost everywhere. I also saw Red breasted Mergansers were seen off west beach.

Some misses today were Hermit Thrushes, Scoters, Common Loons and Grebes. I wonder what this weekends warm front will bring in?

Good birding!

PS: I met the park interpreter Sara today after my walk and she informed me that they new marsh boardwalk will be ready around mid-April (next week). I hope to find some marsh birds in mid to late April.

Some Good Reading

The Essex County Field Naturalists put together a great publication, and the most recent one includes an Annual Point Pelee Bird Report for 2010. (See page 32 for a reference to yours truly)

Point Pelee's May Calendar (right-click, open in New Window)

Did you know Point Pelee and Ojibway Park are on twitter?!/PointPeleeNP!/OjibwayPark

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