Saturday, August 27, 2011

Black billed Cuckoo, just by chance!

I woke up early today and did the typical Tilbury/ Hillman Marsh/ Point Pelee circuit with little to show for it!
Its hard to beleive that last year at about this time, I saw my 200th bird, the Solitary Sandpiper. I've painstakingly added 78 more species since then... will I make it to 300? :^)

Tilbury - As Blake mentioned, the shorebird cell is almost completely dry, just a few square meters of water left, concentrating the few shorebirds to a small area near the dyke road. Nothing new or noteworthy. Long billed Dowitchers, Solitary Sandpipers, Least and Stilt Sandpipers with two species of Plover.  I noted several Horned Larks (with Killdeers) on the gravel roadway as well.

Hillman Marsh - Many Egrets, GB Herons, Green Herons, Belted Kingfishers, were around. No surprises or rarities seen. A Common Yellowthroat and a Marsh Wren were making noise in a Phragmites thicket near the wetland cell.

Point Pelee's Marsh - I kayaked Point Pelee's Marsh and saw all the same birds as last week. Black bellied Plover (no Golden Plover yet!), Short billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper were seen. West Cranberry Pond had an assortment of gulls, shorebirds as well as hundreds of Cormorants were seen. Two raptors seen in the marsh were a distant Northern Harrier and a Juvi Bald Eagle which flew almost 20m over my head. Pretty cool but not shocking... . I wanted to bird other parts of Pelee, possibly to find a rare flycatcher (yellow bellied or olive sided would be lifers) but as usual, I ran out of time. 

I spotted a spotless spotted sandpiper. The baring on its back is diagnostic for juvi's.
The highlight of the day was driving through the onion fields and noticing my friend Rick from Leamington. We drove by each other and then Rick did a three point turn. We pulled up to each other and talked a little about life and work. As we spoke, I noticed a large, skulking bird with an oddly horizontal posture. Black billed Cuckoo, photographed from my car. Notice the red eye ring and long tail extending below the branch!

Next weekend, I would like to check out Holiday Beach for warblers and possibly a trip to Pointe Mouillee in Michigan for some shorebirds. Last years trip netted 10 lifers... Buff breasted Sandpipers and Marbled Godwits to name a few.

Good birding,


  1. I arrived at Tilbury quite early. On the way home I stopped again, and I was about to leave, noticed dowitchers on the little island in the big pond. Almost missed them! They have moved to deeper water!
    Met Rick at the Hillman bridge and he mentioned the cuckoo.

  2. What fun! We were tempted to hit PPNP yesterday but had too much on our TO DO lists. Rats.



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