A few weeks ago, in early February, I had seen a White-winged Dove at Rondeau and a friend of mine (Jeremy Birder) asked me if I had seen the abundant Common Redpolls at the Rondeau Visitor Center. I honestly did not see any... and that bothered me! I recall on that last visit that I had stopped many times as I drove to see small flocks of... wait for it... American Tree Sparrows! So today, I took some time in the morning and went back to Rondeau Park to go birding.
While driving through Tilbury, I saw three or so Red-tailed hawks along the 401. Hundreds of American Crows were seen as well. The road leading to Rondeau had an American Kestrel and Horned Larks. I could hear them singing as I drove! (Note: this was written on Saturday Feb 23rd)
At Rondeau, I stopped by Rick & Anne's Cottage, and they graciously allowed me to view their feeders, which are host to these elusive Common Redpolls I have been seeking. Sadly, just as I arrived, Rick mentioned that a Cooper's Hawk was perched directly above the feeders and spooked the birds that were feeding. I actually saw it buzz around back towards the visitor center. Great! So I waited, and waited. Slowly, after what felt like over an hour, some birds returned. Cardinals, Blue Jays, Tree Sparrows, American Goldfinches, Downy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse (mice?) , White breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wrens, more American Goldfinches... but no Common Redpolls. Just as I was about to give up on seeing them, I saw what I thought might be a House Finch, or perhaps a Purple Finch? No... my elusive nemesis bird ... a single Common Redpoll!
Just two or three of these arctic beauties made themselves observable to me, .... very fleeting looks, this one above stopped in at tree-top level for a second -- then vanished! Definitely not soul-satisfying views.
I attempted to find the Ross's Geese and Snow Geese at Rondeau, but sadly (and I see this more and more) there is no access to the shoreline. Every street that runs up to Rondeau Bay, with the exception of Brock Street in Shrewsbury, is chained off with "Private Property" and No Trespassing signs. I couldn't even salvage a diagnostic photo. Also, I had my scope in my wife's car today ... it wasn't my day to see these
As a chance consolation, Kory Renaud texted me with a Snowy Owl Surprise at some intersection in Essex. Upon arrival, I searched and searched but came up empty. All I had seen was two Horned Larks, and a flock of 20 or so Snow Buntings. Finally, I found the owl after scanning the field for a third time.
|Distant, heavily cropped photo of a Snowy Owl. It is a heavily barred juvenile just left of center. Can you see him?|
|Trumpeter Swan at Lakeview Marina in East Windsor (Lifer! #318!)|
|10 of the 20 or so Bald Eagles at Peche Island in East Windsor|