Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pelee Birding Circle - still no Snow Bunting!

Originally I had planned to get out birding early today but after waking up very early to do chores around the farm I went back to sleep for a bit and didn't get out until 11am. Oh well.

I started the day behind Pelee Days Inn. Not much changed overnight though there seemed to be less of everything. Fewer Lesser Yellowlegs, only 2 Least Sandpipers found out of the group of 6 that's been hanging out, and definitely fewer Canada Geese. Still a few Pectorals around and Killdeer but I didn't see any Semipalmated Plover this time around. American Golden-Plover outnumbered Black-bellied there today.

Next was lunch. Anyone visiting the Pelee area MUST go to Birdies Perch, located right across from Pelee Wings Nature Shop. They make the best darn vegetarian wrap you could ask for, called the Green Goddess. I've had about 20 of them since moving back to Essex County. The restaurant is currently rated #1 on Trip Advisor: Birdies Perch Trip Advisor.Unfortunately, I believe it's closing at the end of October so we'll have to wait until next spring to enjoy it again but they are going to do wonderful during the month of May. I'm excited to see what business is like there when so many birders are around.

The Onion Fields didn't produce anything of note for me this afternoon unfortunately but things picked up when I visited Hillman Marsh. I had got a text from Marianne saying she had more Snow Buntings flying over her house so I thought Hillman might give me a good clear open sky to see/hear one flying by. No such luck but I did get migrating raptors including 2 Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harrier, Sharpies, Turkey Vultures, and a single American Kestrel. A few Tree Swallows are still around the area and I had a late Nashville Warbler near the visitor centre.

Another highlight along the edge of the Shorebird Cell was a large # of Common Checkered Skipper. My count got up to 67 being as accurate as possible. I didn't continue along the trail past the Shorebird Cell so there may have been more. They were flying up from the ground every few steps I took. I saw more Checkered Skippers today than the combined total in my whole life. I also had a single Gray Hairstreak along this trail, Orange Sulphurs, Common Buckeyes, and one Monarch.

I finished up the day at Wheatley Harbour (after driving around the fields adjacent to Hillman trying to flush up a Snow Bunting from the side of the road...). Not much going on there besides a good number of migrating Bonaparte's Gulls, 7 Great Black-backed Gulls, and a Palm Warbler. I tried for the Nelson's Sparrow reported by Andrew Keaveney a few days ago but couldn't pish out anything interesting from the bushes at the harbour's edge.

Tomorrow, I plan to grab a lawn chair and park my keester on our back porch and wait for a Snow Bunting to fly over to get to 301. I just want that species out of the way!

And on that note, my Big Year has definitely slowed down after hitting 300. I can't do the same level of chasing I was doing earlier in the year to reach my goal so I'm relying on local rarities to bump my # up at this point. I'd love to go to Ottawa to get Barrow's Goldeneye, Western Grebe, and Tufted Duck but that's so implausible right now it's laughable.

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