Saturday, November 24, 2012

#304 Cave Swallow!

This morning I arrived at the Tip at about 8:30 hoping that the change in temperature would perhaps get a Cave Swallow on the move. I wasn't disappointed. It ended up being one of the first birds I saw!

As I was walking past the Solar Panel Display on my way to the Tip, I was watching a flock of American Robins flying by and then thought, wait, what is that small thing? I brought my bins up. A SWALLOW! I watched it bank and saw its rump, then its throat, and that's when my heart skipped. Pale, Pale, Pale. Though I certainly wish I would have had a better look (like the one that was within 5 feet of birders at the Tip a week before!), I saw it well enough (LIFER!) and I continued to watch it as it flew against strong west winds almost over the lake, then turned and headed southeast. I hurried to the Tip thinking it might have been hanging around down there out of the wind but never relocated it. This species was my 304th in Ontario this year. Although my Big Year definitely slowed down once I hit 300, I was always hoping to reach 305 so that should be attainable w/ one more month to go (Purple Sandpiper...?). 

I was later joined by Alan Wormington and Richard Carr but none of us stuck around long as there wasn't much activity on the lake. Large numbers of scaups and Redhead off the east side, a couple of Common Loon flyovers, about a dozen distant Tundra Swans, a handful of Bufflehead and Common Goldeneye, 4 Horned Grebes, only 2 Great Black-backed Gulls, and of course, lots of Red-breasted Mergansers.

My view of the Tip this morning.

There was a decent number of raptors flying today on account of the winds including Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, Sharp-shinned, and Cooper's Hawks, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, and Merlin. Reminded me of my time helping out w/ the hawk watch at Holiday Beach Conservation Area this fall. Looking forward to reading the results of the count from there today. Thanks to my good friend, Vee, for somehow managing to memify my love of hawks w/ Jeremy Renner:

I also finally checked out the new sculpture near the entrance of Point Pelee where the old admin building used to be. The artist is Teresa Altiman and the sculpture is of a turtle, symbolizing the Ojibwe legend of Turtle Island. There are four feathers hanging around the turtle that represent the four directions that people travel from to visit Point Pelee.

The sculpture stands upon a rock w/ this inscription:


Blake A. Mann said...

It's about time you checked off Cave Swallow. Congrats!
I never realized the artwork was by Theresa Altiman. She is from Walpole and a very passionate lady.

Marianne Reid-Balkwill said...

I'm so glad you got Cave Swallow. I was starting to worry that you would have to wait until next November!