Windsor Area

Point Pelee and
St. Clair National Wildlife AreaTop

September 30 2023 (Saturday) Pelee Island

Leader: Martin Parker, Kathy Parker.

Fall Pelee Island Trip Report The participants of the late September OFO outing to Pelee Island enjoyed a weekend with warm lake breezes, sunny skies and many memorable memories including flight of American White Pelicans daily, numerous Sharp-shinned Hawks, including two mobbing a Merlin, fly-bys by Bald Eagles, and migrating Rusty Blackbirds. At the Pelee Island Bird Observatory they witnessed the banding of several birds including a noisy Winter Wren and a Swainson?s Thrush. Saturday evening ended with two Great Horned Owls serenading the participants to sleep. Besides birds other island specialties were observed including Fox Snakes, Giant Swallowtail, Hackberry, Tawny Emperor and Buckeye butterflies. Sunrise and sunsets over Lake Erie were the subject of many photos. The return ferry crossing was memorable as the ferry was diverted to assist in rescuing sailors from a vessel which struck a reef.

April 2 2023 (Sunday) Point Pelee

Leader: Diane Naluzny.

Sunday was a typical spring day for Southwestern Ontario and 15 birders took advantage of the sunny day; however the cold wind was challenging at times for some. The day mainly involved a pleasant walk in Point Pelee National Park - starting with a walk around the Visitors Centre, looking out into Lake Erie down at the point, with time spent in the Sparrow Fields and finishing at the Marsh Boardwalk. After 6 hours, the total number of species seen by the group was 45. Full species list (thanks to Diane Zeng) is in the eBird list here: []( Overall, it was a rewarding outing with a great group of people.

September 15 2019 (Sunday) Point Pelee National Park

Leader: Jeremy Hatt.

10 participants joined the OFO hike at Point Pelee National Park and surrounding area today. We finished w/ a total of 48 species but most of our time was spent searching for shorebirds and waterbirds so we ended w/ low numbers of passerines. The temperature was warm throughout the day and mostly cloudy w/ light south winds and a few light rain showers in the late morning and early afternoon. At the Tip, highlights included a hybrid Great Black-backed x Herring Gull, a few Merlins giving close looks including one harassing a Sharp-shinned Hawk, and a couple of somewhat late Eastern Kingbirds flying south off the Tip. In the late morning, Paul Gosselin reported that the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck had returned to Sturgeon Creek Marina so we carpooled to see this rarity that has been lingering in the area for quite some time. Everyone enjoyed incredible looks at the duck, which was a lifer or new Ontario bird for most of the group. Thanks to Paul Gosselin for the report. Our next stop was at southeast Hillman Marsh (East Beach road access) to try for the Neotropic Cormorant found Friday. We didn't find the cormorant but we did see an assortment of shorebirds including Semipalmated Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper, and Spotted Sandpiper. Surprisingly there were no shorebirds at the Mersea 21 flooded field north of Hillman Marsh. Our final stop was Wheatley Harbour where the highlight was an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull on the break wall. Many thanks to all the participants who attended and special thanks to Sarah Rupert for her early morning help prior to the outing. Jeremy Hatt

April 6 2019 (Saturday) Point Pelee Photography

Leader: Jeremy Bensette.

This past Saturday, April 6 2019, twelve birders from across southwestern Ontario joined me for a very successful full-day outing in the Point Pelee area! We totalled 70 bird species between 7:30 am and about 5 pm in very comfortable sunny weather. Such nice weather that I now have a sun burn! I appreciate the great turnout, especially to those who came from a few hours away for the outing. Below is a summary of the day. We started at 7:30 am at Mersea Park at the intersection of Point Pelee Drive and Mersea Rd C where we spotted a small assortment of diving ducks and Horned Grebes on Lake Erie. eBird checklist link for [Mersea Park and Point Pelee Drive]( We then ventured into Point Pelee National Park, stopping at a couple patches of savannah habitat in the park to enjoy a few Eastern Bluebirds, singing Field Sparrows and Carolina Wrens, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. At The Tip we studied thousands of diving ducks including great views of Surf and White-winged Scoters. From there we stopped briefly at the DeLaurier Homestead parking area and then walked the Boardwalk that had been partially rebuilt this spring. eBird checklist link for [Point Pelee National Park]( After lunch we made our way to Hillman Marsh Conservation Area where we built up quite the list of dabbling ducks as well as Pectoral Sandpipers, Dunlin, and a Forster's Tern. eBird checklist link for [Hillman Marsh]( If anyone who came along would like a copy of the group photo from the beginning of the day please contact me privately. Again, thanks so much to everyone who came out. You all added to a great day, and I look forward to crossing paths with you again this spring!

September 16 2018 (Sunday) Point Pelee National Park

Leader: Jeremy Hatt.

20 participants braved mid-July temperatures on Sunday, Sept. 16th for the OFO hike at Point Pelee National Park, the onion fields, and Wheatley Harbour. It was a hot day with light east winds and clear skies, which made finding birds a challenge. We ended the day with 52 species. Highlights from the morning at Point Pelee included 4 Sanderlings at the Tip area, a good Sharp-shinned Hawk flight with the odd Merlin, American Kestrel, and Broad-winged Hawk mixed in, and a couple pockets of migrants at the Tip and on Red Bud Trail including Red-breasted Nuthatch, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Purple Finch. We only ended up with 6 species of warbler: Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, and Black-throated Green Warbler. We only saw a few Monarchs at the Tip. The Onion Fields north of Point Pelee unfortunately didn't have many shorebirds and the heat haze made for difficult viewing but 3 Wilson's Snipe within the Pelee marsh at the east end of Mersea Rd E was a highlight. We finished the afternoon at Wheatley Harbour. There we had our best bird of the day, a very early female Long-tailed Duck in the inner harbour. The harbour also provided a good chance for close study of terns and gulls.

April 15 2017 (Saturday) Point Pelee National Park

Leader: Ellen Smout.

On Saturday April 15, 7 great birders joined me for the OFO trip to Point Pelee NP. Highlights include Rusty Blackbirds, Rough-legged Hawk, Merlin, numerous Hermit Thrush, 8 Sparrow species, Eastern Towhee, Brown Thrasher and 36 American Avocet (!). When the sun came out at lunchtime the butterflies came out in droves. As many wildflowers were blooming it was a beautiful spring scene. At DeLaurier we had a Spring Azure which seems early, but not sure of their early dates. A special thanks to Deb Ware for the hot coffee and fresh muffins! Also a shout out to Mike Vermue who tallied the list at Hillman and Caroline Biel who recorded our species in the Park. All of our lists for the day can be found in eBird. To all who came out my heartfelt thanks for a great day of birding and company. It was a pleasure to meet new birders and to see familiar birders again.

May 6 2016 (Friday) Pelee Island (three days)

Leader: Kathy Parker, Martin Parker.

The 24 participants of the OFO May 6 to 9 weekend outing to Pelee Island under the leadership of Martin & Kathy Parker observed a total of 123 species of birds even through north winds persisted and it was a slow migration. The highlights include - American White Pelicans - roosting on western end of Middle Island (viewed with scopes) - American Avocet (7) - landed in front of the group at the tip on Sunday a.m. then flew off. Photos were taken. - Bald Eagle - pair doing spiral earthwards with clutched talons at least 6 six - Black-bellied Plovers - on Sunday several flocks totally over 300+ individuals - Whip-poor-will - one calling on Sunday night - 4 species of Vireos - 22 species of Warblers including Golden-winged, Northern Parula, Tennessee, Hooded, Cape May - One participant reported an early Connecticut Warbler Participants enjoyed swarming warblers at the Lighthouse Point on Saturday afternoon as many species kept parading by stationary observers providing excellent viewing opportunities. Good food and social time enjoyed by all as well.

April 16 2016 (Saturday) Point Pelee National Park Spring

Leader: Ellen Smout.

19 Participants joined me for a beautiful day yesterday. There was an abundance of birds in the Park with very high numbers of Brown Creepers and both species of Kinglets. Many participants noted that they have never seen so many Brown Creepers and Kinglets! Also abundant were Sparrows and Juncos. Highlights include - 4 Sandhill Cranes doing a calling flyover so we wouldn't miss them - Eastern Meadowlark (happily a lifer for one person) - Posing Savannah Sparrows - Incredible views of Pine Warblers - Rusty Blackbirds calling and showing in both Tilden's and the Woodland Nature Trail - 2 Garter Snakes - Lots of butterflies, including Red Admiral, Comma & Painted Lady - Mink on the boardwalk for the last few of us that met there. Numerous wildflowers are in bloom including, Spring Beauty, Dutchman's Breeches and Bloodroot. The Spicebush is starting to show yellow blooms and there is very high water on most sloughs. We started at 8 am and finished around 4. We tallied 66 species and I clocked 11.1 km on my fitbit! The full list is below and in eBird. Special shout out to Mike Vermue for keeping the list, Deb Ware for the coffee and muffins to start our day, Gord Cameron for his great finds, and Jeremy Bensette for pointing out a spectacular male Pine Warbler to the group. Thank you to all those who turned out, it was a fun day in the company of great birders. - Canada Goose - Wood Duck - American Wigeon - Mallard - Blue-winged Teal - Northern Shoveler - Ring-necked Duck - Greater Scaup - Bufflehead - Red-breasted Merganser - Wild Turkey - Pied-billed Grebe - Horned Grebe - Double-crested Cormorant - Great Blue Heron - Osprey - Northern Harrier - Sharp-shinned Hawk - Cooper's Hawk - Red-tailed Hawk - Virginia Rail - American Coot - Sandhill Crane - Killdeer - Bonaparte's Gull - Ring-billed Gull - Herring Gull - Great Black-backed Gull - Mourning Dove - Belted Kingfisher - Red-bellied Woodpecker - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Downy Woodpecker - Northern Flicker - American Kestrel - Eastern Phoebe - Blue Jay - American Crow - Tree Swallow - Barn Swallow - White-breasted Nuthatch - Brown Creeper - Winter Wren - Golden-crowned Kinglet - Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Hermit Thrush - American Robin - Brown Thrasher - European Starling - Pine Warbler - Yellow-rumped Warbler - American Tree Sparrow - Chipping Sparrow - Field Sparrow - Dark-eyed Junco - Savannah Sparrow - Song Sparrow, - Lincoln's Sparrow - Swamp Sparrow - Northern Cardinal - Red-winged Blackbird - Eastern Meadowlark - Rusty Blackbird - Common Grackle - Brown-headed Cowbird

October 24 2015 (Saturday) Point Pelee National Park

Leader: Ellen Smout.

6 hardy birders joined me for the Pelee fall trip. Rain stopped after about an hour or so and after that the weather was interesting as the warm front from the south was replaced by rain and a cold front coming in from the west. A few hawks flew after the rain stopped. 40 species were seen with the following highlights: - Thousands of Red breasted Mergansers off the tip, amazing. - Gray Catbird skulking in a Juniper tree - Purple Finch sitting on top of a the same Juniper tree - Good numbers of Common Loons migrating - More Robins than one would normally see in the spring. - Peregrine Falcon sitting in a tree. Thanks to all who came along, it was a very enjoyable day.

September 20 2015 (Sunday) Point Pelee National Park

Leader: Jeremy Bensette.

Yesterday eleven eager Ontario birders braved the beautiful weather and perfect birding conditions in Point Pelee National Park (southeast of Leamington, Essex County) and surrounding area in search of birds. The day began with a trip to The Tip and Sparrow Field, followed by some hawk watching, a tour of the Onion Fields, and a visit to Hillman Marsh. We were not disappointed and tallied a total of 86 bird species! Of these, we identified 19 warbler species, 10 raptor species, and 4 shorebird species (thanks to one random not-so-shorebirdy-looking field!). Highlights included a brief but exciting encounter with a Cerulean Warbler on the west side of The Tip area, a couple of high-flying Peregrine Falcons and quite a few Bald Eagles while hawk watching, and what was left of last night's massive Monarch roost, also in The Tip area. If any participants would like a copy of the day's bird lists by location, feel free to email me and I can send links to the ebird lists (for non-users of ebird) or share them with your ebird account.

April 18 2015 (Saturday) Point Pelee National Park

Leader: Ellen Smout.

Eighteen Birders enjoyed the gorgeous Spring day at Point Pelee yesterday, tallying 48 species of birds. A high of 19C was noted at 2pm. Highlights include incredible looks at Piping Plover(!) at the tip, Louisiana Waterthrush and Rusty Blackbirds on the Woodland Nature Trail, singing male Pine Warbler at the Sparrow Fields and fleeting glimpses of the Henslows Sparrow at the Serengeti Tree. The sun and warmth brought out lots of butterflies with 5 species seen in total. Green Darners were noted a couple of times during the day as well. My heartfelt thanks to all who came out and made the day really great. A special shout out of thanks to Mike Tate who alerted the mailing list about the Plover and who stayed at the scene until we arrived. It was a life bird for some of the participants and a really special sighting.

September 21 2014 (Sunday) Point Pelee National Park

Leader: Brian Hobbs.

The trip was very successful especially as I started out in the rain and by the time I got to Pelee there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The wind was very high from the south west and it curtailed any walking on that side of the point.

There were 10 of us braving the wind though it was a warm wind. We were well represented from Detroit, Toronto, London, Guelph and Windsor.

The point had the usual gulls plus some Common Terns but we could not fined any Sabines or Jaegers. A few brave swifts , goldfinches, and Cedar Waxwings tried to fight the wind and gave up.

We tried the "Sparrow Field" and for the third time one tree held all the warblers: Wilsons, Yellow-rumped, American Redstart, Nashville and Magnolia. It was kind of fun as we had a couple of photographers with us and they could take pictures of the birds flittering around. We identified some from the pictures.

The woods were dead so we tried the Marsh Boardwalk to no avail and headed to Seacliffe Drive to pick up the couple of Eurasian Doves that were hanging around the school.

All totaled we had 36 species included Egrets we saw from the bridge at Hillman Marsh.

April 19 2014 (Saturday) Point Pelee National Park Spring

Leader: Ellen Smout.

Yesterday, April 19, 2014, 18 birders joined the OFO April Point Pelee Birding trip. The participants were from London, Toronto, Kitchener, Sarnia, Windsor area and Gravenhurst. It was a beautiful sunny day with winds out of the east.

We birded the following areas

  • Blue Heron/Marsh Boardwalk
  • DeLaurier Woodland Nature Trail
  • Tilden's Woods/Centennial Trail

Highlights of the day included

  • Stunning views of Bluebirds at DeLaurier foraging in the sunshine
  • Low overhead flight of a lone Sandhill Crane
  • The Louisiana Waterthrush Show in Woodland Trail
  • 2 Cruise-by's of Black Vulture
  • Quick glimpse of a Yellow Throated Warbler
  • Cattails that had 3 different sparrows pop out if it in rapid succession, Song, Lincoln and Swamp

There were quite a number of picture perfect Red Admirals (~20) seen during the day with the most seen in the afternoon in Tilden's. One Comma butterfly was also noted.

A 5-lined Skink was seen sunning beside the pop machine behind the VC. The best reptile sighting was in Tilden's Woods where we saw, what was identified as a Ribbon Snake by one of our participants, consuming an American Toad!

My heartfelt thanks to all who joined the trip for their camaraderie, knowledge and sharp eyes, you made it a great day.

October 3 2010 (Sunday) Point Pelee National Park

Leader: Marianne Reid.

About 15 birders arrived to the southernmost point in Canada for a little bit of fall birding in the morning and into the early afternoon in Point Pelee National Park.

Despite strong winds and a constant drizzle of rain, 65 species were located at the Tip, around the visitor centre, the Delaurier Trail, and at the Northwest Beach parking lot. With the strong northeast winds all day, areas that were sheltered seemed to be the most productive.

A Few Highlights:

At the tip there was a lone Sanderling along with a few warbler species within the surrounding trails including Orange‐crowned Warbler and Wilson’s Warbler. Both Gray‐cheeked, Swainson’s and Hermit Thrushes were seen. A Northern Harrier was flying low way out over the lake as well.

The skies around the visitor centre parking lot produced a few raptors, including Bald Eagle, Sharp‐shinned Hawk, and Broad‐winged Hawk.

On the Delaurier Trail we located a female Black‐throated Blue Warbler, and a Nashville Warbler, while around the parking lot there were many White‐throated and White‐crowned Sparrows, along with a single Palm Warbler.

At the Northwest Beach Parking lot a Peregrine Falcon came into view, and we picked up a couple more sparrow species including Savannah Sparrow and Chipping Sparrow. A pair of Horned Grebes were spotted on the lake.

I think everyone agreed we had to work for our birds today, good job everyone!

September 11 (Saturday) Ottawa (all day to 5 pm)

Leader: Jeff Skevington.

About 25 of us had a pleasant day birding in the west end of Ottawa. We started at Mud Lake (Britannia) at 7:30 am and worked west to Andrew Hayden Park, Shirley’s Bay, Constance Creek and finally Carp Ridge. We recorded 85 species. The highlight was our first stop at Mud Lake where we had an excellent warbler flock (most of the 16 warbler species that we saw today were there). Estimated warbler numbers for the day were: Tennessee Warbler 4, Nashville Warbler 3, Northern Parula 7, Chestnut‐sided Warbler 3, Magnolia Warbler 4, Yellow‐rumped Warbler 140, Black‐throated Green Warbler 35, Blackburnian Warbler 2, Pine Warbler 1, Palm Warbler 1,Bay‐breasted Warbler 2, Blackpoll Warbler 30, Black‐and‐white Warbler 4, American Redstart 1,Common Yellowthroat 1, and Wilson's Warbler 1. Non‐warbler highlights here included 2 Black‐crowned Night‐Herons and 1 Rusty Blackbird.

There were very few shorebirds around. 8 Sanderling at Andrew Hayden Park were the only species of interest. The only other bird there of note was a single Bonaparte’s Gull.

Shirley’s Bay was quiet with the only highlights being Scarlet Tanager and 15 Great Egrets. The melanistic chipmunk put on a show for everyone though.

Further west we saw 7 Eastern Bluebirds along the 6th Line, 10 Common Common Moorhens at Constance Creek (at Thomas Dolan Road) and 7 Purple Finches and 3 Field Sparrows at Carp Ridge (off Thomas Dolan).

27 September 2009 Point Pelee National Park

Leader: Ross Mackintosh.

A small working group (16 max) turned up 45 species within Point Pelee Park this morning and early afternoon. Participants were from Ottawa, Vineland (recently moved from Oregon), Toronto, Hamilton, Ajax, and local birders.

The highlight was an unexpected Piping Plover that joined our group, accompanied by a Sanderling, for our walk along the East side of the Tip. The Plover provided tremendous scope close‐ups and many photos. It was still present at 3:30 pm.

Tip Area: The early NW winds brought lots of Sharp‐shinned Hawks and Blue Jays. We were also treated to hundreds of Monarchs; we estimated a steady stream of 3–4 a minute for most of the morning. Four Gull species, Red‐breasted Merganser, Caspian Tern, and Double‐crested Cormorant were seen at the Tip. We had good looks at Merlins (1 perched briefly), a Peregrine Falcon, Northern Harriers, and a Bald Eagle. A possible Alder Flycatcher was one of the few small birds that dared sit in the open. Eastern Phoebe, Carolina Wren, Ruby‐crowned Kinglet, White‐throated Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Red‐winged Blackbird, Cape May, American Redstart, and Nashville Warblers were seen in the area. Nice photo ops of a new hatch Red Admiral and 12 Spotted Skimmer.

VC Parking Lot: Osprey and Red‐tailed Hawk

Tilden: very quiet except at Chinquapin end there was Magnolia Warbler, Black‐capped Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, Golden‐crowned Kinglet, and Winter Wren.

DeLaurier: American Robin, Cedar Waxwings, Wood Ducks. In one flock on the east boardwalk we had Black‐throated Blue and Yellow‐rumped Warblers. In the same flock were Red‐eyed and Blue‐headed Vireo, Yellow‐bellied Sapsucker, and Gray Catbird. One Silver‐spotted Skipper.

30 September 2007 Point Pelee National Park

Leader: Marianne Reid.

A small group of eight people came to Canada’s most southern mainland point on Sunday morning to marvel at the migration that makes Point Pelee famous. We had a total of 60 species (61 if you count Wild Turkey). Highlights included the hundreds of migrating Blue Jays and the few Sharp‐shinned Hawks that take advantage of the situation where the Jays will not migrate over Lake Erie with strong southerly winds. After Point Pelee, we headed on out to do a quick survey of the onion fields and ended our field trip at the entrance of Hillman Marsh for waders, ducks and shorebirds. It was a leisurely birding trip on a nice warm Sunday.

Here is the complete list: Blue Jay; Sharp‐shinned Hawk; Ring‐billed Gull; Herring Gull; Northern Flicker; Great Black‐backed Gull; Bonaparte’s Gull; Double‐crested Cormorant; Red‐breasted Merganser; Scaup species; Merlin; Hummingbird (presumably Ruby‐throated); Northern Harrier; Chimney Swift; White‐throated Sparrow; Dark‐eyed Junco; European Starling; Red‐breasted Nuthatch; Downy Woodpecker; Golden‐crowned Kinglet; Ruby‐crowned Kinglet; Brown Creeper; Red‐bellied Woodpecker; Yellow‐bellied Sapsucker; American Crow; Peregrine Falcon; Winter Wren; Black‐and‐white Warbler; Black‐throated Blue Warbler; Magnolia Warbler; Hermit Thrush; Turkey Vulture; Eastern Phoebe; Wild Turkey; House Wren; Northern Cardinal; House Sparrow; American Goldfinch; Common Grackle; Mourning Dove; Rock Pigeon; Red‐winged Blackbird; White‐crowned Sparrow; Swamp Sparrow; Song Sparrow; Gray Catbird; Horned Lark; American Robin; Barn Swallow; Tree Swallow; American Kestrel; Bald Eagle; Great Egret; Great Blue Heron; Osprey; Black‐crowned Night‐Heron; Killdeer; Pectoral Sandpiper; Greater Yellowlegs; Wood Duck; Canada Goose.

Reported by Marianne Reid.

16 June 2007 St. Clair National Wildlife Area and Point Pelee National Park

Leader: John Miles.

14 stalwart birders met Blake Mann and me at the SCNWA parking lot at 7:00 am. There was a heavy dew and most of us got our feet wet walking to the ’former’ tower. We saw a family of Pied‐billed Grebe, several Least Bitterns and heard one American Bittern, many Marsh Wrens and Common Yellowthroats, a few Swamp Sparrows, 1 Green Heron, 4 Black Terns and several Forster’s Terns. The return walk produced a Common Moorhen and a co‐operative pair of Yellow‐billed Cuckoos in the parking area. We drove on to PPNP, making a short pitstop at Tilbury Tim Horton’s (must be the busiest in the country). Birds seen ‘en route’ included Ring‐necked Pheasant, American Kestrel and Horned Lark.

From the parking lot (our most productive habitat?) of DeLaurier trail we saw 2 Black‐billed Cuckoos, disappointingly we found no Yellow‐breasted Chat, but did see Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, House and Carolina Wrens and Indigo Buntings as we walked part of Ander’s and then the main trail. We lunched at Pioneer picnic area to the ‘sound of music’ ‐ a Wood Thrush ‐ and were rewarded with 4 Common Loons and a Horned Grebe in breeding plumage by walking out to the west beach.

We stopped at Wheatley for 4 gull species and at Dealtown to find Eastern Meadowlark and Bobolink before finishing the trip at Blenheim Sewage Lagoon, where approximately 10 Ruddy Ducks, 1 Redhead and 2 Black Ducks brought our day list to 80 ‐ we were all sated and I hope satisfied with our 9 hours of birding in the hot sun.

Reported by Maris Apse.

18 June 2005 St. Clair National Wildlife Area and Point Pelee National Park

Leader: John Miles.

Twenty-five OFO members and friends gathered at the entrance to the St. Clair National Wildlife Area where we were joined by John Haggeman of the Wildlife Area staff, who took us around to the various locations where King Rails had been reported this spring. None responded to the tapes, but several Least Bitterns were heard. A good numbers of Forster's Terns frequented one area, offering excellent views.

Yellow-headed Blackbirds have not been overly abundant this spring at the Wildlife Area and with the wind blowing usually stay low. John tried one spot along the south road where they often are found even when it is windy but none showed although an American Widgeon was seen. We bid John adieu and thanked him for assisting us and headed for Hillman's Marsh. At Hillman's a group of seven Common Egrets were seen and Yellow-billed Cuckoos kept popping up. We did not find the previously reported Tricolored Heron but a group of 27 Great Blue Herons went air borne as we were leaving. We had lunch at the Sanctuary Picnic area at Point Pelee with Orchard Orioles overhead and the flyby of a Giant Swallowtail. A walk a round of the Nature Trail south of the Visitor's Centre fed a lot of mosquitoes. The usual spot at the entrance to the Delaurier trail had a reluctant Yellow-breasted Chat calling sporadically for those fortunate to know the calls which were not regular. The trip over to Erieau was uneventful. At the dock a good number of Turkey Vultures were on the shoreline across the channel.

After a break at the park store at Rondeau the diehards picked up singing Scarlet Tanager and Wood Thrush while driving towards the Park Nature Centre. On the Tulip Tree Trail we had excellent views of the pair of Prothonotary Warblers as they were going to and from the nest box. The group formally broke up at 7 p.m. after recording 72 species on a slow birding day.

Reported by John Miles

14 June 2003 St. Clair National Wildlife Area and Point Pelee National Park

Leader: John Miles.

Seventeen people assembled at the entrance to the St. Clair National Wildlife marsh this foggy morning at 7 a.m. On the walk along the dike we saw numerous Common Moorhens including at least one family group with five chicks. Wood Ducks were everywhere and Pied-billed Grebes could be heard out in the marsh. Two males and a female Ruddy Duck were a special treat. Least Bitterns were calling and a couple perched out in the open or flew around. Both Black Terns and Forster's Terns were skimming over the open pools. On the way to Anger's Line Black-billed Cuckoos were heard and seen and the call of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo was heard from dense willows. At the end of Anger's Line were Mute Swans and numerous Forster's Terns. On the return drive to the highway we stopped for a metre and a half long Fox Snake to clear the road.

At Wheatley Harbour a Great Egret was in the creek on the north side of Omstead's fish plant. We headed for Point Pelee and stopped for lunch at the Dunes picnic area. Here a very co-operative second year male Summer Tanager was found on the trail from the picnic area to the west beac. After lunch the small loop trail on the south side of the parking lot of the Delaurie Trail produced a calling Yellow-breasted Chat. A co-operative Eastern Towhee sang from the top of a tree. Several Orchard Orioles were present here. We had goods looks at a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. An Osprey flew over heading south.

We then headed for Rondeau. Supper was at the Rondeau Park store where Chimney Swifts were flying over and a Red-headed Woodpecker was on a small tree. At the entrance of the Spicebush Trail we heard the Red-eyed Vireos calling. A Pileated Woodpecker flew in and landed on a dead tree trunk 30 metres away. At the nature centre a Red-bellied Woodpecker flew over the parking lot while a Red-headed Woodpecker was on the nature centre's feeder. Near the entrance to the Tulip Tree trail a second year male American Restart was seen and heard. Back in the sloughs from the trail we had good looks at a Prothonotary Warbler which sat for several minutes chipping over a nest box. A great end to a successful day during which the group saw about 84 species.

Reported by John Miles

29‐30 September 2001 OFO AGM weekend point Pelee National Park

The 161 registered participants at the Ontario Field Ornithologists' Annual General Meeting held on Saturday and Sunday, 29 and 30 September, at Point Pelee National Park were treated to a magnificent weekend of birding, on two fabulous, sunny days. The combined species total recorded by AGM participants for the two days was 162, with 18 species of waterfowl (including Snow Goose), 13 species of hawks, eagles and falcons (including Swainson's Hawk, Golden Eagle and several Peregrine Falcons), 18 shorebird species (including Red Phalarope), and 20 warbler species. Another highlight was the Long-eared Owl roosting over the Tip Boardwalk, which was a Point Pelee first for many present.

Rains of the previous week resulted in the flooding of Hillman Marsh, and disappearance of shorebird habitat there. However, Sturgeon Creek behind the Days Inn provided excellent mudflats for shorebird viewing. North winds during the weekend provided a good hawk flight, as well.

We really appreciated the efforts of all our trip leaders, Bob Curry, Karl Konze, Ian and Gavin Platt, Paul Pratt, Pete Read, and Alan Wormington, in making this a great birding event that OFO members will long remember. Hope to see you all next year at Kingston!

Reported by Ron Tozer (who was also a leader)

9 June 2001 St. Clair Wildlife Reserve and Pelee

Led by John Miles.

Fifteen members and friends of OFO met at St. Clair National Wildlife Refuge where we were joined by refuge staff member John Haggeman. Several Common Moorhens were out in the open offering excellent views, Forster's Terns were continually flying over the marsh along with good numbers of Black Terns. Common Yellowthroats and Marsh Wrens were everywhere, as were Wood Ducks on the water. A family of Pied-billed Grebes were out in the open in one pool. Two Least Bitterns were spotted flying low over the cattails. We were able to spot a couple of Yellow-headed Blackbirds from the top of the observation tower a way out over the marsh as they skimmed over the cattails from perch to perch. Not a single Least Bittern was heard calling. Only one Black-crowned Night Heron was seen flying by. After leaving the refuge we checked out the marsh along the road on the other side of the refuge where a Willow Flycatcher put on a good show calling from a perch out in the open. A Green Heron went sailing by.

We then proceeded to Wheatly Harbour. Chimney Swifts were over downtown Wheatly. At the harbour were many gulls including a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls. On the way to Hillman Marsh, good views were had of a pair of Cliff Swallows sitting on the hydro wires. From the bridge area at the north end of the Hillman Marsh, six Semipalmated Sandpipers were spotted on the mud flats a way out. Numerous Great Blue Herons were scattered along the shoreline. A flock of 20 or so Mallards did a fly by. On to Point Pelee, where we were serenaded by House Wrens, Eastern Wood-Pewees and the ever-present Yellow Warblers at our picnic site. A male Orchard Oriole flitted through the trees overhead. After lunch we walked the nature trail at the Nature Centre. As we started, Indigo Buntings were calling while a Cedar Waxwing was sitting on a hydro wire. Along the trail, a Black-throated Green Warbler's calls were being drowned out by a Carolina Wren. Further along, a Wood Thrush was sighted. Near the south end, excellent views were had of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Further along a Black-billed Cuckoo was heard as well as the call of an Acadian Flycatcher which came out in the open. Several Orchard Orioles were observed.

From the early-farming display, a couple of "chat" imitation whistles quickly produced a response and one bird sat on top of a pine tree in full view for nearly 5 minutes, while directly overhead sat a singing Indigo Bunting. As we walked back to the parking lot a Black-billed Cuckoo landed in front of the group.

We traveled through the onion fields and up the east side of the point to the south side of Hillman Marsh. Four Caspian Terns flew over out of the marsh. From the dyke a Lesser Scaup was found as well as a pair of Mute Swans.

We then headed for Rondeau. Just inside the park gates, we stopped and removed from the centre of the road way a four-foot long Fox Snake depositing it back in the brush out of harm's way. At the park store, both Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers flew by. A walk along the Tulip Tree Trail produced several woodland species including Hairy Woodpecker. There was a brief look at a Prothonotary Warbler, while some half-hearted calls were heard. Back at the parking lot, a Pileated Woodpecker stopped by.

We broke up around 7:30 pm. The group recorded 92 species of birds for the day.

Reported by John Miles

Black-throated Blue Warbler
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Pine Warbler
Photo: Mark Peck

Blue-winged Warbler
Brewster's hybrid
Photo: Brandon Holden

Golden-winged Warbler
Photo: Sam Barone

Prothonotary Warbler
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Louisiana Waterthrush
Photo: Lev Frid

Hermit Thrush
Photo: Daniel Cadieux

Hermit Thrush
Photo: Homer Caliwag

Varied Thrush
Photo: Sam Barone

Swainson's Thrush
Photo: Daniel Cadieux

Blue-headed Vireo
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Red-eyed Vireo
Photo: Sam Barone

Philadelphia Vireo
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Rondeau Provincial ParkTop

May 27 2018 (Sunday) Skunk's Misery, Blenheim & Ridgetown Lagoons

Leader: Gavin Platt.

On Sunday, May 27, 5 birders joined the OFO trip to Skunk's Misery (located in southwestern Middlesex County). I think the weather on the day was a little too nice and as a result, bird song was already diminished by the time we hit the forest. We still managed to get great looks at Hooded Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher, but could not locate any Cerulean Warblers this year. Another highlight was at least 5 Pileated Woodpeckers (all but 1 heard only), no doubt benefiting from all the dead elm and ash trees!

May 28 2017 (Sunday) Skunk's Misery, Blenheim and Ridgetown Lagoons

Leader: Gavin Platt.

9 birders enjoyed a successful trip to Skunk's Misery this morning. Highlights included good looks at Acadian Flycatcher, Cerulean Warbler and Hooded Warbler. We saw 2 Mourning Warblers, including 1 singing a perfect Common Yellowthroat song (in the same place that we saw this bird the previous year - must be hard to find a mate when you sing the wrong song!). Other good birds included Broad-winged Hawk, Blue-winged Warbler and heard only Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Tufted Titmouse, Yellow-throated Vireo and Pileated Woodpecker.

May 29 2016 (Sunday) Skunk's Misery

Leader: Gavin Platt.

Today's 10 participants on the OFO Skunk's Misery trip were treated to great views of Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher, all within the first half hour! Other highlights included Blue-winged Warbler, Mourning Warbler, a very cooperative Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Tufted Titmouse, Broad-winged Hawk and Yellow-throated Vireo. The species total for the trip was not very high, but definitely a case of quality over quantity. Interestingly, the Mourning Warbler was singing a perfect Common Yellowthroat song. I didn't hear it sing a typical Mourning Warbler song at all. Thanks to everyone who came for a great morning!

May 31 2015 (Sunday) Skunk's Misery, Blenheim and Ridgetown Lagoons

Leader: Gavin Platt.

The weather was unfortunately not very cooperative for the 7 brave participants on this morning's Skunk's Misery trip. Other than a brief period of around 1 hour, rain was constant and heavy. In between showers, we managed to get good looks at Blue-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers and several Indigo Buntings. A Pileated Woodpecker was heard only for the most of the group. We later managed to track down a silent Acadian Flycatcher, but decided had to call it a day after that (rain and strong winds = no bird song). Here's hoping for better weather next year.

June 1 2014 (Sunday) Skunk’s Misery, Blenheim and Ridgetown Lagoons

Leader: Gavin Platt.

Today's trip to Skunk's Misery was quite successful. Great looks were had at Cerulean, Hooded, Mourning and Blue-winged Warblers. A pair of Acadian Flycatchers also performed very well for the group and were observed building a nest. Other highlights included a Broad-winged Hawk (which appeared to be carrying a snake), Yellow-billed Cuckoo (heard only) and Pileated Woodpecker (heard only). We ended the day with a Clay-coloured Sparrow near Strathroy, which was heard but not seen.

June 2 2013 (Sunday) Skunk's Misery, Rondeau and Blenheim Lagoons

Leader: Gavin Platt.

The OFO trip to Skunk's Misery today was attended by 16 birders (a record high!). The trip was generally successful, although strong winds made hearing songbirds challenging at times (it was very quiet after about 10 am). Highlights at Skunk's Misery included Blue-winged, Hooded and Mourning (heard only) Warblers, Pileated Woodpecker and Black-billed and Yellow-billed (heard only) Cuckoo. Unfortunately, Acadian Flycatcher was only distantly heard and we couldn't locate a Cerulean Warbler (despite a lot of walking in the right areas). Visits to Blenheim and Ridgetown Sewage Lagoons in the afternoon were highlighted by a pair of Surf Scoters at Blenheim. Total species for the trip was around 75.

June 3 2012 (Sunday) June 3 2012 (Sunday) Skunk's Misery, Rondeau and Blenheim Lagoons

Leader: .

Despite a discouraging weather forecast, a half dozen birders showed up for yesterday's OFO trip to Skunk's Misery. Although the amount of song was diminished by the weather, we managed to locate nearly all of our target species. This included great looks at Acadian Flycatcher, good looks at Hooded, Cerulean and Blue-winged Warblers and heard-only Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Pileated Woodpecker.

We next visited Ridgetown and Blenheim sewage lagoons where we saw several White-rumped Sandpipers among the numerous Semipalmated Sandpipers, along with a few other shorebird and duck species.

All in all, a great day! Thanks to all the participants for a successful trip.

June 5 2011 (Sunday) Skunk’s Misery

Leaders: Rob Read, Gavin Platt.

Ideal weather conditions (sunny, low wind, not overly humid, but warm) met the group in the town of Newbury, very close to Skunk’s Misery, which is one of the largest remnants of Carolinian forest in Ontario.

Our first stop did not disappoint, with Cerulean Warblers heard almost immediately, and eventually seen very well, since a nest was located by Donald Pye, and focused on in a scope to show the female apparently feeding young birds in the nest (though they were not visible). A male Cerulean later landed on the road in front of our line of cars and gave some excellent, though brief, views.

After this fine start, we went on to see, or in some cases only hear, our target birds. Hooded Warblers were heard in several locations, but not seen well. Blue‐winged Warbler and Mourning Warbler were also only heard, but great views of Yellow‐billed Cuckoo, and later Yellow‐throated Vireo, made up for this. Acadian Flycatcher was also seen exceptionally well.

A Broad‐winged Hawk was seen (and later heard) attacking a Turkey Vulture by diving at it repeatedly.

One of the most exciting birds of the day, though unfortunately not seen by all, was a Ruffed Grouse. Reported very rarely in Middlesex County in the past 10‐15 years, a grouse was also heard drumming in the same area two weeks previously. We are unsure whether this bird is related to human‐assisted re‐introduction programs, or whether such programs are active in the area, though it is possible.

A total of 58 species were seen or heard.

An abundance of butterflies were in flight in the later morning, including large numbers of Giant Swallowtails and smaller numbers of Spicebush Swallowtails. A total of 17 butterfly species were seen.

Thanks again to all who braved the mosquitoes–which were less than usual, but still a fierce force.

May 12 2024 (Sunday) Rondeau

Leader: Stewart MacDonald.

SPRING BIRDING AT RONDEAU MAY 12, 2024 OUTING LEADER: STEWART MACDONALD A group of 11 Enthusiastic Birders joined the Outing Leader on a pleasant Spring Day in Rondeau Park on Sunday May 12th. The Outing Commenced at "Warbler Way" which is known for it's Warbler Habitat and is located at the North End of the Park. A Surprise Prothonotary Warbler (which will be discussed later) provided an Interesting Sighting to start the Day! Rondeau Park is one of the most reliable places to see this Warbler in our Province and is considered "Endangered" in Ontario. Good looks at desirable species, such as Blackburnian, Bay-Breasted and Cape May Warblers provided the group with excellent views. Tennessee Warblers were less cooperative as they were singing from the Top of the forest canopy. Northern Parulas were vocal and provided good looks for the Group. At the end of the Trail, we proceeded south towards the "Pony Barn" but not before a Male Eastern Towhee was spotted singing from a tree top. At the Pony Barn, a Lincoln's Sparrow was spotted, as well as 2 Tufted Titmice! A pair of Blue Gray Gnatcatchers were observed going to and from their nest. After a report of a Townsend's Warbler on Tulip Trail, the group decided to head to Tulip Trail immediately. Once we arrived and parked (the Parking Lot was at capacity), the Townsend's Warbler had departed south in the Park. So, the Group decided to follow! Although there were no further reports of this Bird, we did find a Male Cerulean Warbler singing and visible with some patience, We spent 20 minutes making sure that all of the participants had a good view (it was a life bird for some). We then walked back to Tulip Trail and were rewarded with excellent views of Scarlet Tanagers, as well as male and female Prothonotary Warblers. In addition, Yellow-Throated Vireos were singing in the treetops as the sun came out in the early afternoon. In the end, the Group observed over 65 Species of Birds, including 16 Warblers. The undergrowth was quite farther along compared to year's past as was the leaf cover, making some observations more difficult and only possible by ear alone. A Wonderful Day of Birding nevertheless!

October 7 2023 (Saturday) Rondeau area

Leader: Kelly-Sue O'Connor, Peter Sproule.

Our group of 4 individuals met at the Rondeau Visitor's Centre under partly sunny skies, gusts of wind and a chill in the morning air. A walk along Tulip Tree Trail yielded a Brown Creeper, with Blue Jays heard calling over the forest canopy. We returned to the Visitor Centre feeders where a Carolina Wren was heard - birds were elusive this morning. The walk continued to the beach - 2 Golden-crowned Kinglets were heard and seen in the brush, and White-throated Sparrows started to make themselves noticed, followed by 2 Palm Warblers, a few Yellow-rumped Warblers and 1 Black-throated Green Warbler flitting in some small trees along the boardwalk to the beach. Shorebirds were absent along the beach, just 9 Turkey Vultures, Ring-billed Gulls and 7 Herring Gulls of various ages. The next stop was at the Erieau Marsh Trail, where we walked and observed for approximately 2 hours. Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Palm Warblers accompanied us on the walk up to the mudflat area along the trail - again, no shorebirds other than 2 Killdeer. Highlights on the water included 300+ American Coots, 12 Pied-billed Grebes, 10 Ruddy Ducks, several Gadwalls, 30 American Wigeons, 8 Redheads, and 6 Ring-necked Ducks. A brief stop at the pier and lighthouse in Erieau was next - 4 Semipalmated Plovers and 2 Sanderlings were the surprise birds during our 20 minute search, with 5 immature Caspian Terns and many Herring Gulls of various ages on the pier, and included ` first summer Great Black-Backed Gull. A visit to the area would not be complete without a stop at the Blenheim Sewage Lagoons (permit required and available). Water levels were high in all cells - more ducks than shorebirds. Highlights on the lagoons - 82 Ruddy Ducks, 12 Northern Shovelers, 8 Northern Pintails, 9 Blue-winged Teal, and the group was treated to a flyover by 12 Lesser Yellowlegs, 4 Semipalmated Plovers and 2 Least Sandpipers. The last stop in the enclosure was the sprinkler cell - 2 Pectoral Sandpipers were found, along with some of the Lesser Yellowlegs observed earlier. A group photo was taken at the completion of the lagoon walk, and almost to the minute after saying goodbyes, rain started to sprinkle from the overcast sky. Peter Sproule

June 4 2023 (Sunday) Rondeau

Leader: Kelly-Sue O'Connor.

OFO Fieldtrip : Rondeau : June 4th-Leader : Kelly-Sue O'Connor On Sunday our little group of 5 set out for a full day of birding starting in Rondeau Provincial Park. We tried for the Prontonotary Warblers but they were no where to be seen, instead we were rewarded with the Acadian Flycatcher that had been being seen on Tulip Tree Tree. We also checked out South Point Trail West where we found another Acadian Flycatcher, Spice Bush Trail and around the Park Store before heading to Erieau. During lunch the group enjoyed the Purple Martin show behind the Park Store. We walked the Marsh Trail in Erieau where we were treated to sightings of Dunlin, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers and a Black-Bellied Plover. We ended the day at Blenheim Sewage Lagoons with a large group of Semipalmated Sandpipers, a few Spotted Sandpipers, baby Wood Ducks and a selection of Swallows. We ended with 60 species for the day and a good time was had by the whole group!

May 7 2023 (Sunday) Rondeau

Leader: Andrea Kingsley.

May 7 Rondeau spring birds trip Trip leaders: Andrea Kingsley, Liam Thorne, Adam Holder and Julia Marshall A total of 27 people participated in the Rondeau spring bird outing. Rain was forecasted but fortunately, the weather system avoided us. Migration was unfortunately, slow and there was not a big movement of passerines. We did however end up with a total of 96 species for the day. The day started out walking the tulip tree trail where nice views of Magnolia Warbler, Brown Creeper, Blue-Headed Vireo, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Nashville Warbler were had by most people. We then headed to the beach where 5 Ruddy Turnstones and a Bald Eagle were highlights. Reports of a Yellow-throated Warbler at Erieau had some of the group leave to chase the warbler. The remaining group headed to the Warbler way trail, the maintenance loop and campground area. We birded the trail where we had Common Yellowthroat, Northern Parula, Carolina Wren and others. We took a lunch break under the picnic shelter where a Red-headed Woodpecker put on a show for us. After lunch, highlights were Brewster's Warbler, Palm Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher and Eastern Screech owl. At around 2pm, some people decided to leave the group and the few remaining people decided to head to Erieau marsh trail. At the trail we were fortunate to have great views of the Yellow-throated Warbler, Willets, both Short and Long-billed Dowitchers, Dunlin, Least Sandpiper, Forster's Terns, and interesting non birds such as a Spiny Softshell Turtle! It was a fun day with great people. Thank you everyone who participated you helped make successful! Andrea Here is a link to the trip ebird list

April 28 2019 (Sunday) Rondeau Provincial Park

Leader: Donald Pye.

It was a cool start. But the Sun came out to provide a good Day for Birding. We had 11 Birders at the start of the trip. We had some birds at the VC including a Junco. Next to find the White-winged Dove, it was in the usually spot. Since the SPT was flooded with water we headed of to find the Clay-colored Sparrow. We had to look through a lot of Sparrows ; about 50 Chipping, 6 Field and some Song Sparrows. We found 1 Clay-colored. Next we did the Maintenance area and Pony Barn area where we got our only 2 Warblers. After Lunch we headed outside the Park to the McLean Marsh area. We added some Ducks to our list. Also we had 7 Bald Eagles - 2 Adults and 5 immatures. Plus an Osprey carrying lunch. The next place was Erieau with a couple of stops along the way. The Eagles nest near Shrewsbury has 2 young Eagles in it and a good view. After Erieau it was time to go home. I had 84 species checked off. A list of the Birds is on E bird under my name : Chatham Kent

April 29 2018 (Sunday) Rondeau Provincial Park

Leader: Donald Pye.

14 People joined me at 8 AM. A few people joined in through out the Day. It was cool and cloudy but by noon the Sun was out. Collectively we were able to find 78 Birds. One warbler, a Northern Watertrush, was heard. A Snowy Owl was seen in a tree over the road South side of the campground. On our second try we found the White-winged Dove. At Blenheim Sewage Lagoon we had 3 shorebirds . Some of the group saw the Wilson's Phalarope which was there part of the day.

April 30 2017 (Sunday) Rondeau Provincial Park

Leader: Donald Pye.

At 8 AM 9 people meet at the Visitors Center at Rondeau for some early Spring Birding , Things were slow and very Windy but by the end of the day we had found 64 Birds. Only 4 Warblers; Palm , Black throated Green ,Nashville and Yellow. I found the White wing Dove at the end of the day at 17272 lakeshore. Several Red-headed Woodpeckers were seen.

April 26 2015 (Sunday) Rondeau Provincial Park

Leader: Maris Apse, Donald Pye.

The trip started with 15 people and we spent the day covering the park and the area just outside the Park. Collectively we manage to find 76 species. No big numbers. Only 2 species of Warblers - Pine Warbler and Yellow Rump Warbler. One singing White Eyed Viero. 2 species of Wrens - Winter wren and a House wren. 7 species of Woodpeckers and 6 Sparrow species.

June 2 2013 (Sunday) Skunk's Misery, Rondeau and Blenheim Lagoons

Leader: Gavin Platt.

The OFO trip to Skunk's Misery today was attended by 16 birders (a record high!). The trip was generally successful, although strong winds made hearing songbirds challenging at times (it was very quiet after about 10 am). Highlights at Skunk's Misery included Blue-winged, Hooded and Mourning (heard only) Warblers, Pileated Woodpecker and Black-billed and Yellow-billed (heard only) Cuckoo. Unfortunately, Acadian Flycatcher was only distantly heard and we couldn't locate a Cerulean Warbler (despite a lot of walking in the right areas). Visits to Blenheim and Ridgetown Sewage Lagoons in the afternoon were highlighted by a pair of Surf Scoters at Blenheim. Total species for the trip was around 75.

June 3 2012 (Sunday) June 3 2012 (Sunday) Skunk's Misery, Rondeau and Blenheim Lagoons

Leader: .

Despite a discouraging weather forecast, a half dozen birders showed up for yesterday's OFO trip to Skunk's Misery. Although the amount of song was diminished by the weather, we managed to locate nearly all of our target species. This included great looks at Acadian Flycatcher, good looks at Hooded, Cerulean and Blue-winged Warblers and heard-only Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Pileated Woodpecker.

We next visited Ridgetown and Blenheim sewage lagoons where we saw several White-rumped Sandpipers among the numerous Semipalmated Sandpipers, along with a few other shorebird and duck species.

All in all, a great day! Thanks to all the participants for a successful trip.

April 29 2012 (Sunday) April 29 2012 (Sunday) Rondeau Provincial Park

Leader: Maris Apse, Donald Pye.

About 35 OFO members met at Rondeau Provincial Park to check on some Early migrants. It was a nice Sunny day for Birding and we found 83 Species. There were very few Warblers with only 4 species to be seen by our Group. We had a good look at the Yellow-throated Warbler seen at Ric McArther's and only 1 Vireo for the day. We had several Horned Grebes of the South point Trail and an Eared Grebe At Blenheim Sewage Lagoons. Also at the Lagoons among the many Dunlin was a Semipalmated Sandpiper.

May 1 2011 (Sunday) Rondeau Provincial Park

Leaders: Maris Apse, Donald Pye.

15 People meet at the Park at 8 in the morning to check out some of the early birds in spring migration. In the morning we had heavy rain showers and light rain in the afternoon.

We found 100 Species for the day.

Our best bird was a YELLOW‐THROATED WARBLER, seen at the feeders at Ric McArther’s home.

We had 11 Species of Warblers including a Blackpoll.

We had 3 Species of Vireos. We had 3 Grebes Including the Horned and Eared.

We had a pair of Wilson’s Phalarope at Blenheim Lagoons.

June 6 2010 (Sunday) Skunk’s Misery

Leaders: Rob Read, Gavin Platt.

The rain held off and it was actually sunny for some of the time for the Rob and Gavin annual Skunk‐’s Misery trip.

Nine people joined Rob and substitute leader Pete on a breezy cool journey touching into some of the best areas for much sought after species in South‐western Ontario.

We were able to hear and briefly see a couple of Hooded Warblers.

A group of very young wild turkeys were seen along the road but somehow they snuck away quickly through the tall verge grass.

We heard an Acadian Flycatcher but it moved off before we could find it and it’s nest wasn’t located either.

We could also hear a Cerulian Warbler but only a couple of folks saw it.

A Tufted Titmouse was more co‐operative as was a Scarlet Tanager. Also noted were Blue‐winged, Pine and Chestnut‐sided Warblers, Yellow‐throated and Red‐eyed Vireo, Eastern Towhee, and lots of Indigo Buntings.

A number of other mature forest species such as Ovenbird and Pileated Woodpecker were also heard.

It seems this was a listening day for the most part due to the leaves and their wind‐assisted movements and the droning of mosquitoes and their nasty stabs were also a bit distracting.

But all in all our target species were mostly accounted for and we left the Misery with satsfaction.

May 2 2010 (Sunday) Rondeau Provincial Park

Leaders: Maris Apse, Donald Pye.

Over 20 OFO members met at 8:00 am at the Visitor Centre seeing a Lincoln’s Sparrow at the feeders with some of the more usual “feeder birds”. The weather loomed but improved greatly until our last stop, when we had to abandon Blenheim Sewage Lagoon due to driving rain. We managed to tally just 86 species–surely quite a low count but an enjoyable and varied day of birding. Species highlights, more or less in order.

South Point Trail–Common Loon(6/7), House Wren, Blackburnian Warbler, Red‐headed Woodpecker, Eastern Towhee, Northern Mockingbird, Warbling Vireo, Common Yellowthroat, Field, Chipping Sparrow.

Tulip Tree trail – Cooper’s Hawk on nest, Red‐bellied Woodpecker, Wood Thrush, Northern Waterthrush.

Spicebush Trail–Wood Duck, Nashville, Black‐throated Green Warbler (heard only), White‐throated, White‐crowned Sparrow.

Maintenance loop–Black‐and‐white, Yellow‐rumped Warbler.

Donald Pye and one or two cars proceeded directly to the Blenheim lagoons as they had other commitments wheras the rest of us drove to Erieau via Shrewsbury and then to Blenheim.

Shrewsbury–Great‐blue Heron heronry, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Lesser Yellowlegs.

Erieau–Caspian, Forster’s Tern, Great Black‐backed, Bonaparte’s Gull and Cattle Egret at Erieau Road and Bisnett Line.

Blenheim Sewage Lagoon–Northern Shoveler, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Spotted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and Dunlin as well as the Wilson’s Phalarope (who arrived about Mar 17), all six swallow species, Savannah Sparrow and a pair of Bobolink as we left.

7 June 2009 Skunk’s Misery, Rondeau and Blenheim Lagoons

Leaders: Rob Read, Gavin Platt.

After meeting in Newbury, a small town at the edge of the large remnants of Carolinian forest known collectively as Skunk’s Misery, we ‘suited up’ in mosquito gear, and went in to “the Misery.”

Some birds, such as Blue‐winged Warbler and Hooded Warbler proved difficult to get looks at, though were noted through vocalizations. Others proved very cooperative, including Morning Warbler, Cerulean Warbler and Acadian Flycatcher–one of the rarest breeding birds in Canada, as this is the very northern edge of their range. Due most likely to overcast and slightly cold temperatures, with a little bit of scattered showers, the birds were not especially active, but WOW the mosquitoes were! One leader counted more than 40 bites on himself after the trip!

Other notable birds included Pine Warbler, an orange variant Scarlet Tanager, and the drumming of Pileated Woodpecker. Only four species of butterfly were seen, but numerous trees were observed, including many Sassafras, and some of the most enormous Tulip Trees in Ontario. We ended up with a collective total of 55 species. Although not a very large list, this trip is more about quality than quantity.

We’d like to thank the 15 or so brave souls who weathered the mosquito clouds to have a walk in an amazing place.

3 May 2009 Rondeau Provincial Park

Leader: Maris Apse.

Some 30 OFO members gathered at the Visitor Centre on a wonderfully warm and windless morning, with visions of warblers dancing in our heads. We started on theTulip Tree trail and soon found our first mixed flock of some 6 species busily foraging at mid‐height – relatively easy spotting and most people had quite decent looks. Some Sandhill Cranes bugled as we continued and we added 4 thrushes, including a late Hermit, 1 Veery, 1 Wood and several Swainson’s. A Pileated Woodpecker added some drama, a co‐operative Northern Waterthrush, Pine Warbler (for some) plus Blue‐headed Vireo, served as curtain raisers to a wonderful view of a roosting Whip‐poor‐will, some 12ft off trail the (especially through a big‐lens camera–thanks Karl!). The nesting Cooper’s Hawk at the end of this trail was not visible but we saw it later soaring/displaying its white tail tufts from the Spice‐bush trail.

Some saw a Red‐headed Woodpecker and Eastern Kingbird en route to South Point which proved to be somewhat quiet, but for Yellow Warbler, Blue‐gray Gnatcatcher, Baltimore Oriole and Eastern Towhee. Three White‐eyed Vireo, with one singing some 8/10 M high added spice as did an American Woodcock that flushed. At the beach lookout we added Red‐breasted Merganser, Bonaparte’s Gull, Forster’s and Common Tern and Herring Gull and 5 Great Blue Herons almost over us an interesting sight. En route to VC for lunch‐break, some ‘dawdled’ finding a Mocking Bird (rare at RPP) at Dog Beach as well as Indigo Bunting and Eeastern Phoebe. During lunch most of us saw Pine Siskin and some Ruby‐throated Hummingbirds at the feeders plus the ‘usuals’.

We walked Bennet Road and Spice‐bush Trail adding Magnolia Warbler and a Winter Wren that Donald found for our enjoyment. Behind the maintenance area we enjoyed many House Wrens, a loud Carolina Wren calling until a Blue‐winged Warbler made an all too brief appearance (only seen by 1 or 2 of us). It was almost 4pm – some were going on to Pelee, others decided to get started home and we discussed finishing the day with a trip to Erieau/ Blenheim Sewage Lagoons to ‘pump the list’ – opting for Blenheim. After a quick pit stop by the store the last 5 vehicles proceeded adding Mute Swan and Horned Lark en route. The lagoons did not disappoint. We started with Eared Grebe (in 1st lagoon to right, which I had seen the previous evening) and 12 duck species including 2 female Hooded Mergansers. Then we added single Spotted and Pectoral Sandpipers, over 30 each of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and 50+ Dunlin in a variety of plumages. We also saw a Black Tern, Bank Swallow, Warbling Vireo (nice and low in the cut‐down willows) and several Savannah Sparrows.

The final group list was 102 – of which some 21 species were seen only at these lagoons. Of course not everyone saw everything along any trail or whilst travelling. Thank you to all the participants and helpers who made this an enjoyable experience – hope you enjoyed it and see you next year.

3 May 2008 Rondeau Provincial Park

Leader: Maris Apse.

18 intrepid and enthusiastic birders joined Maris for a decidedly wet day of early spring birding at Rondeau Provincial Park. In spite of the inclement conditions, we managed to record a respectable 80 species of birds. Highlights included, but are not limited to: Warblers: Nashville, Yellow, Magnolia, Yellow‐rumped, Black‐throated Green, Palm, Black‐and‐white, Prothonotary (’killer’ looks at the pond near the Pony Barn), Northern Waterthrush (Tulip Tree Trail), Common Yellowthroat and Hooded Warbler (a female seen on the Tulip Tree Trail). Sparrows: We enjoyed a ’7‐sparrow‐species lunch’ at the Visitor Centre featuring a resplendent male Harris’s in full breeding plumage, and his Chipping, Clay‐colored, Field, Lincoln’s, White‐throated and White‐crowned relatives. We also saw Field, Song and House Sparrows during the outing. Woodpeckers: Red‐headed (the lakeside portion of the South Point Trail), Red‐bellied, Yellow‐bellied Sapsucker, Downy, Hairy and Northern Flicker.

Reported by Heather Anne Campbell.

8 June 2008 Skunk’s Misery, Rondeau & Blenheim Lagoons

Leaders: Rob Read, Gavin Platt.

Not knowing how many people we’d actually get showing up for the trip ‐ with the harsh mosquito warnings ‐ we were very glad to have 14 people, many from London area, but also about a third from Toronto and greater Toronto –. Skunk’s Misery is a 19th century name for a large tract of Carolinian forest/swamp near Newbury Ontario, also called the Middlesex County Forest. We had planned to do some grasslands birding in the area as well if time permitted, but the forest kept everyone interested for the duration of the trip.

Our first stop was for Blue‐winged Warbler, which was singing immediately when we arrived, but proved to take a bit of time to see ‐ eventually it came out to the road, and everyone was able to get a great look. Although not many birds were singing (the conditions were somewhat hot and humid ‐ but for the most part, a heavy breeze and the cooling effects of the forest itself kept us relatively comfortable ‐ OTHER THAN THE MOSQUITOES. We were most impressed by how little the mosquitoes bothered all the courageous souls who followed us into the swarms ‐ which is not to say there weren’t very large numbers of mosquitoes ‐ which there were.

Despite the overall general quietness, Cerulean Warbler and Hooded Warbler were both singing extensively, and some members of the group were able to get tantalizing views of both these birds after much searching of the trees, which were waving in the wind, making spotting the birds difficult. Our final major target species, Acadian Flycatcher, eventually gave us very close excellent views as a male came over and checked us out, singing repeatedly. We ventured back to our first stop in the hopes that a Broad‐winged Hawk we’d seen briefly carrying food in the morning might be flying around now that it was nearly noon. Sure enough, the hawk gave a great show, flying right over us for a couple of minutes.

Butterflies were seen throughout the day, including many Giant Swallowtails, several Red‐spotted Purples, many Hobomok Skippers, and a fair number of Spicebush Swallowtails. Several Tiger Beetles (most likely Cicindela sexguttata) were spotted along the path, and several wood frogs and American toads were also seen. At one point a very large animal ‐ which was likely a deer, but seemed much larger by the sound! ‐ crashed away from us through deep wet scrub.

Part of the interest on the trip also turned out to be trees ‐ with the enormous tulip trees in one particular area being show stoppers at our last site. There were also abundant sassafras all through Skunk’s, from tiny sprouts right up to massive tall trees. A smaller number of Chestnut saplings and sprouts were also observed.

Reported by Rob Read and Gavin Platt.

5 May 2007 Rondeau Provincial Park

Leaders: Blake Mann, Maris Apse.

It was a cool and not too promising morning with a stiff northeast wind blowing when 35 OFO birders met at 8:00 am. We spent over two hours walking the South Point trail and almost everyone had great views of 10 warblers (including Northern Parula, Chestnut‐sided Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black‐throated Blue Warbler) and White‐eyed, Yellow‐throated, and Blue‐headed Vireos.

We did a quick and very quiet tour of Tulip Tree trail before lunch and re‐assembled at 1:00 pm to walk the Harrison trail to the Pony Barns and Log Pond adding 7 more warbler species with a stunning Cerulean Warbler which was often below eye‐level, Bay‐breasted Warbler and later a Cape May Warbler; all definite crowd‐pleasers.

We saw an immature Bald Eagle, heard a Marsh Wren and a Virginia Rail at the lookout on the Marsh trail and then wrapped up a very good day’s birding.

Our total count was 78 species. Some highlights were Red‐headed and Red‐bellied Woodpeckers, Eastern Kingbird, Veery, Hermit and Wood Thrushes, Black‐throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Pine Warbler, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Rose‐breasted Grosbeak and Baltimore Oriole.

Reported by Maris Apse.

6 May 2006 Rondeau Provincial Park

About 20 OFO members braved the cool weekend weather at Rondeau Provincial Park on May 6. A rather successful outing was achieved with a collective total of 85 species seen by the group. As usual, some scouting ahead of time proved beneficial. We started on the east side of south point trail where the warm morning sun brought out many birds. Highlights there included stunning looks at a singing male Cerulean Warbler. Beside it was a White‐eyed Vireo. We also had looks at a male Northern Parula. Farther down the trail a singing male Bobolink in a tree put on quite a show. Later in the afternoon we went to look for a pair of Summer Tanagers in the campground. Upon arrival at site 64 we found a first year male. The female was not seen by the group but was nearby. Other notables included 15 warbler species, 5 common flycatcher species, an adult Bald Eagle over the visitor centre first thing and at noon, and a Northern Mockingbird (day’s end) in the picnic area near the store. Of course there were many other species in the park not observed by the group. We searched in vain for the Clay‐colored Sparrow that I found beside the store late Friday. It was, however, seen this morning.

Reported by Blake Mann.

7 May 2005 Rondeau Provincial Park

Leaders: Maris Apse and Blake Mann.

Twenty-five enthusiastic birders shared a very enjoyable day of early spring birding and fellowship in Rondeau Provincial Park. Seventy-eight (78) species were recorded as of 3:30 p.m. Highlights as follows:

Warbler/Vireo: Nashville, Yellow, Magnolia, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Palm, Black-and-white and Common Yellowthroat Warblers. The vireo species included Blue-headed, Warbling and Red-eyed Vireo. Woodpecker: Red-headed, Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy and Northern Flicker.

Glamour birds: Red-headed Woodpecker (at least 5) and Baltimore Oriole.

Participants also enjoyed some fine and close-up views of a soaring and perched adult Bald Eagle - always a nice feast for the eyes!

Reported by Heather Campbell

1 May 2004 Rondeau Provincial Park

Leaders: Maris Apse and Blake Mann.

Twenty-eight birders braved the threat of rain and met at Rondeau Provincial Park or the annual OFO field trip. The total of bird species seen was 74, including 13 warbler species. Rain held off for the most part and did not get in our way.

Noisy Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were very common in the park as were Red-headed Woodpeckers, a bird of "special concern" in Ontario.

We started on Tulip Tree Trail and spotted several warblers including a Cerulean Warbler, a couple of Tennessee and some Black-and-whites. Swainson's and Hermit thrushes rustled about. A Wood Thrush sang in the woods. The next stop was behind the maintenance buildings where we saw a Palm Warbler, a Solitary Sandpiper and three White-crowned Sparrows. We then walked the fairly quiet Spice Bush Trail where some of us saw a Northern Waterthrush.

For lunch, we stopped at the visitor centre. At the feeders, a bright Baltimore Oriole didn't need sun to show its colour. A Red-bellied and Red-headed Woodpecker fed at the same feeder and Ruby-throated Hummingbird made a brief appearance.

We then headed down to South Point Trail (end of Lakeshore) where we had killer looks at a male Blackburnian, a Yellow and a Black-throated Green Warbler. A Blue-headed Vireo landed over our heads. Both a Brown Thrasher and a Gray Catbird gave great mimic performances. An Eastern Towhee sang in the open, a few feet from the path. Two Indigo Buntings flew around in the bushes. From the beach we could see a Common Loon, Forster's Terns flying by and many Red-breasted Mergansers

Only 2 butterflies--a Cabbage-white and a Red Admiral were seen. Spring flowers were in abundance: red and white trilliums, trout lilies, Dutchman's breeches and yellow and purple violets to name a few.

Reported by Sandra Eadie

3 May 2003 Rondeau Provincial Park

Leader: Maris Apse and Blake Mann.

A fine group of 27 birders met at Rondeau Provincial Park on Saturday 3 May for the annual OFO field trip. Total bird species seen was 86, including 14 warbler species. Some other excellent birds were found during the day. We started on Tulip Tree Trail and spotted several warblers including a Northern Parula. We then headed down to south point trail (end of Lakeshore) to where there was good activity. Some of the warblers included killer looks at a female Hooded Warbler, male Blackburnian, Bluewinged, male Black-throated Blue and Palm Warblers. A Lincoln's Sparrow made a brief appearance among the hundreds of White-throated Sparrows. A Yellow-breasted Chat was heard, but not seen. Blue-headed Vireos were common. Some Red-headed Woodpeckers were flying about. For lunch we stopped at the visitor centre and some had brief looks at a possible hybrid ChippingXClay-colored Sparrow at the feeders. After lunch we headed to Marsh Trail, and noted Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs on the mudflats. There was also a Spotted Sandpiper and a couple of Least Sandpipers. Our highlight was the discovery of a Grasshopper Sparrow along the edge of the trail. At the new viewing tower we noted a lonely Dark-eyed Junco. A Marsh Wren was in the cattails as we left the tower. Several ducks (mostly Greater Scaup) were in the Bay. The next stop was behind the maintenance compound where it was quite birdy. We noted an Ovenbird there. We finished the outing on Bennett Ave., where we saw two Great-Crested Flycatchers and a pair of resident Eastern Phoebes. It was an excellent day with slightly cool weather. The numbers of birds was good for the early days of May

Reported by Blake Mann Wallaceburg

5 May 2001 Rondeau Provincial Park

Led by Allen Woodliffe.

Between 55 and 60 OFO members and friends met at the park's Visitor Center in anticipation of finding a few early spring migrants. The weather for this trip was mostly sunny, with light to moderate southeast winds and comfortable temperatures. The clear skies of the previous night had allowed some birds to continue their migration, but unfortunately the southeast winds were not conducive for a lot of new avian arrivals.

We first headed along the Tulip Tree Trail where we spotted Wood Duck, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-headed Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Wood Pewee, Baltimore Oriole, Great Crested Flycatcher, Veery, Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Lincoln's Sparrow and a brilliant Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. Members of the wood warbler family were one of our target groups and here we found American Redstart and a cooperative male Prothonotary Warbler, a species added to the provincial Endangered Species list in 2000. Rondeau still is the Canadian stronghold for this species, with at least a dozen or more pairs taking up residency in the sloughs of the Park during most of the last few years.

In the vicinity of the Visitor Centre, we added Double-crested Cormorant, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Eastern Kingbird, Chipping Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Purple Martin, American Goldfinch, Grasshopper Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow and White-crowned Sparrow. The north end of Harrison Trail was our next destination. Here we added Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Ovenbird, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Solitary Sandpiper, White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow and Song Sparrow.

After lunch we explored the north end of the Marsh Trail area. An area that had been subject to a prescribed burn just a week before to enhance its savanna characteristics proved attractive to Swainson's Thrush, Savannah Sparrow, Yellow Warbler and Chipping Sparrow. We also added Carolina Wren, Warbling Vireo, Chimney Swift, Nashville Warbler and Common Yellowthroat. One Shagbark Hickory tree that was just coming out in leaf was particularly busy with insect activity and therefore birds, with several already seen warbler species, as well as Warbling Vireo and both male and female Orchard Oriole present.

Our final stop for the day was the Blenheim Sewage Lagoon. The water levels were fairly high, but we did manage to record Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper and Dunlin. Bank, Barn and Tree Swallow were all present, and several duck species, including Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Duck, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck and Bufflehead all added to the day's checklist.

We had a trip total of more than 90 species.

Reported by Allen Woodliffe

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Photo: Don Wigle

Yellow Warbler
Photo: Francine Ouellette

Yellow Warbler
Photo: Brandon Holden

Tennessee Warbler
Photo: Sam Barone

Blackburnian Warbler
Photo: Daniel Cadieux

Northern Cardinal
Photo: Mark Peck

Northern Cardinal
Photo: Brandon Holden

Northern Cardinal
Photo: Brandon Holden

Northern Cardinal
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Northern Cardinal
Photo: Sam Barone

House Finch
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

American Goldfinch
Photo: Mark Peck

American Goldfinch
Photo: Brandon Holden

American Goldfinch
1st basic
Photo: Brandon Holden

Purple Finch
Photo: Emily Burton

Rusty Blackbird
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Red-winged Blackbird
Photo: Carol Horner

Red-winged Blackbird
Photo: Brandon Holden

Golden-crowned Kinglet
Photo: Brandon Holden

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Photo: Richard Dubiel

Golden-crowned Kinglet
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

American Pipit
Photo: Mark Peck

American Pipit
Photo: Mike KcEvoy

American Pipit
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Holiday Beach Hawk WatchTop

21 October 2000 Holiday Beach, Essex County

Led by Paul Pratt.

Ontario Field Ornithologists members gathered at the Holiday Beach Conservation Area, located along the shores of Lake Erie in the Town of Amherstburg, Essex County, on a clear fall morning. Birding leader Paul Pratt, City of Windsor's Ojibway Nature Centre's Naturalist, welcomed birders hoping for good sightings of raptors at this well known raptor migration location. Predictions of light winds from the northeast were perfect conditions to bring migrating birds of prey past the Conservation Area's hawk tower.

The day began with a Peregrine Falcon perched atop a dead tree on Eagle Island in Big Creek Marsh, with a second reported flying through. The 30-member group moved directly below the Holiday Beach hawk tower to view the fine congregation of waterfowl resting on Big Creek Marsh. These included a record number of Ruddy Ducks, and a few lingering herons. Overhead Sharp-shinned Hawks migrated west across Big Creek Marsh along with flocks of Blue Jays and American Crows. Flocks of American Goldfinch and Cedar Waxwings hurried westward, the usual flight direction at Holiday Beach. Hawk watcher Bob Hall-Brooks brought news of an Eastern Screech-Owl enjoying the warm sun on a broken poplar tree trunk. This comfortable perch had often been occupied by a rufous phase Eastern Screech-Owl during the 1999 fall migration. Oddly, the perch had remained empty this fall until Bob s fortuitous discovery.

While walking to the owl's roost, the group stopped to observe some of the season's first Dark-eyed Juncos foraging along a grassy parking lane, in the company of two Field Sparrows. The group set up telescopes on the grassy strip where the Festival of Hawks festival tent is usually located in September Telescopes gave a fine portrait view of a gray phase Eastern Screech-Owl which was fully alert, very much aware of the visitors. Kinglets called from the dogwood thickets behind while two Brown Creepers explored a poplar tree trunk in the woodlands.

Upon returning to the roadway beside the Trout Pond at 11:00 a.m., two Golden Eagles, an adult and an immature, were spotted over Big Creek Marsh. Participants were delighted with these sightings, anxiously scanning the skies for more Golden Eagles. Light northeast winds were indeed bringing good numbers of migrants by the hawk tower. Two kettles of Turkey Turkey Vultures were observed to the north, while Red-tailed Hawks, Sharp-shinned Hawks and straggling flocks of American Crows passed overhead. Sixty Turkey Vultures, dramatically dark against a deep blue sky, streamed over the hawk tower. The next Golden Eagle was seen at 11:20 a.m. This sighting was followed by good views of Red-shouldered Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, and a Cooper's Hawk.

At 11:40 a.m., another three Golden Eagles were seen together, followed at 11:45 a.m. by four Golden Eagles passing overhead, one behind the other. An American Kestrel was noted at 11:50 a.m., followed at 11:54 a.m. by yet three more Golden Eagles. An adult male Northern Harrier was spotted soaring overhead with Red-tailed Hawks.

Excited birders exclaimed as an adult Bald Eagle soared low to the west of the hawk tower. More Turkey Vultures kettled over the tower as birders headed out for lunch. Some who lingered in the parking lot saw another Golden Eagle overhead.

After lunch, the group explored the Conservation Area's northern nature trail. A light phase Rough-legged Hawk was seen overhead flying east at 1:50 p.m., then another Golden Eagle was observed at 2:10 p.m heading west. Birders explored several pine plantations for roosting owls, one unknown owl species flushed from its roost in the pine plantation across from the Conservation Area on County Road 50.

Banders Dorothy and Gary Balkwill reported that their banding total for the day was six raptors, five Sharp-shinned Hawks and an American Kestrel. The raptors overhead were intent upon migrating, oblivious to the banders' set-up. At 12:30 p.m., the station lost one of its nets when a Golden Eagle dropped from a height of two hundred feet, flew through the net, then evaded a second net by passing under it. Banders reported hearing the mist net material snap as the Golden Eagle flew through the net.

Our thanks to Paul Pratt for sharing his expertise and knowledge of Holiday Beach Conservation Area. 21 October 2000 was a memorable day at Holiday Beach as thirty-five Golden Eagles were observed by tower hawk watchers, a new one day record for Golden Eagles seen at this site.

Compilation of the day's sightings were provided by participant Paul DesJardins.

Total Species - 76

Total Bird Species - 64

Total Butterfly Species 4

Cabbage White Butterfly, Pieris rapae - 2

Clouded (Common) Sulfur, Colias philodice -1

American Painted Lady, Vanessa virginiensis -1

Monarch, Danaus plexippus -1

Total Odonata Species - 4

Familiar Bluet, Enallagma civile - 1

Common Green Darner, Anax junius - 6

Yellow-legged Meadowhawk, Sympetrum vicinum - 7

Black Saddlebags, Tramea lacerata - 1

Total Beetle Species - 2

Box Elder Beetle - 2

Southern Lady Beetle, Harmonia axyridis - +300

Northern Brown Snake - Road Kill -1

Northern Leopard Frog - 1

Reported by Betty Learmouth

Turkey Vulture
Photo: Sam Barone

Turkey Vulture
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Turkey Vulture
Photo: Sandra and Frank Horvath

Turkey Vulture
Photo: Derek S. Parkinson

Black Vulture
Photo: Gary Houghton

Turkey Vulture
Photo: Frank and Sandra Horvath

Turkey Vulture
Photo: Virgil Martin