Sunday 14 May 2017

Pelee 2017 Part 1/2: The Point

This year I decided to take a whole week off to do some bird watching in the Pelee region.  I spent the first 5 days at Point Pelee National Park  and surrounding area before heading over to Pelee Island for the weekend.  In this post, I will show you some of my favourite photos I took while at the Point. The winds were not optimal,with north and east winds for nearly the entire week, but on calmer nights the birds moved anyways!

I drove down to the area last Friday, in the midst of our drenching rainstorm that dumped a months worth of rain in 48hrs.  I wasn't expecting to find many birds in the rain, but was able to find a few good ones.

This Cliff Swallow looked so miserable, and must have been really cold as temperatures were in the single digits.
On Friday afternoon I walked around the park despite the rain, and found a few good species including Hooded Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat and Gray-cheeked Thrush, among others.  The chat was particularly co-operative and I saw this bird on 4 separate mornings (these photos were taken the next day when he had dried out a bit)!  They seem to be really around this year as several more have been seen throughout the park!
Yellow-breasted Chat

This Eared Grebe hung out on the east beach of the Point for a couple of days while I was there.  It floated by my quite close to shore, but large waves hampered me getting any great shots.

Eared Grebe

Baltimore Oriole

White-crowned Sparrow

Blue-headed Vireo
 The east beach of Point Pelee near the Sparrow Field

Barn Swallow posing for me

Red-headed Woodpecker

The famous "Serengeti Tree", the site of many previous Henslow's Sparrow sightings

Orchard Oriole

Magnolia Warbler
 We had a neat non-birding encounter with this weasel which I think is a Short-tailed Weasel.  At first I thought maybe Long-tailed but he was so fast it was hard to get a good look and harder to photograph!

On Tuesday May 9th the dam finally burst and we had lots of warblers and other great birds including 3 different male Summer Tanagers!  This one gave phenomenal views and appears to be a nearly fully adult bird.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager
 Among the warbler species seen this day were two Prothonotary Warblers.  We found this bird singing at the Woodland Trail away from the crowds watching another one at Bridge A.

Prothonotary Warbler
 The bird of the day for us was certainly this Kirtland's (not Kirkland's, for some reason this seems to be a popular misnomer) Warbler.  This is one of the rarest breeding songbirds in North America, that breeds mostly in young Jack Pine forests in Michigan.  This bird was so obliging and was content to forage along the beach in front of hordes of photographers.
Kirtland's Warbler

Scarlet Tanagers also arrived in good numbers.

Scarlet Tanager
We found this White-eyed Vireo on 3 separate occasions on the seasonal footpath north of Pioneer.  A really nice bird, but tough to photograph due to this species' preference for dense tangles.
White-eyed Vireo

In the next post I will detail the highlights from Pelee Island, stay tuned!

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