Tuesday 16 May 2017

Pelee 2017 Part 2/2: The Island

I caught the Jiimaan Ferry to Pelee Island on Wednesday morning and was happy to be in a more secluded, peaceful spot.  The park is great, but it is crowded with mobs of people and I always appreciate the slower pace of the island. I spent the next few days birding all the usual spots: Fish Point, Sheridan's Point, Middle Point, Lighthouse Point, the winery trails etc.

Fish Point is one of my favourite spots to bird watch in Ontario.  The trails are idyllic and uncrowded and often reveal some great birds!

The tip of Fish Point was still somewhat intact, unlike at Point Pelee

Birding Fish Point in the evening is great.  The warblers come out to the edge of the short trees and the sunlight behind you illuminates them perfectly.

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Scarlet Tanager

Cape May Warblers are one of my favourites. As their latin name 'tigrina' suggests, they indeed have striping and colouration like a tiger.
Cape May Warbler
 The trails at the Winery are always worth a check.

Lincoln's Sparrow
 Depending on the winds, Sheridan's Point can be crammed with birds or really slow.  Unfortunately this time it was the latter.

Veery were the most common thrush next to robins.

Fish Point trail
 Sometimes I like pictures that are a bit more zoomed out to show the habitat a bird is using.  I rather like this photo of the Great Crested Flycatcher at Fish Point.
Great Crested Flycatcher
 Indigo Buntings are one of those birds that non-birders go crazy for when they first see them.  And I have to admit, they sure are beautiful!

Indigo Bunting
 This shot of the Indigo Bunting is one of my favourite shots of the trip.

Fox Squirrels are only found on Pelee Island in Ontario.  They are large, almost like a small, fat, clumsy cat with a propensity for running in front of your car at the last second.  I nearly ran several of them over this past week.  I would have much rather hit that cat that I saw hunting Palm Warblers on the beach at Fish Point!

Palm Warblers were by far the most abundant warbler on the island.  They were literally everywhere some days, even on lawns.  I can see 7 in the shot below.

Bryan and Charlotte arrived on Thursday afternoon, and we continued out streak of finding Summer Tanagers, with our 4th of the week being this beautiful female!  Something about this rare bird that really gets me excited!

Summer Tanager
 She was very content to forage in our presence and at one point flew over our heads.

Female Scarlet Tanagers were also present.  Some people mistake the two, but note the smaller bill, lemon yellow body and darker wings.
Scarlet Tanager
 Raptors are always few and far between on the island.  But we did have this nice Merlin sitting near the tip.
 We didn't really look for herps this time, but did see several melanistic (black) Gartersnakes like this one below.

We visited the Stone Road Alvar briefly, a really unique spot.

The waves at Lighthouse point subsided as the weekend neared, allowing you to walk most of the way down the beach.

It was here on Saturday morning, before I had to leave, that we saw the young male Summer Tanager found earlier in the day (our 5th Summer Tanager of the week!).  This bird was also very obliging and foraged for flies and bugs over our heads.

Summer Tanager #5

The other special bird we saw on the island was this wonderful young male Prairie Warbler.  Thanks to Richard Pope for letting us know if was there!  We saw this bird on both Friday and Saturday.

Prairie Warbler

My only shot of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, they are too quick to photograph usually

On my last morning on the island I took this shot of the nearly full moon.

On the ferry ride back to the mainland I was trying to catch some sleep below deck, but when I looked out the window I saw an American White Pelican!  A great finale for a wonderful week in the Pelee Region!


  1. Replies
    1. You are right! I had to take a look, missed the one in the sunlit grass!