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Canada, Point Pelee and Michigan 9-24 May 2004

Leader:- Dave Milsom


Edward Baxter
David Goate
Bob & Janet Jones
Coreen Merriman
Allen Spicer
John & Audrey Threadgold
Kevin White

 Picture:- Black-throated Blue Warbler

Day 1:

Due to an aircraft fault, the flight from Gatwick was delayed.

Day 2:

The group arrived 07.00 on Monday so fortunately, very little birding time had been lost. To maximise birding time for the rest of the day, we then drove straight to Rondeau Provincial Park, an hour east of Point Pelee, where we were greeted by beautiful weather and great birding. The Bennett Trail was alive with warblers and other migrants, low down in fairly leafless shrubs, bushes and trees. Superb views were obtained of Parula, Yellow, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, Palm, up to 12 Black-and-white, 2 Prothonotary, and both Northern and Louisiana Waterthrushes. A female Hooded on the Spicebush Trail, several woodpeckers including a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches and a Rusty Blackbird were other highlights. Later we visited Blenheim Sewage Lagoons to find late-migrating ducks, a Stilt Sandpiper, Pied-billed and 2 Horned Grebes.

Day 3:

We left our Chatham hotel early and headed for Point Pelee. Many birds had arrived overnight so we rushed into Tilden's Woods where we encountered a large number of birds, including a Cooper's Hawk male exchanging duties with a female on the nest, a Merlin, Cape May & Tennessee Warblers and 2 early Blackpoll Warblers, Next, we visited the famous "Tip" where we discovered some rarities with a Grasshopper Sparrow and a Prairie Warbler both seen well along the west beach, followed by fleeting views of Black-billed Cuckoo and a Henslow's Sparrow which we surrounded, only for it to completely disappear! Soon after, we had good looks at an Orange-crowned warbler. At night we again had dinner at a fine little Irish pub situated right next door to our hotel. The fish and chips were excellent!

Day 4:

A full day at Pelee with some interesting reverse migration off the Tip, including a Dickcissel. There was also some fine raptor movement including a Goshawk flying over Post Woods, a Peregrine and an Osprey whilst an Eastern Screech-owl was seen well through telescopes in a heavily foliated apple tree. Several new species of warbler were seen including our only Cerulean Warbler of the tour on the Woodland Nature Trail, a female Mourning Warbler behind the train station, and a pair of Yellow-breasted Chats at De Laurier. Most of the group also enjoyed superb views of a Henslow's Sparrow on the west beach. The weather again was hot and sunny, so we headed to Wheatley Provincial Park after dinner to search (in vain) for a Harris' Sparrow, and at dusk to enjoy displaying American Woodcock. The latter put on a fabulous show at campsite # 104.                       

Day 5:

Another lovely day at Point Pelee. Birding was good but we worked hard for new species, finding a co-operative Olive-sided Flycatcher on a dead snag over the water on the Woodland Trail, 2 Canada Warblers on the Redbud trail, a pair of Virginia Rails at the marsh, and a Black-crowned Night-heron near Hillman's Marsh. The shorebird reserve here produced our only Pectoral Sandpiper of the trip. The most exciting birding was reserved for the evening however, when we visited St. Clair National Wildlife Refuge. Here new birds were found included an adult and 2 young Great Horned Owls, 2 Least Bitterns, a vocal Yellow-headed Blackbird, Sora, many Marsh Wrens and calling American Bitterns.

Day 6:

Point Pelee had been very busy with people on the Thursday so today we opted to return to Rondeau which was a very successful decision!  We had the South Point Trail virtually to ourselves and quickly found some excellent birds including a Black-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, a Laughing Gull on the beach and a singing Yellow-throated Vireo followed by the best bird of the day, a male Yellow-throated Warbler. On the Spicebush Trail a male Kentucky Warbler gave brief but clear views. Harrison Avenue was also good but the heat finally caused the afternoon birding to be slow so we watched the feeders for a time. Then we went off to Blenheim Lagoons again but this was also quiet.                       

Day 7:

A 05.00 start to Detroit, where we spent almost an hour signing papers before being allowed to head north into Michigan. Reaching Whitefish Point about 15.30, we were enthralled to see so many birds visiting the feeders there on this cool day. Highlights were a male Dickcissel, Clay-coloured and American Tree Sparrows, a Dark-eyed Junco, female Purple Finch and 5 Evening Grosbeaks. Meanwhile overhead there was quite a raptor passage with an adult Golden Eagle and Broad-winged and Rough-legged Hawks. A Ruffed Grouse by roadside was our only new species of the evening as no owls were found or banded so we "hit the sack" a tired but contented group.    

Day 8:

An early morning 'seawatch' at the point was windy so few birds were seen except for several Common Loons, White-winged Scoters, Red-necked Grebes, and our first Greater Scaup. We were soon heading for Seney but stopped first for a great cooked breakfast at Timberland Charlie's in Newberry. On the Driggs Road section of the huge Seney National Wildlife Area, we temporarily lost two of our group when the proposed parallel line (to flush grouse) disappeared but 21 Sharp-tailed Grouse were eventually seen as well as Sandhill Cranes, Eastern Meadowlark, Brown Thrasher, Vesper Sparrows and Brewer's Blackbirds. On the wildlife drive through Seney we enjoyed some good looks at Hooded Mergansers, Trumpeter Swans and other waterfowl.

Day 9:

An early start searching for Gray Jay and Black-backed Woodpecker proved fruitless but our luck changed when a young male Spruce Grouse was spotted by the side of Vermilion Road. After photos were taken, we shortly afterwards encountered an American Bittern running along the road next to a marsh! We then continued to the beach where we enjoyed superb views of a pair of Piping Plover. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful until we hit the beach at Whitefish Point after heavy rains had ceased. Birds were "everywhere": raptors, shorebirds, ducks, passerines. It was a wonderful hour spent here.

Day 10:

For the second year in succession, the "can't miss" Gray Jays at Hulbert failed to appear. The only compensation were Golden-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren and Red-bellied Woodpecker with Yellow-bellied Sapsucker & Evening Grosbeaks at a nearby feeder. Another fine breakfast was followed by great views of Upland Sandpipers and 3 more Sharp-tailed Grouse at Raco Airfield but alas no Pileated Woodpecker. Pine Siskins were seen in the village before we drove off to Grayling. Soon after reaching the "reserve", we encountered a singing male Kirtland's Warbler, which eventually gave all the group very good looks. At our hotel in the evening, Wild Turkeys strutted around the feeders and White-tailed Deer ambled in for a feed.

Day 11:

Off to Tawas Point in Saginaw Bay where the weather was fine. Our first steps down the trail looked ominous but suddenly there were warblers "dripping" from the bushes. Even though the point had been severed by storms, much good habitat was still available. Best find was a singing Western Meadowlark near the lighthouse. The early start enabled us to leave Michigan prior to some nasty tornadoes, which hit the state in the late afternoon. We even had time to bird in Windsor but our search for Tufted Titmouse proved fruitless. We arrived at Adams Motel in Kingsville for 3 nights and enjoyed dinner at the Aragon Restaurant in town.

Day 12:

The tip at Point Pelee was quiet so we headed towards Rondeau, first stopping at Hillman's where we viewed Black Duck and Semipalmated Sandpipers and then at Blenheim Lagoons where we found a pair of gorgeous Wilson's Phalaropes. At Rondeau, we had super photographic opportunities for Prothonotary Warbler as well as our first Acadian Flycatcher along Harrison Road. On our way back to Kingsville, we were surprised to find a Baird's Sandpiper and not one but 3 Cattle Egrets!

Day 13:

As usual, when the weather has been bad, the birding is great! Overnight torrential rains caused the Point Pelee area to be flooded (the golf course looked like a lake) so we headed straight to the tip. Within minutes, 2 Connecticut, 3 Mourning and a female Golden-winged Warbler, a Grey-cheeked Thrush and several cuckoos, flycatchers and vireos had been seen. We flagged the train down as we exited Sparrow Field just as another downpour was beginning. At the Visitor Centre we examined a Common Nighthawk on a limb. A great morning to end our stay at Point Pelee!

Day 14:

We left Adams early for Long Point, where we searched first for Pileated Woodpecker. After a long wait, two of the group saw a large "Black-type" woodpecker fly across the road but that was it. Our intended walk into Backus Woods for Cerulean and Hooded warblers was aborted when the mosquitoes drove us out! Jungle juice was swirling around our heads but there were too many of them! Old Cut Banding Station was quiet but Big Creek Marsh gave good views of Black Tern, Pied-billed Grebe and Marsh Wrens. An after-lunch stop in Big Creek woods was worthwhile for an adult Eastern Screech-owl with 3 young. The Walsingham Woods were full of mosquitoes so we again left after being visited by an adult Red-shouldered Hawk. After dinner, we took the 1/4 Line to a spot where 4 Whip-poor-wills responded well to the tape!


Some hotline spots were en-route to Niagara so we first stopped at Jarvis Lagoons, where a co-operative Black-necked Stilt was well seen. At Rock Point, the Tricoloured Heron had left so we headed to Niagra Falls. After photos had been taken, we drove to Toronto for our final stop on our fifth Great Lake: Ontario. Here at Sir Sam Smith Park the weather had turned very cool. Those who braved the hike to the end of the spit were rewarded with a Surf Scoter, 4 Long-tailed Ducks and 2 Ruddy Turnstones. Then Bob spotted a gull offshore: a first-summer Glaucous! This proved to be the record-breaking bird of this tour, the 237th species. Evening departure back to the UK.

Day 16:

Morning arrival back in the UK

Overall, the weather had been very warm until the rains of the final few days; we had seen a total of 36 Wood Warblers and visited some exceptionally rich migrant traps along the Great Lakes.


1 Great Northern Diver Gavia immer
2 Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus                                                                  
3 Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
4 Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
5 Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
6 Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
7 Great White Egret Ardea alba
8 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
9 Green Heron Butorides virescens
10 Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax
11 Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis
12 American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus
13 Trumpeter Swan Cygnus buccinator
14 Mute Swan Cynus olor
15 Canada Goose Branta canadensis
16 Wood Duck Aix sponsa
17 American Wigeon Aix americana
18 Gadwall Anas strepera
19 Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
20 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
21 Black Duck Anas rubripes
22 Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
23 Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
24 Canvasback Aythya americana
25 Redhead Anas americana
26 Ring-necked Duck Anas collaris
27 Greater Scaup Aythya marila
28 Lesser Scaup Anas affinis
29 Black Scoter Melanitta nigra
30 Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata
31 White-winged Scoter Melanitta fusca
32 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
33 Bufflehead Bucephala Albeola
34 Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis
35 Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
36 Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus
37 Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
38 Common Merganser Mergus merganser
39 Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
40 Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
41 Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
42 Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
43 Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
44 Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus
45 Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
46 Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus
47 Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
48 Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus
49 Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
50 Osprey Pandion haliaetus
51 American Kestrel Falco sparverius
52 Merlin Falco columbarius
53 Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
54 Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus
55 Spruce Grouse Falcipennis canadensis
56 Sharp-tailed Grouse Tympanuchus phasianellus
57 Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
58 Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo
59 Virginia Rail Rallus limicola
60 Sora Rail Porzana carolina
61 Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
62 American Coot Fulica americana
63 Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis
64 Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
65 Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
66 Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
67 Piping Plover  Charadrius melodus
68 American Woodcock Scolopax minor
69 Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica
70 Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda
71 Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
72 Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
73 Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
74 Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
75 Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
76 Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
77 Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus hendersonii
78 Sanderling Calidris alba
79 Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
80 Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
81 White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis
82 Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii
83 Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
84 Dunlin Calidris alpina
85 Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus
86 Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor
87 Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
88 American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus
89 Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
90 Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
91 Bonaparte's Gull Larus philadelphia
92 Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
93 Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
94 Common Tern Sterna hirundo
95 Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
96 Black Tern Chlidonias niger
97 Feral Pigeon Columba livia
98 Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
99 Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus
100 Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus
101 Eastern Screech-owl Otus asio
102 Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
103 Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor
104 Whip-poor-will Caprimulgus vociferus
105 Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica
106 Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris
107 Belted Kingfisher Ceryle halcyon
108 Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus
109 Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
110 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius
111 Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
112 Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
113 Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus
114 Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
115 Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi
116 Eastern Wood-pewee Contopus virens
117 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris
118 Acadian Flycatcher Empidonax virescens
119 Alder Flycatcher Empidonax alnorum
120 Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii
121 Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus
122 Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
123 Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
124 Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
125 Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris
126 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
127 Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
128 Purple Martin Progne subis
129 Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
130 Sand Martin Riparia riparia
131 Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonata
132 Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens
133 Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
134 Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris
135 Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
136 Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
137 House Wren Troglodytes aedon
138 Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
139 Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
140 Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum
141 Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
142 Veery Catharus fuscescens
143 Grey-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus
144 Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
145 Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
146 Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina
147 American Robin Turdus migratorius
148 Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
149 Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa
150 Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea
151 Black-capped Chickadee Parus atricapillus
152 Tufted Titmouse Parus bicolor
153 Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis
154 White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
155 Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
156 American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
157 Common Raven Corvus corax
158 Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
159 White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus
160 Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius
161 Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
162 Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus
163 Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
164 Eastern Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus
165 Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora pinus
166 Golden-winged Warbler Vermivora chrysoptera
167 Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina
168 Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata
169 Nashville Warbler Vermivora ruficapilla
170 Northern Parula Parula americana
171 Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia
172 Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica
173 Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia
174 Cape May Warbler Dendroica tigrina
175 Black-throated Warbler Dendroica caerulescens
176 Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler Dendroica coronata
177 Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens
178 Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca
179 Pine Warbler Dendroica pinus
180 Yellow-throated Warbler Dendroica dominica
181 Kirtland's Warbler Dendroica kirtlandii
182 Prairie Warbler Dendroica discolor
183 Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum
184 Bay-breasted Warbler Dendroica castanea
185 Blackpoll Warbler Dendroica striata
186 Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea
187 Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
188 American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
189 Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea
190 Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus
191 Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis
192 Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla
193 Kentucky Warbler Oporornis formosus
194 Connecticut Warbler Oporornis agilis
195 Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia
196 Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
197 Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina
198 Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla
199 Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis
200 Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens
201 Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea
202 Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
203 Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
204 Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana
205 White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
206 White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
207 Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
208 Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
209 Henslow's Sparrow Ammodramus henslowii
210 Grasshopper sparrow Ammodramus savannarum
211 American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea
212 Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina
213 Clay-coloured Sparrow Spizella pallida
214 Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla
215 Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus
216 Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus
217 Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
218 Evening Grosbeak Coccothraustes vespertinus
219 Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
220 Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea
221 Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula
222 Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius
223 Purple Finch Carpodacus purpureus
224 House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
225 Pine Siskin Carduelis pinus
226 American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
227 Yellow-headed Blackbird Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
228 Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
229 Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna
230 Western Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta
231 Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
232 Brewer's Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus
233 Rusty Blackbird Euphagus carolinus
234 Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
235 Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus
236 Dickcissel Spiza americana
237 House Sparrow Passer domesticus


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