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A Report from birdtours.co.uk

     Southern Ontario, Canada: 15 to 25 May 2004,

Author

Peter Alfrey, Lee Dingain, Darryl Spittle and Chris Townend

Introduction
This was the first time that most of us had been anywhere in North America in the spring and therefore it was decided early on that the main aim of the trip would be to try and see as many species of wood-warbler as we could, rather than simply build up a large trip list. To this end we concentrated on birding the woodland trails, somewhat neglecting the wetland habitats and ended the trip with a very respectable total of 33 species of wood-warbler in nine days birding.

Itinerary
The first six days were spent at Point Pelee National Park (which took us about four hours to drive to from Toronto airport late at night), from which we also visited Rondeau Provincial Park. We allowed ourselves enough time to drive from here into Michigan for Kirtland's Warbler should the birding be quiet, but this proved to be unnecessary. We then moved on to the Long Point area (about a five hour drive) for three days before returning to Toronto via Niagara Falls (Long Point to Toronto airport via Niagara Falls is about a five hour drive).

Travel arrangements
We booked charter flights from London Gatwick to Toronto through Trailfinders which cost 288 per person. Outbound we flew with MyTravel, a company that would appear to sacrifice comfort of passengers for profit. I cannot recall ever having less leg room on a flight and the food wasn't great either. In addition the plane was delayed for five hours with no explanation as to why until we finally boarded. Our return flight was with Thomas Cook Airlines who were much better, providing much more leg room, a spotless plane, reasonable food and better service overall. The flight time was seven hours each way.

The hire car (with Alamo, again booked through Trailfinders) was a Chrysler Concord. The car was superb, being very comfortable, air conditioned and huge with plenty of room. The cost was 65 per person and this included a full tank of petrol. We found driving to be very easy once we had got used to the lack of cat-eyes on the roads at night.

Accommodation and food
We pre-booked a cottage at Pigeon Bay Cottages in Kingsville about 15 minutes west of Point Pelee National Park. The cottages are situated right on the shore of Lake Erie and are ideal for birders with plenty of birds around the gardens. The cost was approximately 69 per night split between four. Leamington had various places to eat but those we visited were of very average quality.

For our visit to Long Point we stayed at the cheap but rather grotty Queensway Motel in Simcoe, about a half hour drive away from the birding areas. Simcoe had various places to eat and we found the Barrels italian restaurant next door to the motel to be good. In hindsight we would have preferred to stay in Port Rowan which is much closer to Long Point and quite picturesque, but with limited accommodation.

Weather
The weather was generally warmer and calmer than we had anticipated. However, we did experience electrical storms and heavy downpours on several nights including one particularly violent storm on the 20th. The weather became more unsettled towards the end of our stay with occasional rain during the day.

Literature
We read several birding trip reports to get an idea of the logistics involved such as when to go, weather conditions, accommodation available, drive times, places to eat, as well what birds we could expect to see. For general navigation the MapArt Ontario (ISBN: 1-55198-277-3) road map was adequate, though not detailed enough for finding individual trails at the main sites or for finding smaller sites such as sewage lagoons.

Long Point, Point Pelee and Rondeau are all very well known birding destinations and we found that we could easily find out where to go to see target birds from other birders and park staff. However, we did find two guides particularly useful, if a little out of date - A Birder's Guide to Point Pelee (and surrounding Region) (Hince, T. 1999, ISBN: 0-9685310-0-8) and A Birding Guide to the Long Point Area (Skevington, J. et al. 1990). Both contain details of all the sites and trails we visited and were available to buy at the visitor centres. We also took A Bird-Finding Guide to Ontario (Goodwin, C. 1995, ISBN: 0-8020-6904-5) though we found it to be of limited use for the sites we visited.

For identification purposes The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America (Sibley, D. 2003, ISBN: 0-679-45120-X) was invaluable. We also had copies of A Field Guide to Warblers of North America (Dunn, J. and Garrett, K. 1997, ISBN: 0-395-78321-6) and New World Warblers (Curson, J. et al. 1994, ISBN: 0-7136-3932-6) which were useful at times.

Worm-eating Warbler, Point Pelee  Canada Warbler, Long Point  Black-billed Cuckoo, Point Pelee  Yellow Warbler, Point Pelee


Sightings

Rather than list the species seen separately for each site visited, we have decided to produce a list of the birds and other wildlife that we saw and against each species give the localities it was seen, the date and the numbers involved. This will enable you to look up a particular bird and see at a glance where we saw it. The sites we visited are all very well known and therefore we see very little point in reproducing site details in this report when these are already described with great accuracy elsewhere (see the literature section above).

Birds

Great Northern Diver Gavia immer 4 flew over the viewing platform at Big Creek National Wildlife Area on 24th.
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus Common and regularly seen along Lake Erie.
Least Bittern Ixobrychus exilis 1 from the viewing platform at Big Creek National Wildlife Area on 24th.
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias Seen at various locations but particularly Hillman Marsh.
Great White Egret Ardea alba Common around Hillman Marsh.
Green Heron Butorides virescens 1 at Port Rowan Cemetery, Long Point on 23rd and 5 there on 24th.
Black-crowned Hight Heron Nycticorax nycticorax 1 seen in flight near Port Rowan, Long Point on 22nd.
Mute Swan Cygnus olor 1 at Hillman Marsh on 17th. Several offshore opposite the Big Creek National Wildlife Area, Long Point.
Canada Goose Branta canadensis Common, including several pairs with large broods.
Wood Duck Aix sponsa Small numbers seen in wet forest areas.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos A few at Hillman Marsh on 17th.
Gadwall Anas strepera A pair at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
American Wigeon Anas americana 1 male at Hillman Marsh on 17th.
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata 1 male at Hillman Marsh on 17th and 18th and a pair at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors 1 male at Hillman Marsh on 17th and 18th and 2 males and 1 female at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca 1 male at Hillman Marsh on 18th.
Lesser/Greater Scaup Aythya affinis/marila 2 seen at great distance on Lake Erie on the north side of the road by the Big Creek National Wildlife Area, Long Point on 23rd.
Black Scoter Melanitta nigra 1 female flew south at Point Pelee tip on 19th.
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator Small numbers seen offshore at Point Pelee tip most days.
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis 1 male at Port Rowan Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Seen daily at Point Pelee and also seen around Hillman Marsh.
Osprey Pandion haliaetus 1 over at Point Pelee tip on 18th and 19th.
Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis 1 male at St. Williams Forest Station, Long Point on 22nd.
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus Singles seen occasionally at Point Pelee.
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii 2 were seen as part of a small movement of raptors south over Point Pelee on 19th.
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus 4 at Hillman Marsh on 16th. At least 5 were seen as part of a small movement of raptors south over Point Pelee on 19th.
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Several (mainly immatures) seen as part of a small movement of raptors south over Point Pelee on 19th. At least 1 at St. Williams Forest Station, Long Point on 23rd.
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis Several formed part of a small movement of raptors south over Point Pelee on 19th. 1 at Wilson Track, Long Point on 22nd. 2 at Backus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus 1 adult at Big Creek National Wildlife Area, Long Point on 22nd. 1 adult at Port Rowan Cemetery, Long Point on 23rd.
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1+ over at Point Pelee tip on 19th and 1 on wires along highway 59 near Bachus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 1 over Hillman Marsh on 17th and 1 over Point Pelee tip on 19th.
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus 1 heard at Hillman Marsh on 18th.
American Coot Fulica americana 1 at Big Creek National Wildlife Area, Long Point on 23rd.
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola Good numbers seen around Hillman Marsh on 16th and 18th.
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus Common.
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus Common at Hillman Marsh.
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus 2 at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes 1 at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria 1 at Hillman Marsh on 17th.
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia 1 at Hillman Marsh on 17th. 4 at Sleepy Hollow, Point Pelee on 19th. Several at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 5 at Point Pelee tip on 17th, 3 at Hillman Marsh on 18th and 1 at Point Pelee tip on 19th.
Sanderling Calidris alba 1 at Point Pelee tip on 19th.
Red Knot Calidris canutus 1 adult summer at Hillman Marsh on 18th.
Dunlin Calidris alpina Common at Hillman Marsh. Also 6 at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis 2 at Hillman Marsh on 18th.
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla Common. Many at Hillman Marsh on 17th and 18th, Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd and on the beach at Hasting's Drive, Long Point on 24th.
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla 1 at Hillman Marsh on 17th and 2 there on 18th. 8 at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus 1 at Hillman Marsh on 17th and 18th.
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus 3 at Hillman Marsh on 18th.
American Woodcock Scolopax minor 2 seen in display flight over the car park at the DeLaurier Trail, Point Pelee on 17th. 1 at St. Williams Forest Station, Long Point on 22nd.
Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor A pair Hillman Marsh on 18th and a pair at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus 3 three light adults flew south quite close inshore at Point Pelee tip on 17th. Apparently this sighting is the first ever spring record for Pelee.
Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 1 offshore at Point Pelee tip on 17th.
Bonaparte's Gull Larus philadelphia Seen at various points along Lake Erie and particularly abundant at Hillman marsh. Predominantly first summer birds with 2 adult summer birds seen at Hillman Marsh on 18th.
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla 1 adult summer at Hillman Marsh on 17th.
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis Common and seen daily around Point Pelee and Hillman Marsh. Predominantly first summer birds.
Herring Gull Larus argentatus Common along Lake Erie.
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 7 at Point Pelee tip on 17th.
Black Tern Chlidonias niger 1+ offshore at Sleepy Hollow, Point Pelee on 18th and 2 at Big creek National Wildlife Area, Long Point on 23rd.
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia 2 at Point Pelee on 17th.
Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri Common at Point Pelee tip and Hillman Marsh.
Feral Pigeon Columba livia Common.
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura Common.
Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus Several seen most days at Point Pelee tip (4 was our highest daily count) where birds were often very confiding. Also 1 at Rondeau visitor centre feeders on 20th.
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus Seen most days at Point Pelee tip (up to 3 was our highest daily count) and like Black-billed, where often confiding. Also 2 seen at Sleepy Hollow, Point Pelee on 19th and 1 at Bachus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.
Eastern Screech-Owl Otus asio 1 seen roosting in trees at Point Pelee on 16th.
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor 1 heard calling over Leamington town centre on the evening of the 16th. At Point Pelee: 2 over the DeLaurier Trail car park on 17th and 18th. 1 male flying around over the visitor centre car park at midday and 2 seen roosting in trees during the day along the Shuster Trail on 19th. In the Long Point area: 1 at St. Williams Forest Station on 22nd and a male at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons 23rd.
Whip-poor-will Caprimulgus vociferus A pair seen very well at dusk over the clearing at St. Williams Forest Station, Long Point on 22nd.
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica Seen daily in small numbers at Point Pelee at Rondeau.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris A surprisingly difficult bird to catch up with, most often seen flying past at great speed at Point Pelee tip. However, a female was seen well at Hillman Marsh on 17th and at 4 were seen at Rondeau on 20th, including at least 1 male at the visitor centre feeders.
Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon 1 over Pigeon Bay Cottages, Kingsville on the 16th and 2 over Point Pelee tip on 18th.
Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus A few were seen at Point Pelee tip most days and a pair were at Rondeau visitor centre feeders on 20th.
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus 1 at the tip and another on the Tilden's Woods Trail, Point Pelee on 19th. A pair at Rondeau visitor centre feeders on 20th.
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens Fairly common. Particulary easy to see at Point Pelee. A pair was also seen at the visitor centre feeders at Rondeau on 20th.
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus 1 seen at the visitor centre feeders at Rondeau on 20th.
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus 1 at Pigeon Bay Cottages, Kingsville and 2 at Point Pelee on 16th. 1 at Hillman Marsh on 17th. 1 at Point Pelee on 19th.
Olive-sided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi 1 at Point Pelee tip on 17th.
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens 1 seen at Point Pelee tip on 18th. Many others heard.
Willow Flycatcher Empidonax traillii 1 at Point Pelee tip on 18th.
Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus 2 along the DeLaurier Trail, Point Pelee on 17th. 1 at Point Pelee tip on 18th. 1 at Backus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher Empidonax flaviventris 1 seen at Point Pelee tip on 21st. 1 caught and ringed at Old Cut Field Station, Long Point on 22nd.
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe Several on the Tulip Tree Trail, Rondeau on 20th. 1 at Wilson Tract, Long Point on 22nd.
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus 1 at Point Pelee tip on 19th and 1 there on 21st. 1 at Wilson Track, Long Point on 22nd. 1 at Backus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus Fairly common.
Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus Frequently seen at Point Pelee.
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus 2 at Point Pelee tip on 19th. 1 on the Tulip Tree Trail and 1 on the Spicebush Trail, Rondeau on 20th. 1 at Point Pelee tip on 21st. 1 at Wilson Track, Long Point on 22nd.
White-eyed Vireo Vireo griseus 1 at Point Pelee on 16th and 1 at Point Pelee tip on 21st.
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus Common. Seen daily at Point Pelee and sites around Long Point.
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons 1-2 males at Point Pelee tip on 18th.
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius 1 at Point Pelee tip on 17th. 1 on the DeLaurier Trail, Point Pelee on 18th. 1 on the Tilden's Woods Trail on 19th. 1 on Tulip Tree Trail, Rondeau on 20th.
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata Common. Large numbers seen daily at Point Pelee with many heading south off the tip.
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos Uncommon.
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris 1 high over Point Pelee tip on 17th. 2 at Hillman Marsh on 18th. 1 near Backus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Common.
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota Fairly common.
Northern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis Fairly common.
Sand Martin Riparia riparia Fairly common.
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor Common.
Purple Martin Progne subis Fairly common, especially at Point Pelee.
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapilla 1 on the DeLaurier Trail, Point Pelee on 18th. 1 on the Tulip Tree Trail, Rondeau on 20th. 1 at Backus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor 2 on the Tulip Tree Trail, Rondeau on 20th.
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis 1+ at the Rondeau visitor centre feeders on 20th.
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus 1 at Point Pelee on 17th.
House Wren Troglodytes aedon Fairly common.
Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes 1 seen in the woods at Old Cut Field Station, Long Point on 22nd.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 1 on the DeLaurier Trail, Point Pelee on 18th. 1 at Point Pelee tip on 19th.
Blue-grey Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea Common at Point Pelee with many also birds seen heading south off the tip.
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis 2 near the South Point Trail, Rondeau on 20th. A few at Wilson Track, Long Point on 22nd.
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus Often seen in well wooded areas. 1 caught and ringed at Old Cut Field Station on 24th.
Veery Catharus fuscescens Often heard singing in dense woodland. 2 seen at Point Pelee on 16th and 1 seen there on 18th.
Grey-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus 4 seen at Point Pelee on 16th. 1 at Old Cut Field Station, Long Point on 23rd.
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina After some time searching 1 was seen well on the Spicebush Trail at Rondeau on 20th.
American Robin Turdus migratorius Abundant.
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis Fairly common.
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos 1 seen by the cafe at Rondeau on 20th.
Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum 1 at the DeLaurier Trail car park, Point Pelee on 17th. 1 at Sleepy Hollow, Point Pelee on 19th. 2 on the South Point Trail, Rondeau on 20th.
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum Abundant with up to 700 seen at Point Pelee tip on 18th.
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris Common.
Tennessee Warbler Vermivora peregrina 2 at Point Pelee on 16th. 1 at Point Pelee tip on 19th.
Nashville Warbler Vermivora ruficapilla 1 at Point Pelee tip on 16th. 1 at Point Pelee tip and 1 on the DeLaurier Trail, Point Pelee on 17th. 2 at Point Pelee tip on 18th and 1 at Point Pelee tip on 19th.
Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata 1 male along the DeLaurier Trail, Point Pelee on 18th. 1 at Wilson Track, Long Point on 22nd. 1 caught and ringed at Old Cut Field Station, Long Point on 24th.
Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora pinus 1 male around the clearing at St Williams Forest Station and 1 male Wilson Track, Long Point on 22nd. 1 male along the minor road just south of Backus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.
Northern Parula Parula americana 1 at Hillman Marsh on 17th. 1 male at Point Pelee tip on 18th.
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia By far the most numerous wood-warbler. Several nests were also seen.
Chestnut-sided Warbler Dendroica pensylvanica Common and seen at Long Point, Point Pelee and Rondeau.
Magnolia Warbler Dendroica magnolia Very common with good numbers seen at Point Pelee. Also seen at Rondeau and Long Point.
Cape May Warbler Dendroica tigrina 1 male on the Woodland Nature Trail and a female on the Shuster Trail, Point Pelee on 19th and a male on the Tulip Tree Trail, Rondeau on 20th.
Blackburnian Warbler Dendroica fusca Fairly common and seen at Long Point, Point Pelee and Rondeau.
Black-throated Blue Warbler Dendroica caerulescens 1 male at Point Pelee tip on 19th. 1-2 males at Old Cut Field Station, Long Point on 24th.
Cerulean Warbler Dendroica cerulea 1 male at Point Pelee tip on 17th.
Black-throated Green Warbler Dendroica virens Fairly common and seen at Long Point, Point Pelee and Rondeau.
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata 3 seen, all at Point Pelee tip: a female on 17th, a male on 18th and 1 on 21st.
Palm Warbler Dendroica palmarum 2 birds seen on Point Pelee tip on 16th.
Pine Warbler Dendroica pinus 1 late bird seen and photographed on Point Pelee tip on 19th.
Prairie Warbler Dendroica discolor 1 singing male seen well at St. Williams Forest Station, Long Point on 22nd (at the junction of the sand track and Norfolk Twp. East 1/4 line S.W.).
Blackpoll Warbler Dendroica striata Fairly common at Point Pelee.
Bay-breasted Warbler Dendroica castanea Fairly common.
Kirtland's Warbler Dendroica kirtlandii 1 well-watched 1st summer male seen well singing near the visitor centre at Point Pelee on 18th. This bird showed exceptionally well beside the path and saved us a lengthy detour into Michigan.
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia 1 female at Point Pelee tip on 16th. 1+ along the DeLaurier Trail, Point Pelee on 17th. 1 at Point Pelee tip on 21st.
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla Fairly common and seen at Long Point, Point Pelee and Rondeau.
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea 1 male seen well singing on the Tulip Tree Trail, Rondeau on 20th.
Worm-eating Warbler Helmitheros vermivora 1 seen and photographed on Point Pelee tip on 19th.
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas Fairly common.
Mourning Warbler Oporornis philadelphia 1 male on the DeLaurier Trail, Point Pelee on 18th. 1 on the Tulip Tree trail and 1 male on the South Point Trail, Rondeau on 20th. 1 male seen at Point Pelee tip on 21st.
Connecticut Warbler Oporornis agilis 1 1st summer bird seen at Point Pelee on 18th. 2 seen on Point Pelee tip on 21st.
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis 2 seen at the southern pond at Backus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapillus 1 seen in the woods at Old Cut Field Station, Long Point on 22nd.
Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis Uncommon but regularly seen.
Hooded Warbler Wilsonia citrina 1 singing male at St. Williams Forest Station, Long Point on 23rd.
Wilson's Warbler Wilsonia pusilla Fairly common at Point Pelee and Old Cut Field Station, Long Point.
Yellow-breasted Chat Icteria virens 1 seen at Sleepy Hollow, Point Pelee on 19th.
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea Seen often at Point Pelee. Also 1 male seen at Backus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra 1 1st summer male at Point Pelee tip on 21st.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus Fairly common.
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea Fairly common, especially at Point Pelee.
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis Seen often at Point Pelee and Long Point.
Eastern Towhee Pipilo erythrophthalmus 1 on the South Point Trail, Rondeau on 20th and another at St. Williams Forest Station, Long Point on 22nd.
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina Fairly common.
Clay-coloured Sparrow Spizella pallida 1 at Point Pelee tip on 16th. 1 at Point Pelee tip on 21st.
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla 1 at Point Pelee tip on 16th.
Vesper Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus 2 in a field beside the Norfolk Twp. East 1/4 line S.W. road (just north of the Highway 24 junction), near St. Williams Forest Station, Long Point on 22nd. 1 at Wilson Track, Long Point on 22nd.
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis 1 in a field beside the Norfolk Twp. East 1/4 line S.W. road (just north of the Highway 24 junction), near St. Williams Forest Station, Long Point on 22nd.
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia Seen infrequently.
Lincoln's Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii 1 on the Spicebush Trail, Rondeau on 20th. 2 at Point Pelee tip on 21st. 1 caught and ringed at Old Cut Field Station, Long Point on 22nd.
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana 1 along the Shuster Trail, Point Pelee on 19th.
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys Seen occassionally at Point Pelee tip.
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis 1 on Point Pelee tip on 19th.
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula Common at Point Pelee.
Orchard Oriole Icterus spurius Several seen daily at Point Pelee.
Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus 2 males heading south high over Point Pelee tip on 17th. 1 female at Point Pelee tip on 21st. A pair at Wilson Track, Long Point on 22nd. 1 male at Port Rowan Sewage Lagoons, Long Point on 23rd.
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus Abundant.
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula Abundant.
Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater Very common at Point Pelee.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Common.
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis Fairly common.
House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus 1 male on the feeders at Rondeau visitor centre on 20th.

Mammals

Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus Several seen.
Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus Several seen at Jarvis Sewage Lagoons on 23rd.
Eastern Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis Seen at Point Pelee and Rondeau, all of the black morph.
Eastern Chipmunk Tamias striatus Seen at Rondeau on 20th around the visitor centre feeders and on the Tulip Tree Trail.
Northern Racoon Procyon lotor 1 on the Woodland Nature Trail, Point Pelee on 16th. 1 across the main road just inside the park entrance at Point Pelee on 18th.
Striped Skunk Mephitis mephitis 1 beside road 3 just east of Blenheim on 20th.
White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus 1 ran across road 401 on 16th. 1 along the Spicebush Trail, Rondeau on 20th.

Reptiles

Eastern Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis 1 on the Tulip Tree Trail, Rondeau on 20th.
Fox Snake Elaphe vulpina 1 at Point Pelee visitor centre on 17th.
Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina 1 on the sand road at Buchus Woods, Long Point on 23rd.

Amphibians

Fowler's Toad Bufo fowleri 1 seen and photographed at Rondeau on 20th. Rondeau is one of only three localities in Ontario where Fowler's Toad is found.

Summary
Point Pelee is one of those destinations that all birders should visit at least once. It provides a great introduction to North American birds with most being in bright spring plumage and many in trees that were largely still free of leaves and not very tall. This is also a bonus if you are interested in photography and I came away with some reasonable photos without having to put in too much effort. We also recommend that you visit the Old Cut Field Station at Long Point. This gave us the opportunity to see many birds in the hand and the staff are very knowledgeable.

If you want a larger trip list then this can easily be achieved by visiting nearby wetland sites such as St. Clair National Wildlife Area, one of the sewage lagoons or by combining this itinerary with a visit to Algonquin Provincial Park about seven hours to the north. Overall we cannot recommend this trip enough and think you will return just as hooked on North American birds as we now are.

If you would like further details on any of our sightings or wish to give feedback on this report please email us at

lee.dingain@hotmail.co.uk

Photographs taken by and copyright © 2004 Lee Dingain

 

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