At around 3:15 this afternoon, I made the hour-long drive to Point Pelee by myself.
I adore birding with Sylvain and want for us to do it together 95% of the time. But I don’t want to become one of those women who are so enmeshed in their marriages that they forget how to run away. Spur-of-the-moment escapades are important to our souls, don’t you think?
Bird Alert emails from the park today mentioned Hooded, Mourning and Connecticut Warblers near the tip tram stop. I decided to head over that way to see if any of those might still be hanging around.
Today was a scorcher, and I found myself at first wishing I’d donned shorts instead of jeans. Once I entered the forest, though, it was cooler. The woods have a different smell now, one of sweet flower fragrances and hot earth.
Walking slowly, I took time to examine Sensitive Fern and white violets. There were lots of picnickers and dog-walkers, but only a few serious birders.
At the end of the Woodland Trail where it intersects with the path to the mid-way tram stop, I spotted a promising bird high in a cedar. I was quite surprised when it turned out to be a WILSON’S WARBLER working near the trunk. The bird stayed in the cedar for a good five minutes, finally alighting on a not yet fully foliaged limb of a nearby deciduous tree, affording me a great view. It felt a little lonely not to have anyone around to whom to show this handsome little yellow bird with the black crown.
I decided not to wait for the tram, but instead to walk the rest of the way to the point, something I haven’t done in a couple of years. It proved to be a very good decision. I soon noticed that there was a lot–and I mean A LOT–of bird activity in the cedar trees. Almost every cedar had a variety of species in it.
In one cedar I had Redstart, Black-throated Green and Chestnut-sided. In another were a female Red-winged Blackbird, Blackpoll Warbler and Red-eyed Vireo. Another had a female Bay-breasted and a Black-throated Green. Each cedar tree I checked revealed the same feeding frenzy. There must be a particularly juicy insect hatching right now in the cedars!
I was near the speed limit sign not far from the midway tram stop when I saw something new high in yet another cedar. Good thing nobody was around, because what escaped my lips as I peered through the binoculars would not have been polite in mixed company. There where it really should not have been, plain as day, was a MOURNING WARBLER.
Once again, there was nobody around! It was hard to tear myself away, but I eventually did.
When a couple finally passed me going the other way, they told me about a bird they’d just seen at the tip with a “fuschia chest.” The fellow pulled out his digital camera and showed me a photo of a splotchy Summer Tanager. I thanked them and quickened my pace a bit.
Once I reached the tram stop, there were a few other birders around. A young woman and her dad had also noticed that the cedars were crazy busy. Together we identified 5 species (Magnolia Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Redstart, Nashville Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler) in one cedar near the tram loop while a rabbit nibbled dandelions at our feet. It was close to seven p.m. by then and dusk would soon be falling.
One new focus of mine is to practice identifying small flycatchers. I’m pretty sure I had the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher at one point, but since there was no expert there to confirm it and it didn’t vocalize for me, I won’t count it.
Several museums of Cedar Waxwings passed overhead going south. Yes, south.
Just as I was reaching the tip, I happened to look to my left in time to see the immature Summer Tanager sitting on the footpath picking apart a large bee. He seemed totally oblivious to my presence. I was about as engrossed in my activity as he was in his and almost missed the last tram back to the Nature Centre! Above the tram stop, a House Wren was entering and exiting her nest cavity. Barn Swallows were dive-bombing a persistent Grackle that wanted to raid their nests.
Even though dusk was falling, I dilly-dallied around the frog pond looking at ferns before calling it a day.
When I got back to Windsor, I had a text from Sylvain saying, “If you want to see five Screech Owl babies, come over now.”
What a birdy day!