Well, if you're a birder, you have to love the month of May. All the birds coming back through on their way north, as well as a few rarities here and there make it the most birdy month of the year. Since I have most of the month off, I've been out birding as much as possible! Since my last post, I have added 23 birds to the year list, and should add many more before I head off to work. Some highlights:
May 5 I went to WPBO and birded the whole day with Jason Bojczyk. On the way over, I found 9 Willets at the Tahquamenon Rivermouth, which we went back for later in the day so Jason could get them as a lifer! The point was fairly productive, with my year Red-throated Loon, White-winged Scoter, Lincoln's Sparrow and a few others. A little after noon we decided to head out and bird some other areas. At the WPBO staff house we got the Lark Sparrow that had been hanging out since the previous day, and we found a nice male Spruce Grouse on Vermillion Rd. that allowed close approach. Out at Vermillion Beach, Jason spotted a Northern Mockingbird that wasn't very cooperative. We also found quite a few shorebirds, mostly Yellowlegs but with one Least Sandpiper. After that and the rivermouth, it was pretty late in the day so I had to head home. I finished the day with 90 species - fairly good for this early in the season!
After that, I biked around town once or twice, once to chase a Summer Tanager and once just to see what was around. Didn't end up seeing the Tanager, and didn't find anything else of interest really - the arrival of Common Terns was the highlight.
May 8 I went down to the locks in the middle of a snowstorm, and had 6 species of warbler along with several other birds that I think should be added to the winter list (there was snow on the ground!). Not as many shorebirds as I'd hoped for, but did have the first Spotted Sandpipers for the area this year. After that, I headed to Bellevue and met up with Ken, where there were 9 Lesser Yellowlegs and a Solitary Sandpiper on one of the mudflats, not much else of note. After that, we went on the Sault Naturalists hike to the Desbarats bat cave, and birded out east of town after. Highlights of the trip were an extremely early Great Crested Flycatcher, some lingering Tundra Swans that I added to the yearlist, 20 species of waterfowl including a Ruddy Duck that Ken found, and a Long-billed Dowitcher that I found at the Bruce Mines lagoons. It was pretty skittish, but allowed good scope views and was heard calling. There are only two records from the Sault area that I know of, both at WPBO, however this species should be close to annual - who knows.
Yesterday I got an email about some Pelicans down on the river, so naturally I hopped on the bike and spent a couple hours birding the Locks. The local Wood Duck was still there, along with 8 species of warblers and the two American White Pelicans that Bob found.
So, my year list currently stands at 210 species, and my bigby list is somewhere around 80-85. Lots of work yet to do... Pictures to come soon.
Winter Birding at Algonquin Park
8 hours ago