After all the rarities we saw in the early days of May, was it too much to expect more? Of course not! During May, it’s all about the crazy birds that show up, and I was thrilled to chase as many as possible, including a Cerulean Warbler back at Ashbridges Bay where the previous day we all chased a Prarie Warbler.
Cerulean Warbler: One of the Few that are Not Yellow:
Over the next few days, at Tommy Thompson Park and Colonel Samual Smith Park, migrants began to slowly make their way north, including a Rose-breasted Grossbeak, Indigo Bunting and a lovely Blue-winged Warbler. Also there was a rare coyote sighting at Col. Sam, which is always fun, as long as it doesn’t eat you.
Of course, it wouldn’t be spring without baby birds:
Next it was off to Rondeau Provincial Park for their Festival of Flight, one of two great migration Hot Spots in Southern Ontario. Sue doesn’t come on all my crazy birding adventures, but migration is a different story and she came with dreams of a “magical” Fallout. Fallouts occur occasionally during migration when the perfect storm of foul weather and large flocks of migrating birds crossing the lake intersect, forcing said birds to land, exhausted and put on a great show for birders who happen upon them at just the right time.
We arrived early enough at the Harrison Trail leading out from the Pony Barn and in the first hour and a half had walked barely 400 feet and could still see the trailhead, the birds were so thick. I had seen Fallouts on a couple of occasions, including a great one in Florida in 2012 and a very brief one in Toronto a few years ago. Sue had never seen one and was finally witnessing the amazing sight of warblers sitting exhausted in trees, barely moving and birds that normally are high up in the canopy just walking about on the edge of the paths. In all, we saw 23 warbler species on one of the most memorable days of birding for either of us.
Cape May Warbler:
Finally, after 7 years, my first photo of a Golden-winged Warbler:
Baltimore and Orchard Orioles:
This poor, single White-winged Dove has returned to Rondeau for a couple of years now, in the spring, without a mate, as they are normally found in Florida, Arizona and Texas. Even still, this sole representative of the species couldn’t help start building a nest, in the vain hope of another of the opposite sex arriving any day.
Unfortunately it chose an odd place for the nest, the windshield wiper well of a pickup truck. Good thing there were no eggs to be laid here.
A young birder proved that age and experience aren’t always necessary for spotting tough to see birds, when she pointed out a Whip-poor-will high in a bare tree that afternoon. I was able to capture the shot with my iPhone through my birding scope.
One of the prized warblers to see during migration is the beautiful Prothonotary Warbler:
Magnolia and Canada Warblers are pretty nice themselves:
Red-headed Woodpecker and Purple Martin:
Though the Rondeau trip and the bulk of Warbler Migration was over, there was still another week or so of migration to come, which I shall update in my next installment.