Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Point Pelee 2018

I had a fantastic trip to Point Pelee National Park and the surrounding area last week.  I again camped at White Pine within the park with 14 other members of the Sault Naturalists.   Here is a quick summary of the trip:

I left Sault Ste. Marie at 5:30am and by just after noon, I was already on my first lifer of the trip.  Just as I stopped at Pelee Wings to check out their feeders, I received word of a Little Gull at Hillman Marsh Conservation Area.  When I arrived, it was actually to the very left of all the other gulls, so it was very easy to see.


After spending about an hour and a half there, I headed to the park and set up my tent, then got right back into the birding.  It didn't take me long to get my second lifer of the trip, a Kentucky Warbler.


A little rain came down, but luckily it happened during supper time.  After it stopped, I was straight back to birding.  The park was basically empty at this point, but the birds were everywhere.  By the time I arrived back at camp, as it was getting pretty dark out, I was up to 97 species since I arrived within the Point Pelee Birding Area.  The challenge this year was to get 100 species in one day, so I knew I couldn't quit yet.  I drove up to DeLaurier Homestead and it took all of 15 seconds to hear an American Woodcock.  Up next was the Marsh Boardwalk, where in the first 100m of the boardwalk, I managed to hear both Marsh Wren and American Bittern.  100 species!

The next day produced two lifers as well.  First, I got this Hooded Warbler.


And later in the day, I got a Golden-winged Warbler, but not a good picture.


After my first full day of the trip, I ended up with 125 species.  Other than the two lifers, I didn't really see many birds of note, but I did see a lot of birds!

Day number three started out with a sighting of a Pileated Woodpecker.  I believe this was only the fourth sighting of one ever in the park.  It was crazy to see all the people running to get a look at this bird, considering I see them almost everyday at home.  There was also a Prairie Warbler, a species I'd only ever seen before in Cuba.


In the early afternoon, word got out that two American Avocets were back at Hillman Marsh, so I raced over there and got them, a lifer for me.


I also got a decent photo of a Willet.


And there was a Great Horned Owl across the pond, roosting in a tree.


The excitement for the morning of day four was a pair of American White Pelicans at the tip of Point Pelee.


In the afternoon, I went to Wheatley Harbour to see a Snowy Owl that was hanging out on the rocks there.  It was so cool to see on so late into the spring.


So, after three and a half days, I ended up with 170 species within the Point Pelee Birding Area, including five lifers.  The Sault Naturalists ended up smashing their combined group record, with 197 species, beating the previous record, which was set only last year, of 175 species.  It was a great trip and I'm already looking forward to next year!

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