Ontario May 2014. Images Here

Point Pelee Ontario and Hartwick National Park Michigan 10 -21 May 2014

Fifteen years since we birded Point Pelee Ontario, we always said as we left Canada in 1999 we would return. When one hits a super birding spot for a second time it's rarely as good as the first, but Pelee certainly was! Our direct flights were booked last November from Dublin to Toronto, then a three and a half drive to Leamington. Our hotel the Talbot Trail in Leamington was super with only a twenty minute drive to Pelee. We stayed for seven nights before driving to Michigan to see Kirtland's Warbler. We met the reserve warden at Hartwick NP for the 11am tour, we all proceeded to a site where a male was in song and showed very well. Four were heard or seen including a female which was undecided which male she fancied the most. When we got back from the tour, several Evening Grosbeak's were on feeders stuck to the windows of the Hartwick NP headquarters. We got a site for Cley Colored Sparrow next day and had a pair at the car park, to our delight several Kirtland's were in song were we had superb views just by pure chance. Next day we drove back to Ontario to Pelee for a few more days. On our last day enroute to Toronto we stopped in at Rondeau to try for Prothonotary Warbler, one male was in song and performed well.

 

Our days at Pelee started on the Point early am to see what dropped in overnight, some mornings were busy with migrants deciding to fly out or stay to feed up a bit more. This was always a good indication to see if we birded the tip or go deeper into the woods, some mornings after rain the tip was littered with birds and the whole day could pass timeless working on the rares. Quiet mornings meant one could bird the woods or pop over to Hillman's Marsh for waders and gulls, one is always busy birding at Pelee. Common migrants and some breeders are Yellow, Yellow rumped, Black & White Warblers, Red eyed Vireo, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat and Catbird. Others are Baltimore Oriole, American Robin and Downy Woodpecker. Blackbirds, Grackles and plenty more. You can see from the list below how common or not birds are. We saw in seven days at Pelee twenty eight species of warbler but missed four more at Pelee. Kirtland's was only at Hartwick NP Michigan and Prothonoary at Rondaeu NP Ontario, There are several hotels, motels and bed & breakfast in Leamington but you need to book well in advance as Pelee is just busy with birders and birds during the festival.

 

Hillman's Marsh was most days full of birds including Short billed Dowitchers, Dunlin, Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers. Forster's and Caspian Tern's. Herring, Ring billed and Bonaparte's Gulls. A few duck including Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, American Wigeon, Blue and Green Winged Teal just to mention a few. Rare waders included Wilson's and Red necked Phalarope, Rare Gulls included Franklin's and Little. It's just a super spot with a blind/hide recently put up which means one can bird in comfort while it rains.

 

Michigan is a different type of birding in deep woodland but its where you need to be to see Kirtland's Warbler. Twice daily tours bring you out to see a male or two in song, they can be a difficult bird to see as they sing just a foot or two off the ground on the lower Jack Pine branches. The guide's know's how to find these birds for you and seldom fail. The feeders stuck onto the windows at the centre have Rose breasted and Evening Grosbeaks, Red breasted Nuthatch, Black capped Chickadee. The wood has a good population of Ruffed Grouse. The journey from Pelee to Grayling Michigan is via Detroit then straight too Grayling where we stayed overnight, it takes about four hours to drive on very good roads. Beware we lost an hour at the US immigration at 06:30 am. If your not Canadian or American it can be a bit of an nightmare, some of the staff think they are Miami Vice and are just downright ignorant. Coming back through Canadian immigration was smooth.

 

Rondeau National Park is almost enroute back to Toronto Airport so we popped in early am to see if we could catch up with Prothonotary Warbler, after twenty minutes boom! Andrea picked up a singing bird which gave super views high in trees. It moved on but low and behold twenty minutes later it did the same thing again.

 

Below is a list of species seen between the above sites, underlined are links to images, or if one has time the link at the top and bottom of this page brings you to page by page of images taken on the trip. Twelve days in total mostly at Pelee comes highly recommended from us, normally when one visits a birding hot spot for a second time it disappoints but not Pelee, it just got Better! Most of the Flycatchers listed below were identified by the birdguides from @TropicalBirding and @PointPeleeNP. We must say the guides were just superb and patient, most of the birders present at the Connecticut Warbler twitch would not have seen it only for them.

Paul and Andrea Kelly 2014.

Complete list of birds.
Common (C) Localised (L) Rare (R)
Canada Goose (C) American Herring Gull (C) Grey Catbird (C)
Trumpeter Swan (2) Michigan. American Black Tern (C) Cedar Waxwing (C)
Wood Duck (C) Forster's Tern (C) Brown Thrasher (L)
Gadwall(L) Common Tern (C). Northern Mockingbird (C). Mitchigan.
American Wigeon (C) Caspian Tern (C) European Sarling (C)
Mallard (C) Mourning Dove (C) Ovenbird (C)
Blue winged Teal (C) Yellow billed Cuckoo (3) Louisiana Waterthrush (2).
Northern shoveler (C). Black billed Cuckoo (2) Northern Waterthrush (C).
Northern Pintail (2) Eastern Screech Owl (1). Blue winged Warbler (1).
Green winged Teal (L) Common Nighthawk (6) Black & White Warbler (C).
Redhead (1) Chimney Swift (C) Prothonotary Warbler (1). Rondeau NP. Ontario.
Greater Scaup (2) Ruby throated Hummingbird (L) Tennessee Warbler (L)
Lesser Scaup (2) Belted Kingfisher (1) Orange crowned Warbler (1)
Black Scoter (8). Red headed Woodpecker (L) Nashville Warbler (C)
Buffelhead (2). Red bellied Woodpecker (L). Connecticut Warbler (1) Rare.
Red breasted Merganser (C).1000's Yellow bellied Sapsucker (L) Mourning Warbler (1).
Ruddy Duck (1). Downy Woodpecker (C) Common Yellowthroat (C)
Ruffed Grouse (1) Mitchigan. Northern Flicker (3). American Redstart (C).
Wild Turkey (C) American Kestrel (2) Mitchigan. Kirtland's Warbler (7) Mithigan, Hartwick NP.
Pacific Loon (1) Olive sided Flycatcher (L). Cape May Warbler (L).
Common Loon (C) Eastern Wood Pewee (C) Northern Parula (C)
Double crested Cormorant (C) Yellow bellied Flycatcher (1) Magnolia Warbler (C).
American Bittern (1) Acadian Flycatcher (1). Bay breasted Warbler (L).
Least Bittern (1) Alder Flycatcher (1). Blackburnian Warbler (C).
Green Heron (L) Willow Flycatcher (1) Yellow Warbler (C).
Black crowned Night Heron (1) Least Flycatcher (L) Chestnut sided Warbler (C)
Great White Heron (L) Eastern Kingbird (C) Blackpoll Warbler (C)
Great Blue Heron (C) Great Crested Flycatcher (L) Black throated Blue Warbler (C).
Turkey Vulture (C) Eastern Phoebe (L) Palm Warbler (C).
Osprey (L). Bell's Vireo (1) Yellow rumped Warbler (C)
Bald Eagle (L). Yellow throated Vireo (1). Prairie Warbler (2)
Sharp shinned Hawk (L). Blue headed Vireo (2) Black throated Green Warbler (C)
Coopers Hawk (L) Warbling Vireo (C) Canada Warbler (C)
Northern Goshawk (1). Philadelphia Vireo (L) Wilson's Warbler (L).
Red tailed Hawk (L). Red eyed Vireo (C) Eastern Towee (1)
Rough legged Hawk (1). Blue Jay (C). Chipping Sparrow (C)
American Coot (L) American Crow (C). Cley Colored Sparrow (2) Michigan.
Sandhill Crane (5). Common Raven (L) Vesper Sparrow (L). Michigan.
Black bellied Plover (C). Horned Lark (1) Savanagh Sparrow (L).
America Golden Plover (l). Purple Martin (C) Grasshopper Sparrow (1)
Semipalmated Plover (L). Tree Swallow (C). Swamp Sparrow (L)
Kildeer (C). Northern Rough winged swallow (C). White crowned Sparrow (L).
Spotted Sandpiper (C) Cliff Swallow (L) Dark eyed Junco (1.) Michigan.
Willet (1) Bank Swallow (C) Summer Tanager (2) Uncommon.
Hudsonian Whimbrel (L)) Barn Swallow (C) Scarlet Tanager (C)
Ruddy Turnstone (L) Black capped Chickadee (L). Northern Cardinal (C)
Stilt Sndpiper (2) Red breasted Nuthatch (L) Michigan. Rose breasted Grosbeak (C)
Dunlin (C) House Wren (C). Indigo Bunting (C).
Least Sandpiper (C) Winter wren (C) Red winged Blackbird (C)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (C). Carolina Wren (C) Common Grackle (C)
Short billed Dowitcher (C) Blue Grey Gnatcatcher (C). Brown headed Cowbird (C)
Wilson's Phalarope (1) Ruby crowned Kinglet (1) Orchard Oriole (C)
Red necked Phalarope (1) Veery (C) Baltimore Oriole (C)
Solitary Sandpiper (1). Grey cheeked Thrush (L) American Goldfinch (C)
Bonaparte's Gull (C) Swainson's Thrush (C). Evening Grosbeak (5) Michigan.
Franklin's Gull (1)) Rare. Hermit Thrush (1) House Sparrow (C)
Little Gull (1) Rare. American Robin (C)
Ring billed Gull (C) Wood Thrush (1)