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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.