Saturday 13 September 2014

Essex county rarities

I had a presentation as part of Festival of Hawks at Holiday Beach Important Bird Area today, so Ken came with me and we did some birding before and after. We started the day with the pair of Eurasian Collared-Doves on the east side of Leamington. These birds have been around for a couple weeks now (and quite possibly in the area for the past year+) and it seems like just a matter of time until they produce Ontario's first nesting of this species as it continues its spread north. I think that if you asked most birders ten years ago, they would have guessed they'd be a much more common species in Ontario by now. We saw the birds a little east of Gore Hill Public School, at Mersea Road 12, and then watched them fly further southeast to the small silo.

From there, we headed for Point Pelee (another globally significant Important Bird Area) and walked out to the tip. The winds were quite strong from the northwest, really whipping the lake up. We spent some time at the tip keeping an eye on the water for anything interesting flying by but also kept pretty busy with hawks overhead and passerines flitting in the bushes. Nothing too unusual but some Black Terns were getting later. Here's our full checklist.

From Pelee we made our way to Holiday Beach, where we got to witness a decent hawk flight, lots of warblers, and best of all a flock of 15 American White Pelicans overhead (left my camera in the car). It was a great few hours enjoying the birds and festivities. Here's our full checklist. The Festival of Hawks continues tomorrow and again next weekend and is definitely worth checking out!

After leaving Holiday Beach we checked a few adjacent areas hoping for one of the at least four Snowy Egrets that have been around. We finally got lucky with one where Big Creek crosses Highway 20:

These photos don't show it, but Snowy Egret have bright yellow feet. Here's a photo I took in Florida that shows that feature well (and shows the normally hidden white leg):

All in all, it was a great day!