Sunday, 26 September 2010

Canada Trip part 5: 29-30 Aug

Long Point Bird Oservatory is the oldest of its kind in North America, having celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. Long Point itself is the largest freshwater sand due in the world, stretching halfway accross Lake Erie (40 km). The Observatory was formed in thr 1960's, and over the following years hundreds, possibly thousands, of volunteers have come and go, helping collect one of the largest bird migration databases in the world. Over 750,000 birds have been banded at Long Point. It is one of the best rarity hotspots in Canada, and 389 bird species have been recorded. In spring and autumn, Half the world population on Tundra Swans migrate through, and up to 8% of the worlds Canvasback may be present on any day during spring. It is a provincial park and world biosphere reserve, as well as a Bird Observatory. Many of the most well-respected in Canadian  Ornithology have volunteered in this spectacular area.

29 Aug

A day that started off in Toronto, with a trip tick in the form of some stunning Cardinals, along with a few House Finch and a Red-breasted Nuthatch.

The Drive we took down to Long Point Bird Observatory provided a few intersting birds. Turkey Vultures were now absolutely everywhere, and I suspect it was their time for migrating. If anyone from across the pind would care to comment on this theory, I'd be most grateful.

other birds on the drive included at least five Red-tailed Hawks, two American Kestrels (side-by-side on a wire) and two Killdeer, near Port Rowan, a town near Long Point

We arrived at Long Point at about 16:30. There are three field stations on Long Point, where volunteers and visitors alike can join in with the banding, and walk around, seeing some brilliant birds. We were staying at Old Cut, the closest in of the three field stations, being at the bottom of the peninsula. There are two other field staions, Breakwater, halfway out, and The Tip, which as you would expect is at the very tip of the Long Point Peninsula

the field station at Old Cut, LPBO(copyright Carole Henderson)

'LPBO wishlist'

As soon as we arrived, it became clear this was a great spot. In half an hour, I saw four lifers. The Baltimore Oriole was a fairly brief fly-over and the Least Flycatcher was fairly dull. But the other two, a Northern Parula and a Canada Warbler, were both in perfect plumage, and looked absolutely immaculate. Two of the most beautiful birds I saw on the entire trip! A back-up in this brief look round was provided by; two Grey Catbirds, two Trail's Flycatchers-two Black and White Warblers, and five American Redstarts.

Black and White warbler, Canada warbler and American Redstart. All pictures sourced from Wikimedia
 The Canada Warbler did look just like the bird in the illustration, they are stunning birds.

We spent the evening in Port Rowan, where we met up with the beadles again, and saw Ron and Anne Ridout and Jon McCracken. These guys have all been at Long Point since my parents last visited, in 1990! It was great to see them, andlearn loads about Long Point from a residents point of view.

And, as a final touch, we had seen twelve Sandhill Cranes from the road to Port Rowan!

30 Aug 2010

I was up bright and early this morning, and man did I see some birds! As with most brilliant bird days, I'm just gonna list what I saw...

1 Northern Harrier*
1 Greater Yellowlegs*
5 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
1 Belted Kingfisher
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Eatsern Wood-pewee
2 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher*
7 Least Flycatcher
4 Trail's Flycatcher
5 Eastern Kingbird
1 Red-eyed Vireo
1 Warbling Vireo*
4 Tree Swallow
2 Red-breasted Nuthatch
4 Swainson's Thrush*
1 Veery
50+ Cedar Waxwing
1 Tenesse Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
5 Magnolia Warbler
5 Cape May Warbler*
3 Black-throated Blue Warler
8 Blackpoll Warbler*
3 Black and White Warbler
6 American Redstart
1 Ovenbird*
1 Common Yellowthroat
2 Wilson's Warbler
2 Northern cardinal
4 Bobolink*

Lifers among these have a * next to them.

Trying to pick a highlight from all those is difficult, but I think the photograph below depicts a pretty good choice!
    how to see a lifer!
    This SORA was found by the roadside, by Ron Ridout, and taken into the observatory to be banded. I believe it was the 23rd banded at Long Point, in 50 years!

    I also got the chance to do some bird ringing, or 'banding'. That morning I ringed 2 Blackpoll Warblers, 2 Black-throated Blue Warblers and a Wilson's Warbler. I got to see and hold countless others in the hand too, with probably half of all birds in the above list seen in the hand.

    Red-eyed Vireo

    Garter Snake
    Black-throated Blue warbler. winner of all known beauty contests.
    The afternoon of Aug 30 was spent on the tip. It was a two-hour, very bumpy boat ride out! I left my camera at Old Cut, for fear of having it smashed/soaked. The boat ride out produced a Bald Eagle, a Sanderling, a Least/Semi P Sand, 100+ each of Common and Forster's Terns (the latter a lifer) and, last but not least...

     2000+ DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS, all roosting on one Sandbank!

    It wasn't the best area for birds, but we did see 10 Caspian Terns, 6 Wilson's warbler, 2 Magnolia Warbler, 1 Bay-breasted Warbler, 3 American Redstart and a Cooper's Hawk, a lifer.

    Today, I saw 61 species of bird, including 14 trip ticks and 11 lifers.

    I had now seen 110 species overall, and 84 Lifers!

    For the sake of keeping posts vaguely short, this is as far as this post goes. My next post on this brilliant trip ties it all up, I promise, with just four days left to do now!

    No comments:

    Post a Comment

    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...