Long Point Thrushes. Ontario

A selection of Thrushes from Long Point.

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Veery.

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Probably the most commonly encountered catharus thrush.

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Their cinnamon tones and open face give them a soft demeanour.

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Hermit Thrush.

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Far more numerous during the first few days.

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Swainson’s Thrush

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As with Veery this species was easy to see.

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Many times I imagined I was on St Agnes whilst watching these thrushes.

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Wood Thrush

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Wood Thrush

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Not as numerous as Hermit and Swainson’s but fairly easy to sing, beautiful singers too.

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Last but not least, the ubiquitous American Robin.

 

 

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Long Point Warblers. Ontario.

The first a few posts covering a recent trip to Long Point in Canada. An incredible 10 day trip of amazing migration and world class birds. I thought I’d start with the warblers, with 26 species seen, all of which were the main motivation behind the trip.

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Above, 331 Erie Boulevard our base for the week.

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Yellow Warbler.

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American Redstart

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Palm Warbler

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Magnolia Warbler

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Tennessee Warbler

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Cape May Warbler

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Blue winged Warbler

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Black throated green Warbler

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Ovenbird

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Northern Parula

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Black and White Warbler

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Canada Warbler

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Black throated Warbler

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Prothonotary Warbler

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Hooded Warbler

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Golden winged Warbler

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Blackburnian Warbler

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Nashville Warbler

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Yellow rumped Warbler

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Chestnut sided Warbler

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Wilson’s Warbler

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4.5.19 Wood Warbler and Blue headed Wagtail

I’ve found it hard to find motivation these past 7 days with not a lot of return on the morning efforts. Although the discovery of an excellent Wood Warbler in Belle Tout Wood was a welcome sight and sound.

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Wood Warbler in Belle Tout Wood on the 3rd May.

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Found by Nick Pope, my first since two in April 2017, although there is usually 1 or 2 annually.

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On the evening of the 3rd of May I came across what appeared to be the second Blue headed Wagtail in 6 days at West Rise, being slightly different from the individual present on the 28th April. I saw it incredibly poorly the first evening but slightly better on the 4th May when a Bar tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Hobby also passed through the site.

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Blue headed Wagtail West Rise Marsh.

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Now off to Long Point, Ontario for some spring warbler action.

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26.4.19 Subalpine Warbler

The day was increasingly bright with a moderate SW wind, turning overcast by 4pm, with the wind strengthening significantly by 6pm. There had been a switch overnight from light south east winds.

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Shooters Bottom, the scene of todays frustrating find.

The exciting news today was that I found a singing male Subalpine Warbler, the slight dampener is that consisted of 3 naked eye flight views and 5 seconds of the bird perched through optics. I came within a second of getting a shot with the camera. Some would argue I should be pleased but aware of the taxonomic minefield that particular species is currently in, leaves the experience incomplete for me. Although brief, what I saw on the bird and some posthumous reading regarding the song all leave me strongly feeling the bird was a Western Subalpine Warbler.

Since watching the site from 2014, I’ve fortunately gotten decent images of all but one of the rare and scarce birds found and in most instances they have also been seen by other observers. On this occasion, where images and further observations would have been most helpful, it was not to be.

In other news, Shooters held c10 singing Common Whitethroat and 2 Lesser Whitethroat & 2 Willow Warbler. Belle Tout wood held 3 Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff. c6 Swallow flitted through during the 5 hours I spent fruitlessly searching for the Subalpine.

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24.4.19 Great forecast poor showing

A very encouraging forecast of SE winds and light rain failed to produce anything pleasing on land or at sea. Very disappointing. The light SE winds gave way to strong SW conditions with rain by early afternoon. It really does feel like a poor spring on land so far. The only points of interest for me being a Short-eared Owl early on and hearing my first Nightingale on Beachy Head in years, a common enough autumn migrant but a species I do not encounter in spring.

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JP on the steep slopes of Cow Gap.

Jamie and I visited sites from the Hollow to Birling, briefly joining the seawatchers mid morning. Combined totals for land obs. as follows; c30 Common Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler in shooters, 3 Chiffchaff,  1 Yellow Wagtail (one in off the sea), 1 Nightingale in song in the Hollow (discovered by R.E. y’day) 1 Common Redstart above the Hollow, 1 Short-eared Owl flushed from the roadside near the pub, almost certainly a different bird from last weeks two, with 6 days in-between sightings and the massive disturbance over Easter.

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20.4.19 Spoonbill and Whinchats

The last 48hrs have been glorious, cloudless skies backed with a stiff NE or NNE wind, despite the crystal clear conditions there were migrants to enjoy on land. The sea was pretty much neglected by us. Jamie and I attempted to cover as much of the headland as possible with Harry Witts joining us on the 20th. A big highlight of the last 2 days has been encountering 7 beautiful male Whinchat, a species I see little of in spring.

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Whinchat at Crowlink.

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Yellow Wagtail entering UK airspace over Crowlink. (photo. JP)

Birds of note on the 19th included 18 Willow Warbler, 12 Common Whitethroat, 2 Whinchat, 2 Redstart, (all encounters of those two species late afternoon suggesting a late arrival of birds?) A late Fieldfare in Belle Tout Wood and most notable being a Spoonbill passing east, out to sea at Cow Gap during the early afternoon.

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The first Hobby of the year over Belle Tout.

The 20th produced more new arrivals despite the clear conditions. c12 Willow Warblers, c25 Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Tree Pipit, 5 Yellow Wagtail, 2 White Wagtail, 10 Wheatear (including the first females I’ve seen this spring), 5 Whinchat, 1 Hobby, a single Red Kite bearing a wing tag, all three hirundines were seen arriving in off the sea, c20 Swallow, c8 House Martin and c6 Sand Martin.

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Female Wheatear, Crowlink.

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Wing tagged Red Kite. I eagerly await details of this bird as there is much speculation as to where coastal Red Kites come from. I firmly believe they’re British birds… will I be eating humble pie?!

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Red Kite

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Spoonbill.

Beachy Head’s 9th record way, way out at sea from Cow Gap (photo.JP)

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17.4.19 A decent morning on land and sea

A still night followed by an equally calm morning with murky conditions. After 7 days of virtually no perceptible migration on land, good birds were to be had on land and sea.

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 A great Mediterranean Gull passage this morning and the first Little Tern of the spring. Lovely to see flock after flock of these immaculate birds. Due to poor visibility at sea, the approaching bird’s evocative call was often heard before appearing from the mist and fog.

This mornings seawatch totals were compiled by JFC (06.00 to 11.00) and can be found here

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On land, overnight conditions conspired to produce the second significant fall of the spring so far. Combined totals (JFC, RAB, RE, LP) were; 80+ Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Sedge Warbler, 17 Blackcap, 2 Wheatear, 1 Black Redstart, 1 Common Redstart, 2 Short eared Owl, 12 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 3 Sand Martin, 1 Tree Pipit over & last but not least, two Jay around the pub first thing. Visiting birder Harry Witts continued to watch the sea after we packed up at 11am, pushing the total of Mediterranean Gull to an impressive 242. He also had the first Lesser Whitethroat of the year in the Hollow.

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Black Redstart near the mast.

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Short eared Owl at the pub

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One of the many Willow Warbler today, this one early on near the mast.

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Adder near Belle Tout Wood.

 

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