MOO Count – First Day

May 14, 2013

0330 – Kevin Rysiewski arrived at my house. We are beginning what will be 3 days of intense birding in Michigan, Ontario and Ohio. I first heard about a MOO count from Tom Heatley and I always wanted to do one.. For some unknown reason, I chose this year.

0545 – Kevin and I arrived at Point Pelee National Park. The first place we headed to is the Marsh Board walk… it was still pretty dark outside and we decided to drive up the road and do a little bit of Owling. While driving toward the DeLaurier Trail we heard a Peent!! A Woodcock, which we also heard in my yard before leaving that morning.

0615 – We arrived back at the Marsh Board Walk and began our walk… We could hear the Marsh Wrens going crazy. We were hoping to hear Least Bittern or Virginia Rail call, but had no luck.. Soon as it began to get light out, we saw a Black Tern flying over the Marsh. Common Yellowthroats are calling from every where.. I hear the familiar sound of Swifts flying overhead and spot them.. There were a number of Swallows flying all over the marsh. As we headed back to the car, we heard the call of a Northern Waterthrush in the wet area near the parking lot. We almost hit a couple of Wild Turkeys who were displaying right in the middle of the the road.

0645 – We arrived at the Visitors Center. There was a whole group of people waiting for the Tram to head to the tip. I told Kevin, that we would walk the trails behind the nature center and slowly make our way to the tip. We are both glad that we made that decision. Within a couple of minutes of being on the trail, we see a bird dart across the path in front of us and land on a bent over branch… A singing Worm-eating Warber. I did not bring my camera into the woods because of the threat of rain, but Kevin was able to get video of the Warbler.. Awesome looking bird… We continued down the trail and the woods are moderately active. We see and hear Black and White, Chestnut sided, Yellow, Blue-winged warblers are about.. We hear the first of several Carolina Wrens. Kevin spies a bird off to our right and exclaims that he has a Golden-winged Warbler… It gave us a few good looks and it was gone. There are several Orchard Orioles throughout the trails. White-crowned Sparrows are everywhere..

0800 – We arrived at the tip. There are Common and Red-breasted Mergansers out in the water on the eastern shore. We found a couple of Cedar Waxwings resting in a tree.. The point had a group of 40 Common Terns, Caspian Terns, Bonaparte Gulls and Herring Gulls. We walked along the beach on the eastern side of the point and found a Red-headed Woodpecker on a piece of driftwood. There  were a pair of Eastern Kingbirds there.. Barn Swallows were sitting on the sand and allowing some close approaches… No rain, I was regretting leaving my camera in the car.

0900 – We arrive back at the nature center as we slowly work the trails back from the tip. We saw some Nashville Warblers and Lincoln Sparrows… We were going to hit Tilden Woods next. Just as we are about to leave the trail, we look to our left and see a Hooded Warbler sitting near a wood pile… Sweet!! Kevin verbally says out loud, “we have a Hooded Warbler” and of course the rush starts as everyone runs for there spot to view it… Love it!!  I took a quick break and when I come out of the restroom Kevin was showing a couple of people inside the center his video of the Worm-eating Warber… It wont be the only time he shows off that video during this day. So cool!

0920 – Tildens was quiet. I informed Kevin that its a good place to see Northern Parula Warblers and with in 5 minutes on the trail we heard our first one. There were lots of American Redstarts. We found a Swainson’s Thrush. A couple of Indigo Buntings buzz by us. We decide to cut this short and head for the DeLaurier Trail.

1000 – Delaurier Trail is great for Eastern Bluebirds. It did not dissapoint as we saw one near the parking lot. We had Northern Waterthrush in a couple of locations. Yellow Warblers were everywhere… We had a finch like bird fly by us and it was making this little buzzy call… we chase it down and sure enough we had a Pine Sisken. It wont be the last one of the day. Eastern Towhee’s were calling from multiple areas in the open field/brush areas. There were a few warblers around, American Redstarts and Nashville Warbers mostly. Next up… Onion Fields

1045 – We starting heading down the roads leading to the Onion Fields.. these are a series of roads north of the park with lots of farm land. Its a great place for sparrows and Black-bellied Plovers. We heard a Savannah Sparrow and we closed out our list of swallows.. We hear a Ring-necked Pheasant call from a hedgerow bordering a farm.. We also found a pair of Black-bellied Plovers in a field. They are sharing there space with some Horned Larks. We have a flyby of an Imm Bald Eagle… heading toward Hillmans Marsh.

1130 – We arrived at Hillman Marsh. on the south side of the marsh we saw lots of Great Egrets, Forster’s Terns and a few Mallards… a small flock of ducks flew overhead and we  quickly looked at them and they were Gadwalls… We headed to the north side of the marsh. We park at the Hillman Marsh Conservation Area and headed down the trail toward the shorebird habitat… Awesome conditions. We see flocks of Dunlin, Black-bellied Plovers, a couple of Ruddy Turnstone, Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper.. The flocks took to the air suddenly and we looked as a Merlin comes out of no where and almost grabs one before it flew away… there are Green-winged Teal, Red-head and Gadwall on the water. We had out to go down the road and look at another wet area. We see an elderly lady on a bridge looking at something and then looking at us like she wants to tell someone what she has… We roll down the window and she says she thinks she has Willets… We pulled over, grabbed the scope and sure enough there were 3 Willet and 1 Long-billed Dowitcher… Very cool…

1200 – Lunch break and strategy session. Passerine migration is slow.. strong southerly winds is putting the birds on the move and the woods are getting quiet.. we decide to head to Wheatly Provincial Park.

1300 – Wheatly is slow. We add Great-crested Flycatcher, Hairy Woodpecker and one other bird to our list before we are gone… It cost us 14 dollars to enter the park and we were there for about an hour.. thats $4.67 cents per bird… Hmmm, that does not sound like a good deal… LOL! Next up is Stoney Point bordering Lake St. Clair…. On the way there I found a Vesper Sparrow sitting on a wire near Comber…

1430 – Stoney Point – Trembely Beach. This turned out to be a cool area for the day. Black Tern in the Sewage Lagoon.. Not many Sandpipers but there were a few Least Sandpipers and Spotted. There were Ruddy and Wood Ducks on the water… The woods bordering the parking lot were full of Warblers.. Palm, Canada, Am Redstarts, Nashville, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Northern Waterthrush and tons of Magnolia Warblers… There was a stunning Scarlet Tanager low in the trees… A Northern Harrier was working the fields… A flock of 14 Pines Siskins came and landed in a tree near us….

1800 – Heading Home… Ontario was fun but a long day. 127 Species. The great thing is the amount of unusual birds that we saw… Anytime you are doing a count, the more atypical birds that get on your list, the more room for getting the easier ones and building the count… Highlights were Worm-eating Warbler, Golden-Winged Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Willet, Long-billed Dowitcher, Ruddy Turnstone and Merlin…

American Redstart

American Redstart

Black Tern

Black Tern

Black Tern

Black Tern

Black-throated Blue

Black-throated Blue

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

House Wren

House Wren

Least Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

American Redstart

American Redstart

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

Swainson's Thrush

Swainson’s Thrush

 

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