The St. Thomas Field Naturalists date for The Great Canadian Birdathon is May 12th. We will meet at 9 a.m. at the intersection of Rose Beach Line and Kent Bridge Rd, just outside of Rondeau Provincial Park. We will walk along Bates Dr to Pike St, back to vehicles via Rose Beach Line. We will then head into the park. Lunch will be at the Visitors Centre and those that wish can join us at Rondeau Joe’s for supper. For more info or to sponsor the club please phone Al Hurst 519-633-4235. All the money raised goes to bird conservation in Canada, a portion goes to Bird Studies Canada and a portion to St. Thomas Field Naturalists. Hope to see you there.
Yellow-throated Warbler — photo by Mark Yurek
The day started early with coffee for the road from Tim’s. A quick stop at the Port Stanley lagoons logged Dunlin, Pied-billed Grebe, Northern Shoveler and Ruddy Duck. By the time we left the bobolink field on highway 3 we had over 30 species including the Bobolink and Savannah Sparrow.
At the out skirts of Rondeau it was extremely windy and people started to arrive. Due to the winds it was decided to start inside the park and headed for visitor centre. We were not even to the first bridge at Tulip trail when Ron Ridout heard a Canada Warbler, we were unable to see that one but there was more to see. The Prothonotary was putting on a great show at post 7 and seemed to be nesting in a box at water level. Everyone got to see and photograph it. The Swainson’s and Wood Thrush were seen there.
After lunch everyone headed out to South Point Trail and everyone got to see a Whip-poor-will in a bush about 8 feet above the ground. It seemed to not be concerned about the people. Ron Kingswood spotted a Yellow-throated Warbler with its distinctive lemon yellow throat and black border moving slowly along a branch. Many in the group got to see it. Jackie spotted a Red-headed Woodpecker. On the way out of this trail Eva spotted a Lincoln Sparrow.
We made several trips to the visitor centre and the Pine Siskin and White-crowned Sparrows that were at the feeders earlier in the day never showed for our group, but we did get the Ruby-throated Hummingbird there. We had Bob, Hugh, Dave and Melanie join us for the first time and hope they all enjoyed the remarkable day of birding with 22 different warblers seen. Total count for day was 96 species. Thanks to all who supported us this year.
Nine members from our club finished the day off by going to the 70th anniversary dinner for the West Elgin Nature Club in Rodney. The food and fellowship was great and George Prieksaitis gave a nice roundup of the clubs many events over the years. Paul Nichelson was the guest speaker and gave a funny roundup of the different versions of birders over the years. Kudos to all the volunteers who made there anniversary dinner such a success.
Once again Al Sharpe and Al Hurst are doing the birdathon for the club. This is a fundraiser for Bird Studies Canada with a portion of donations coming back to the STFN. This has been traditionally a club outing to Rondeau Provincial Park. Those wishing to join can meet us outside the park at 9 am, the corner of Rose Beach Line and Kent Bridge Road.
We will do a walk around the block that takes about 1- 1.5 hrs. This is not a hike. We are looking for birds trying to spot as many species as possible so the pace is leisurely with lots of opportunity to socialize and a great opportunity to pick up bird ID tips. After this walk we go into the park ( there is a park fee ) with some of the group breaking off and going their own way.
Al and I try to hit a trail or two before going to the visitor centre for our picnic lunch. After lunch more trails and possibly a sidetrip to the Blenheim Lagoons for shore birds. Which trail is usually decided after talking to other birders to find out where the birds are. Often the hot trail yesterday is quiet today but we try to walk at least most of the trails in the park.
In the past we have had supper at Rondeau Joes just outside the park but this year Al and I will be attending West Elgin Nature Clubs 70th Anniversary dinner at the Rodney Legion. Guest speaker is Paul Nicholson who writes a column for the London Free Press on nature for Saturday’s edition. Doors open at 5:30 pm dinner at 6 pm, you must have tickets ahead. This is a fun day so come alone or fill your car, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the spring migration. Donations will be collected at the May meeting and even on the day. Tax receipt will be issued by BSC.
Any questions please call my cell 519 494 8396