10 May. Daytime flight from London to Toronto. Halfway over the captain announced that West Ham had beaten Arsenal 1-0 in that afternoon’s FA Cup Final (their last success which as a WHU fan I was sorry to have missed). I was then told off by cabin staff for opening the window blind to look at Greenland’s glaciers as the light was disturbing viewing of the in-flight film! On arrival we hired a 9 seater vehicle and Andrew drove into Toronto and to the ferry terminal. We crossed to Toronto Island as foot passengers and spent the last hour or so of daylight there seeing 16 Canada Geese(!), 70 Buffleheads, a Catbird, 2 Wood and 3 Hermit Thrushes and a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. We then caught the ferry back to Toronto, had something to eat and drove to Point Peele where we camped.
|White-throated Sparrows in fading light on Toronto Island|
11 May. Our first day at Point Pelee. We visiting the Tip, Tilden’s, the marsh boardwalk and Ander’s Field. There were lots of 'local' birders around, all very friendly and helpful - quite different and avery pleasant change to the predominantly male obsessives I was used to when visiting top migration spots in Britain. At Point Peele there were lots of couples of all ages, some really very good birders but the majority appeared to know no more than we did. On my first morning a friendly couple came and asked me if I could help them identify a stange bird they'd found. I replied that I'd only been there for two hours but would try my best hoping it wasn't an Empidomax flycatcher or drab female warbler. It was a perfectly ordinary looking Catbird which had apparently not been holding its tail as per the Field Guide! Most excitement was caused by a Henslow's Sparrow found creeping around a grassy area. It was superb, but so too were some stunning warblers and other very brightly coloured species. I saw 64 new birds which was rather overwhelming. Best were 19 species of Warbler including 3 Blackburninan, Prothonotary, 2 Chestnut-sided, 3 Cape May and 5 Magnolias. Also a roosting Nighthawk, 3 Red-headed Woodpeckers, 2 Cedar Waxwings, 3 Carolina Wrens, 10 Wood Thrushes, 8 Veerys, 25 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 20 Blue Jays, 5 species of vireo, 25 Scarlet Tanagers, 2 Cardinals and 11 species of sparrow including 3 Henslow’s.
|female Scarlet Tanager|
|male Scarlet Tanager|
|birds really could be this bright red!|
|Henslow's Sparrow, this bird caused quite a stir amongst the locals|
|we could understand why - it behaved like a rare locostella|
|a very impressive bird - and nice to see subtle birds as well as gaudy ones|
|Carolina Wren - compared to ours it was rather big!|
|Purple Martin house. Pretty naf but it seemed to serve its purpose|
13 May. All day at Point Pelee concentrating on the Tip, Tilden’s and Stein’s. Overnight rain, which collapsed Andrew’s tent, brought a decent fall with 24 species of warbler seen including Blue-winged, 2 Cerulean, Pine, a superb male Kentucky, 2 Canadas, 5 Ovenbirds and 2 Yellow-breasted Chats. Very exciting. Thrushes were well represented too with 3 Wood, 6 Hermit, 8 Swainson’s, 6 Veerys and 30 American Robins. I also saw 2 Black-billed Cuckoos, 3 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, 15 Catbirds, 2 Yellow-throated Vireos, a Summer Tanager and 15 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.
|Cape May Warbler|
|another real stunner|
|as is Chestnut-sided Warbler|
|Blackburniam Warbler, could they get any better?|
|bright yanks are very nice but ...|
|... Ovenbird was probably my favourite|
15 May. Most of the day at Point Pelee at the Tip, Tilden’s and Sleepy Hollow, Stein’s. We then visited Kingsville to the west. Weather was indifferent and at times quite wet and warblers numbers appeared to be down but did include our first Louisiana Waterthrush and Mourning Warbler and more views of the previous day’s Worm-eating. Also 2 Least Bitterns at Kingsville, a selection of dubiously identified Tyrant-flycatchers, 40 American Robins and 85 Blue Jays.
|Great White Egret|
|Prothonotary Warbler (another of Rupert's photos)|
|Great Horned Owl|