Saturday, June 16, 2018

Extreme Southwestern Ontario birding - June 15-16

Yesterday afternoon (Friday June 15) Rob Palin and I ventured down to the Lake St. Clair area after work hoping to meet up some of the specialties home to Walpole Island and extreme SW Ontario.

We started our excursion at Angler's Line where we picked up at least 3 Yellow-headed Blackbirds, a flyby Least Bittern, and a host of other marshbirds, including several flyover Black-crowned Night-Herons.

From here, we headed over to Walpole Island, where we did some scouting before an evening of marshbirding. Another flyby Least Bittern and Yellow-throated Vireo were our highlights, despite putting in a good effort to come up with a King Rail -- our main target.

First thing today (June 16), we got up at 4:30, and were touring Walpole by 5:00 am. We came up Ace's and had a King Rail at our first spot(!), in the south end of the island. The bird called twice, giving it's chaotic 'pig grunting' calls that are quite unique and loud.

Coming up with a King was pretty damn sweet, so we thought we'd better try our luck looking for Northern Bobwhite, as the island was/is home to the last remaining native N. Bobwhite in the province. Despite our best efforts, checking the area's where I had had them about a decade ago, we didn't have any. Checking eBird, it looks like the last one's reported here were in 2014, though I know they were here as recently as 2016. The area where they used to be has some houses nearby, and a few feral dogs that could be the main culprit.We had a few more Yellow-throated Vireo's and a single T. Titmouse.

From here, we headed to the Moraviantown First Nations and just drove through the area. I've only birded this area once, but found a very hard to get White-eyed Vireo back in 2015. In a bit less than an hour we had a flagged Pine Warbler, 5 Blue-winged and a single Hooded Warbler before the rain hit.

With Skunk's Misery/Mosa Forest only being 8 minutes we headed over here, while the rain came down. After about 45 minutes, it let up enough that we checked the trails and again had some great stuff, with our highlights being a singing male Cerulean and 3 Hooded Warblers as well as a singing male Acadian Flycatcher.

A little distant, this Cerulean was quite obliging, before moving on.
With these locations being so far, and June being such a busy month, it was nice to get down here and come up with some good birds!


  1. You had a great whirlwind trip! One wonders if there are any Bobwhite left on Walpole (hope so!). They used to be easy to find!

  2. Sure did, Blake :) yeah, I sure hope so too!

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