Friday, 17 November 2017

Rondeau Roundabout

Posted by Owen Ridgen and Quinten Wiegersma

Today, we travelled to Rondeau park in search of its recent visitor, a Townsend's Warbler. We arrived at about 8:40 AM. The first on the scene, we inspected the original location the bird was found in, at 2nd and centre street, but had no luck. We tried 3rd street, and my dad briefly got on the bird, but it disappeared. A Fox Sparrow and a couple Yellow-Rumped Warblers were hanging out there, and a Carolina Wren was calling. 

Fox Sparrow (Owen Ridgen)

Soon many more birders showed up, including Josh Vandermeulen. We took a quick break to check out the bay, and we spotted several Horned Grebes, Bonaparte's Gulls, and Tundra Swans. Among the waterfowl were Redheads, a couple Canvasbacks, a Ruddy Duck, a Ring-Necked Duck, and large numbers of American Wigeon. I attempted to see if there was a Eurasian Wigeon among the crowd, but I didn't get a very good look before they were all spooked by something and took off towards Erieau. We travelled to the south beach afterwards, having been told by my friend Quinten that a continuing Ross's Goose could be there. I dashed ahead and set up the tripod. In the hazy distance, I spotted a white blob among a group of Canada Geese that was not a Gull. It was the Goose, but I had about two seconds to look at it before my dad started shouting for me. They had seen the Townsend's Warbler! I ran as fast as I could back to them, losing my phone in the process (I later found it face-down in the sand on the beach). We (and a large group of others) followed the flitting forms of passerines down the lakeshore to a small clump of cedars. We had brief glimpses of the Warbler, but that was it. In the junipers, we found the continuing Blackpoll Warbler, but lost the Townsend's. 

Blackpoll Warbler (Owen Ridgen)

Blackpoll Warbler (Owen Ridgen)

As the birders dispersed, I followed Josh onto the beach, where we saw two Snow Geese, and got a better look at the Ross's Goose. 

Snow Geese (Owen Ridgen)

Ross's Goose (Owen Ridgen)

We then headed back to 2nd street. We hadn't been standing around long, though, when we noticed a small bird flew overhead, making an odd chip call. Josh got a look at it and quickly IDed it as the Warbler, which we followed, but couldn't relocate. We did find this specimen of what appeared to be Turkey-Tail fungus, which was cool, and a pair of Tufted Titmice visiting a feeder, also nice. 

Turkey-tail Fungus (Owen Ridgen)

Once again returning to 2nd and centre, we were discussing leaving when my dad once again spotted the Warbler. It flew into a dense cluster of Junipers and we lost it again. I briefly got on it again, quite high up, before we lost it again. Pictureless but happy, we decided to leave. Another awesome day of birding! 


When Owen texted me saying that he had found the Townsend's Warbler, I knew that I had to find a way to get down to Rondeau. I had already made a failed attempt at the bird on Tuesday, so I was determined that today was going to be the day!

Early on I found two flyover Snow Geese. No photos as it all happened so quick!

When the chickadees and the kinglets started making a commotion, we knew that if the Townsend's Warbler was going to show up, it would be with this group. After 10 minutes of searching, I saw a small songbird fly into a Juniper Tree...imagine my surprise when I saw the Townsend's!

The bird was very fast, and my camera wasn't cooperating, so this is my best (and only) picture...

Townsend's Warbler (Quinten Wiegersma)

Despite the fact I didn't get any decent photographs, I was very happy to have seen this rarity.

Just before we left, I checked out the bay. There were hundreds of ducks, mostly Redhead and American Wigeon, but there were a few other species in there as well.

Assorted Ducks (Quinten Wiegersma)

It was truly an awesome day!

For the full story and more photos, check out my blog

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