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Day 8 (Thursday, 14th May)

     Long Point

Click for Long Point map


Longpoint Longpoint Longpoint
The visitor centre Behind the visitor centre Lighthouse Crescent

The last morning before the evening flight saw our earliest morning yet. We set off from Leamington at 4am for the 3 hour journey to Long Point. At times on the journey, which was obviously mainly made in the dark, the temperature dropped to -2, with a heavy frost obvious on some of the lawns. In the headlights we did pick up Raccoon and White-tailed Deer on the way. First port of call was the visitor centre on the Long Point peninsular itself, which has a small area of trees to the rear which apparently does attract significant numbers of migrants. This and the residential street was covered in a short amount of time, but we did pick up Black-and-white, Chestnut-sided, & Black-throated Blue Warblers, as well as Least Flycatcher.  When we went into the visitor centre, one of the assistants, Betty by name, proudly boasted of a Harris's Sparrow which regularly visited her feeders in the garden. She was even kind enough to give us the house number and permission to wander freely around the garden. Now that's courtesy! So it was that 10 minutes later we were stood in her garden, to the bemusement  of the lady we presume was the housekeeper (the dog was happy to see us though!), scanning the feeders. After about 10 minutes and groups of Chipping, White-crowned & Song Sparrows, American Goldfinches, Baltimore & Orchard Orioles, and a displaying Ruby-throated Hummingbird, we were amazed at the appearance of the Sparrow of the show, albeit briefly on the lawn. However, another more lengthy wait was rewarded with a much more satisfying and unexpected show by the bird.

Bald Eagle Black-and-white Warbler Blue Jay
Bald Eagle Black-and-white Warbler Blue Jay
Chipping Sparrow Harris Sparrow House Finch
Chipping Sparrow Harris's Sparrow House Finch
Orchard Oriole Yellow Warbler
Orchard Oriole American Yellow Warbler

Doubling backon Lakeshore Road and going straight over a set of traffic lights this time found the Centre for Bird Studies Canada on the right. We aimed for here looking for Green Heron, but the decking outside of the main building overlooking the smallish ponds was an ideal location for sandwich lunch, distracted by the numerous nesting Tree Swallows and a singing Song Sparrow (the latter on the decking itself). From this vantage point, we spotted a Pied-billed Grebe in the centre if the nearest pond. Plenty of nest boxes were provided,  seemingly for the use of Purple Martins, but it transpired that they had been commandeered by the Tree Swallows and the odd European Starlings, leaving only 2-3 Purple Martins in flight overhead. Following feeding time, a quick circumnavigation of the two ponds found a Green Heron perched in the cattails of the "wilder" pond, and two further sightings of it or another bird flying over.

Lakeshore Drive Bird Studies Canada Bird Studies Canada
House & garden on Lakeshore Drive Bird Studies Canada Bird Studies Canada
Song Sparrow Tree Swallow Northern Cardinal
Song Sparrow Tree Swallow Northern Cardinal

While drivingback over the causeway heading for the Point again, we felt we had to scan the open water to the left of us. There was a surprising lack of wildfowl here, save for a small group of Greater Scaup. Plying back and forth along the shore, however, were a pair of Black & and three close Caspian Terns. White Terns in the distance were too far to identify, but a couple were perched on posts just out from the marina. We asked the owner politely if we could pop though for a closer look, but the overweight grump gave a scowling negative, based on last birders just marching through without the courtesy we were so obviously imparting. So much for manners! We had the last laugh, though, since fortune shined as one of the Terns flew over our heads to confirm Forster's.

We had been recommended the Old Provincial Park just down from Old Cut Road, where the visitor centre is based, so this would be our last main stop. It appeared that the main function of this place was for recreation in the decent weather, since it was an area of trees on sand, which was sculpted into separate parking lots, each numbered and provided with a barbecue stand. Luckily no-one was out to play today, so we had free reign to explore the vegetation for birds. One or two were present, the pick of which was a dapper Blue-headed Vireo. Most of the birds seemed more local, with a good count of Grey Catbirds, but a Brown Thrasher in the sun was hard to beat. Before clarting about with the luggage before setting off for the airport, we did a quick tour of the trees behind the visitor centre again, but all seemed relatively quiet.

Old Provincial Park Old Provincial Park
Old Provincial Park (both images)  
Blue-headed Vireo Grey Catbird
Blue-headed Vireo Grey Catbird

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