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Nov-Dec 1997


1998 Sightings in the Windsor Area

December 1998

Monday, December 28: An Eastern Garter Snake was found today in a sunny spot along the trail in Black Oak Heritage Park!

Wednesday, December 23: The Point Pelee Christmas Bird Count (CBC) was held on Monday. Highlights included Harris's Sparrow, Swainson's Thrush and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Record high counts were recorded for: Pied-billed Grebe - 10, Mute Swan - 2, Green-winged Teal - 198, Northern Pintail - 11, Blue-winged Teal - 1, Northern Shoveler - 61, Gadwall - 156, American Wigeon - 450, Ring-necked Duck - 49, Greater Scaup - 1678, Surf Scoter - 103, Hooded Merganser - 317, American Coot - 930, Dunlin - 2, Mouning Dove - 1112, House Wren - 1, American Robin - 162 and European Starling - 9540. 103 species were recorded.

The Cedar Creek CBC was held on Saturday, Dec. 19. Thirty-eight participants found 94 species in the 15 mile diameter count circle which includes Essex, Kingsville, Harrow and McGregor. Highlights included 1 Little Gull, 2 Barn Swallows, 1 Northern Rough-winged Swallow and 271 American Robins. The complete results are posted on our count results page.

Friday, December 11: The Cave Swallow was seen this morning along the North Dyke Road (northern boundary to Point Pelee). The bird often disappears for several hours at a stretch (possibly out over the more inaccessible portions of the Pelee marsh) so be prepared to spend some time if you plan to look for the bird. The Pelee Visitor Centre (519-322-5700) is keeping track of recent sightings.

Thursday, December 10: We have not heard any news on the Cave Swallow today. The Barn and Rough-winged Swallows are still present at McGregor. Eight Eastern Bluebirds, a Belted Kingfisher and rufous phase Eastern Screech-Owl were seen today around the nature centre.

Wednesday, December 09: The Cave Swallow continues to be seen at the same location. Other swallows have also been reported this week. Two Barn Swallows and a Northern Rough-winged Swallow were seen Tuesday at the McGregor lagoons by Fred Urie. On Sunday a Tree Swallow was also found at this location.

Tuesday, December 08: A Cave Swallow, first found yesterday at Point Pelee by Alan Wormington and Fred Urie, is still present today. It was flying over Sanctuary Pond and west end of the North Dyke Road this afternoon. Two Eared Grebes were also present today along the east side of the tip.

Sunday, December 06: Dandelions, Spotted Knapweed, Evening Primrose, Gray-headed Coneflower and Sand Rocket continued to bloom in the record warm weather (which is due to end today). A male Yellow-legged Meadowhawk, today at Point Pelee (P.D. Pratt), is the latest dragonfly ever recorded in the region.

Late herps included Spring Peepers calling at Pelee today (P.D. Pratt), Chorus Frog at Ojibway on Saturday (A. Barbour) and a basking Painted Turtle on Friday (K. Cedar).

Tuesday, December 01: Record warm temperatures the last few days have encouraged a few dandelions and garden annuals to remain in bloom at the start of the winter season.

Birding is often a case of finding the unexpected. Tom Hince found an amazingly late Worm-eating Warbler near the Point Pelee Visitor Centre today. Other late migrants will probably be discovered if the mild weather continues.

November 1998

Sunday, November 15: A bracing November day that proved to be more productive than all of last week at Holiday Beach where 4 Bald Eagles, 5 Northern Harriers, 4 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 3 Northern Goshawks, 1 Red-shouldered Hawk, 31 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 American Kestrel, 1 Merlin and 1 Peregrine Falcon were recorded from the hawk tower (Bob Hall-Brooks).

Saturday, November 14: Alan Wormington saw an Ancient Murrelet flying east to west past the Tip of Point Pelee National Park at about 9:30am today. This is the first record of this very rare alcid for Pelee. Over 60 Franklin's Gulls, largely adults, were seen in the Pelee Birding area between the 11th and 13th (A. Wormington et al.).

Dave D'hondt found Northern Goshawk (immature), Rough-legged Hawk (adult), Hermit Thrush and 10 Eastern Bluebirds near East Riverside Park, Windsor.

A flock of 15 Greater White-fronted Geese were seen at Hillman Marsh C.A. on Friday (J.C. MacDonald).

Thursday, November 12: The first Tundra Swans of the fall were reported this week at Holiday Beach and Point Pelee. A rufous phase Eastern Screech-Owl was seen this afternoon poking its head out of a nest box in front of the Ojibway Nature Centre. A Northern Saw-whet Owl was found d.o.r. in Tecumseh today by Dave D'hondt and another was seen yesterday along the Wilf Botham Memorial Trail at Point Pelee (P.D. Pratt).

Wednesday, November 11: A highly unusual influx of Franklin's Gulls appeared along the Lake Erie shoreline today. Individual birds were found at Waterview St. in Linden Beach, foot of Division Road in Kingsville, Kingsville Harbour and another probable bird off the West Beach at Pelee. All the birds were either winter adult or second winter plumage (P.D. Pratt). Alan Wormington and John Keenlyside had another 5 individuals flying by the tip of Point Pelee and Betty Learmouth had a single bird at the Holiday Beach Hawk Tower. These birds were pushed into the region from the midwest by yesterday's big wind storm. Over 130 were seen on Tuesday in extreme southwestern Michigan.

Monday, November 9: Randy Horvath reported another Northern Shrike at Little River today. Sunday was a record day for American Pipits at Holiday Beach with 2,692 overflying the tower (Allen Chartier, Bob Hall-Brooks).

On November 5, Rob Tymstra found a Parasitic Jaeger, while crossing to Pelee Island on the Jiimaan ferry. He also reported a Red-throated Loon at Fish Point on November 6.

Wednesday, November 4: Cold weather brought the first frost of the season last night. A Common Gull (European race of the Mew Gull) was discovered at the tip of Point Pelee by Kevin McLaughlin this morning. Other sightings today included a Northern Shrike at Little River (Randy Horvath) and a "Richardson's" Canada Goose at Holiday Beach (Hank Hunt et.al.).

It is time to start looking for Northern Saw-whet Owls. Over 400 have been banded at Long Point recently and they have started to turn up at Point Pelee and Holiday Beach.

Monday, November 2: Yesterday, counters at Holiday Beach C.A. tallied 2 Bald Eagles, 25 Northern Harriers, 12 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 10 Cooper's Hawks, 3 Northern Goshawks, 84 Red-shouldered Hawks, 1,302 Red-tailed Hawks (550 in one hour!), 7 Rough-legged Hawks, 1 adult Golden Eagle, 1 American Kestrel and 1 Peregrine Falcon (fide Bob Hall-Brooks). Other migrants included 234 Turkey Vultures, 33 Snow Geese, 2,340 American Crows, +400 Cedar Waxwings and 1 Bohemian Waxwing found by Allen Chartier.

October 1998

Monday, October 26: The Nature Centre field trip to Holiday Beach on Saturday found Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, good numbers of American Pipits and a Red-headed Woodpecker. Snow Geese (2 white phase, 1 blue phase) were seen at Jack Miners and the Canard River (one white phase) on Sunday (PD Pratt).

A light phase Swainson's Hawk was seen at Leamington on the 22nd (Alan Wormington).

Friday, October 23: Late October to mid November is the peak season for Golden Eagle migration at Holiday Beach. Eagles are most often seen on sunny days with winds from the north, mid morning to mid afternoon. The record one-day count at the hawk tower was on November 10, 1991 when 24 Golden Eagles were seen.

OFO Announces Launch of ONTBIRDS

Jean Iron, President of Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO), announced the launch of ONTBIRDS, an electronic mailing list service which notifies birders of new Ontario bird sightings of interest. ONTBIRDS automatically relays an email message posted to the service to everyone who is subscribed.

Tuesday, October 13: Starting in mid October watch for species such as Red-shouldered Hawk (48 on Oct 11), Rough-legged Hawk (1 on Oct 11), Northern Goshawk and Golden Eagle (2 on Oct 11) passing through at Holiday Beach.

Sunday, October 11: Eastern North America is blessed with a large number of deciduous trees which produce brilliant foliage colours in autumn. Ojibway is reaching its peak of colour due to recent perfect weather for colour production.

Good fall colours result when water and mineral supply to the leaf has been reduced but sunny, mild days allow continued photosynthesis. Wet, cloudy weather or killing frosts reduce foliage brilliance and shorten the period of leaf fall.

Orange, red and purple colours are produced in plants capable of forming anthocyanins such as Sugar Maple, Red Maple and White Ash. At Ojibway Red Maple Acer rubrum, Smooth Sumac Rhus glabra, Black Gum Nyssa sylvatica and Virginia Creeper Parthenocissus inserta produce bright red foliage.

Yellow colours are due to carotenes and xanthophylls in species such as birches, poplars, hickories. Brown colours found in oaks and beech are due to the presence of tannins. At Ojibway, Pignut Hickory Carya glabra and Sassafras Sassafras albidum turn a distinctive yellowish-orange in October.

September 1998

Sunday, September 27: The end of September and early October is the peak migration period for Peregrine Falcons. Unlike other raptors at Holiday Beach, Peregrines are most often seen when winds are from the south (Peregrines will still follow the lakeshore when winds are out of the south but with north winds these strong flyers often cross Lake Erie before they get to Holiday Beach). Thirteen Peregrines were seen there today, including one bird which sat perched for over 4 hours near the hawk tower (Bob Hall-Brooks).

Tuesday, September 22: Over 6,000 Blue Jays were seen at Holiday Beach today (Bob Hall-Brooks). Unlike most passerines which migrate at night, Blue Jays migrate during the day. The peak of their migration is in late September and early October when immense numbers can be seen at Holiday Beach. Last year over 450,000 were counted with a peak of 57,800 recorded on September 25/97.

Thursday, September 17: A wave of 49,155 Broad-winged Hawks moved through Holiday Beach and Malden Centre today. It was also a very good day for migrating Bald Eagles with 28 (excluding residents) counted at the hawk tower and Malden Centre (fide Fred Urie). Two Long-billed Dowitchers were present at "Carp Crossing" (Alan Wormington) on September 16.

Sunday, September 13: Bob Hall-Brooks reported the following totals for each raptor species seen at the Holiday Beach Hawk Tower today:

Osprey, 12; Northern Harrier, 85; Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1325; Broad-winged Hawk, 27; Red-tailed Hawk, 2; American Kestrel, 240; Merlin, 6; Unidentified, 1.

Tower visitors were treated to in-hand views of a Grey-cheeked Thrush, a Swainson's Thrush and an Ovenbird courtesy of the Banding Station volunteers. The cormorant census has increased to 908 at 6 a.m. standard time.

Visit the International Broad-winged Hawk Survey web site to follow their southward migration across North America.

Friday, September 11: A brief flight of Broad-winged Hawks appeared over the Ojibway Nature Centre at noon today when 497 were counted in 30 minutes. By the end of the day the total rose to 912 birds. Last night over 100 were seen going to roost in LaSalle along Bouffard Street.

Wednesday, September 09: The cool sunny weather and northwest winds brought a great flight of raptors through Holiday Beach today. The Broad-winged Hawks passed through between 3:10 and 4:50 pm. This is 10 days earlier than the first big flight last year.


Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 17
Bald Eagle 3 (+local residents)
Sharp-shinned Hawk 303
Cooper's hawk 2
Broad-winged Hawk 8,507  
Red-tailed Hawk 2
American Kestrel 108
Merlin 2

Other sightings:
Ruby-troated Hummingbird 52
Stilt Sandpiper 1 (at Carp Crossing)
Fiery Skipper 8

Monday, September 08: Brisk northwest winds carried over 400 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 86 American Kestrels, 18 Northern Harriers and 70 Broad-winged Hawks past the Holiday Beach hawk tower this morning.

Sunday, September 07: Hawks are beginning to move through Holiday Beach and north winds in mid September should bring large flights of Broad-winged Hawks. Today, 1187 Cedar Waxwings, 3 Bald Eagles (local residents), 4 Ospreys, 17 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 3 Northern Harriers, 2 American Kestrels and 2 Merlins were sighted from the hawk tower (Bob Hall-Brooks).

Friday, September 04: September is a great month for viewing fall wildflowers. Trails through the nature reserve will reveal Nodding Ladies' Tresses Orchid Spiranthes cernua, Great Plains Ladies' Tresses Orchid Spiranthes magnicamporum, Closed Gentian Gentiana andrewsii, Fringed Gentian Gentianopsis crinita, Purple Gerardia Aureolaria purpurea, Slender Gerardia Aureolaria tenuifolia, many composites such as Autumn Sneezeweed Helenium autumnale, Tall Coreopsis Coreopsis tripteris, Glaucous White Lettuce Prenanthes racemosa, Hard-leaved Goldenrod Solidago rigida, Ironweed Vernonia missourica and twelve species of asters Aster species. Click here for other autumn species.

August 1998

Sunday, August 30: 525 Common Nighthawks were seen this evening in LaSalle, mostly along Front Road and over Fighting Island (Paul Pratt).

Shorebirds at Carp Crossing, Holiday Beach today included: Killdeer 19, Black-bellied Plover 1, Semi-palmated Plover 9, Common Snipe 2, Lesser Yellowlegs 5, Short-billed Dowitcher 6, Semi-palmated Sandpiper 28, Least Sandpiper 5, and Pectoral Sandpiper 2.

Thursday, August 27: Randy Horvath found a Hooded Warbler yesterday at Little River and Fred Urie reports that the Snowy Egret continues at Holiday Beach. Over 50 Common Nighthawks were flying over Matchette Road near MicMac Park yesterday evening.

Wednesday, August 26: Bob Hall-Brooks reported 25 Common Nighthawks flying over south Windsor yesterday evening. Nighthawks are normally nocturnal but migrant birds are most often seen in the late afternoon and evening hours in late August.

Monday, August 24: The Ojibway outing on Saturday recorded 13 species of shorebirds at the Blenheim lagoons including Baird's Sandpiper and White-rumped Sandpiper. Horned Grebe, Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Duck and Hooded Merganser were found among the large number of ducks at the lagoons.

On Sunday the immature Snowy Egret at Holiday Beach was joined by a Hudsonian Godwit. Lower water levels have exposed a large mud flat at "Carp Crossing". Fred Urie found good numbers of warblers here on Saturday. The most common species was Tennessee Warbler (130).

On Saturday, Randy Horvath reported Yellow-throated Vireo (1), Olive-sided Flycatcher (3), and Blue-winged Warbler (1) from the east side of Windsor at Little River.

Thursday, August 20: The Snowy Egret continues to be seen at "Carp Crossing" in Holiday Beach Conservation Area. Twelve species of warblers were seen today at Ojibway.

Monday, August 17: Warblers are beginning to appear in good numbers. Over 20 species have been sighted in the county recently. More common species include Yellow, American Redstart, Black-and-White, Chestnut-sided and Magnolia Warbler. August is a good time to search for early season migrants such as Yellow, Blue-winged, Prairie and Pine Warblers.

A Snowy Egret was found at Holiday Beach C.A. on August 10 (Dan Lebedyk) and still present August 15 (Fred Urie).

Wednesday, August 12: This evening will provide the best opportunity to observe the Perseid meteor shower. Until the moon rises, about three hours after sunset, the skies will provide a dark background suitable for viewing even faint meteors. Although meteors can flash through any part of the sky they will appear to originate from the constellation Perseus located in the northeast sky.

Friday, August 07: Fall migration is beginning to build. Swallows are beginning to concentrate along the Lake Erie shoreline and Common Nighthawks are becoming more noticable in Windsor. The first Sharp-shinned Hawks appeared at Black Oak Heritage Park (July 24, Josie Hazen), Windsor (August 1, Allen Chartier) and Holiday Beach (August 4, Fred Urie). At least one Prothonotary Warbler remains at Holiday Beach (August 4, Fred Urie).

Tuesday, August 04: More wildflowers are coming into bloom on the prairie. The deep magenta blooms of Ironweed Vernonia missurica dominate in the prairie sites. Virginia Mountain Mint Pycnanthemum virginianum, Gray-headed Coneflower Ratibida pinnata, Flowering Spurge Euphorbia collorata, Early Goldenrod Solidago juncea, Tall Coreopsis Coreopsis tripteris and Dense Blazing Star Liatris spicata are conspicuous along trails through the nature reserve. Bright scarlet Cardinal Flowers Lobelia carinalis can be found along wooded trails in Ojibway Park.

Over the weekend Little Yellow and Common Buckeye butterflies were reported but Monarch numbers remain low (only one or two per day). Giant Swallowtail Butterflies are now common, having started their second brood on July 24.

July 1998

Monday, July 20: Male dog-day cicadas (Tibicen sp.)have started singing their loud, buzzing songs during the day (first heard on July 16). Dog-day cicadas are about 5 cm long with dark, greenish marked bodies and clear wings. Females lay their eggs in the twigs of trees but when the nymphs hatch they fall to the ground, and enter the soil where they remain for many years.

The first Northern True Katydids (Pterophylla camellifolia) were heard on the evening of July 18. Their loud, distinctive "katy did, katy didn't" song is common over much of the Northeastern US. In Ontario they can be heard only in the Carolinian region.

This is the start of the flight season for Underwing moths. Ilia, Woody and Ultronia Underwings are some of the first species to appear in July. Click here for information on how to attract these colourful insects.

Monday, July 13: More wildflowers are coming into bloom on the prairie. Virginia Mountain Mint Pycnanthemum virginianum, Gray-headed Coneflower Ratibida pinnata, Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta, Bergamot Monarda fistulosa, Culver's root Veronicastrum virginicum and Flowering Spurge Euphorbia collorataare conspicuous along trails through the nature reserve.. A few Dense Blazing Stars Liatris spicata, and Tall Ironweeds Vernonia gigantea are also beginning to bloom.

The first fall migrant, a Tennessee Warbler was recorded on July 9 at Ojibway by Fred Urie.

Monday, July 6: The Windsor butterfly count was held on Saturday, July 4th. Flight seasons are well advanced this year and many species typical of mid July such as Common Wood Nymph, Wild Indigo Duskywing, Mulberry Wing, Dion Skipper, and Duke's Skipper were recorded in good numbers. Butterflies more typical of June such as Meadow Fritillary, Silvery Checkerspot, European Skipper and Hobomok Skipper were found to be rare or absent. Morning rain and cloudy conditions also reduced the total count for swallowtails, whites/sulphurs and other common species. Click here for the complete results.

June 1998

Monday, June 29: The butterfly count will be held next Saturday, July 4th. The flight season is well advanced this year and many species more typical of July are already on the wing. Examples include Coral(June 20), Acadian(June 24), Edward's(June 25) and Banded(June 12) Hairstreaks, Northern Pearly Eye(June 23), Appalachian Eyed Brown(June 18), Northern Broken Dash(June 15), Little Glassy Wing(June 13) and Delaware Skipper(June 23).

Monday, June 22: The dragonfly outing on Saturday visited the ponds at Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park and the creek in front of the Nature Centre. It was perfect weather for seeking odonates, hot and sunny and 17 species were observed (Skimming Bluet, Fragile Fork-tail, Eastern Forktail, Common Green Darner, Common Baskettail, Prince Baskettail, Eastern Pondhawk, Dot-tailed Whiteface, Red-waisted Whiteface, Widow Skimmer, Common Whitetail, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Four-spotted Skimmer, Painted Skimmer, Blue Dasher, Ruby Meadowhawk and Black Saddlebags).

Friday, June 19: Millions of mayflies (Ephemeroptera) have been emerging along the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair shorelines this week. In Windsor, the Lakeview Marina is a good place to observe the clouds of mayflies under lights each night. The return of these huge numbers are a sign of the improved condition of the Great Lakes in recent years.

The adult mayflies are well known for their brief (ephemeral) adult lives, just a few days at most. They do not feed or drink during their short existance. They mate in swarms and the females return to the lakes to lay their eggs. The nymphs play an important ecological role as they feed on algae and in turn are eaten by fish.

Tuesday, June 16: Mid June is the best time to observe early summer prairie wildflowers. A short walk today revealed such interesting species such as Ohio Spiderwort Tradescantia ohioensis, Ragged-fringed Orchid Platanthera lacera, Purple Milkweed Asclepias purpurea and Pale-spike Lobelia Lobelia spicata in the provincial nature reserve.

Monday, June 8: A young Gray Fox found on Pelee Island provided the first confirmed breeding record for Ontario. The kit will be cared for by Erie Wildlife Rescue until it is old enough to release. An adult Gray Fox was also seen crossing the road at Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve on Sunday (Paul Pratt).

Monday, June 1: Black Oak Heritage Park had a few lingering migrants today including Blackburnian Warbler (2), Black-throated Blue Warbler (1), Canada Warbler (1) and Least Flycatcher (3). Breeding birds are much more evident as indicated by Gray Catbird (31), Cedar Waxwing (55), House Wren (37), Red-eyed Vireo (13), Baltimore Oriole (8), Scarlet Tanager (1), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (4) and Indigo Bunting (15).

If you find a turtle wandering far from water at this time of year chances are it is looking for a sunny spot to lay eggs. Male and female Painted Turtles can be separated by the length of their front claws. Males have much longer claws on their front legs than on their rear legs. Females have the same size nails on all four limbs.

Damselflies reported over the weekend at Rondeau Provincial Park include Emerald Spreadwing (common), Elegant Spreadwing, Amber-winged Spreadwing, Marsh Bluet, Hagen's Bluet, Fragile Forktail, Eastern Forktail (common) and Sedge Sprite. New dragonflies for the year include Swamp Darner and Blue Dasher. Freshly emerged Common Green Darners are adding to the existing population of migrant individuals.

May 1998

Bird migration has slowed to a trickle. Swainson's Thrushes have been heard calling overhead each evening but few warblers are in evidence. Black Oak Heritage Park had Mourning, Blackpoll, Chestnut-sided, American Redstart and Magnolia Warblers today (Fred Urie).

New dragonflies for the season include Eastern Pondhawk (yesterday) and Black Saddlebags (today) at the nature centre. Yesterday evening the prairie was ablaze with the flashing lights of thousands of firefires.

Monday, May 25: Reports from Little River, on the east side of Windsor, today include 4 Ring-necked Pheasants, 11 Willow Flycatchers and the following warblers: Yellow (63), Magnolia, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, Wilson's, Canada and Mourning (by Fred Urie).

Damselflies and dragonflies are now a common sight on local ponds. Species recorded so far this spring include Fragile Fork-tail, Eastern Fork-tail, Common Green Darner, Common Baskettail, Eastern Pondhawk, Dot-tailed Whiteface, Common Whitetail, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Four-spotted Skimmer, and Painted Skimmer.

Sunday, May 24: Butterflies such as Hobomok Skipper, Silver-spotted Skipper, Viceroy, Northern Pearl Cresent, Red-spotted Purple, Eastern Tailed Blue, Giant Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail and Tiger Swallowtail are being seen this weekend at Ojibway. Fireflies are beginning to become a common sight in the evenings. The following wildflowers were in bloom along the trail through the nature reserve on Saturday: racemose false solomon's seal, yellow star-grass, Ohio spiderwort, southern blue flag, blue-eyed grass, false toad flax, Canada anemone, woodland strawberry, wild geranium, arrow-leaved violet, hoary puccoon and two-flowered cynthia.

Thursday, May 7: Lots of bird activity today in Windsor. Wood Thrush was heard again singing at Ojibway Park this morning. From Black Oak Heritage Park Fred Urie reports Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Catbird, Northern Oriole, a pair of Kingfisher, Spotted Sandpiper, Great Egret, Warbling and Blue-headed Vireos, American Pipit, Indigo Bunting, Black and White, Nashville, Prairie and Yellow Warblers. The Prairie Warbler was located 50 m northwest of the pond in the middle field area of the park. Closer to the river Blackburnian, Hooded, and Palm Warblers were reported. The Hooded Warbler was 600 m from river in middle of cottonwoods on bike path near surveyor stake.  At Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park, Nashville, Northern Parula, Black-throated Green, Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warblers, were reported together with Northern and Orchard Orioles, and Warbling and Blue-headed Vireos.

Wednesday, May 6: In Windsor's Memorial Park Fred Urie reported Black-throated Green, Black and White, Nashville, and Blue-winged Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, Ovenbird, Blue-headed and Warbling Vireos.

[Pelee Summary] - Bright sunshine greeted visitors this morning for the first time in many days and bird activity increased once again in response to the generally benign conditions. Baltimore Orioles were definitely more conspicuous at the tip as were Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Several Red-headed Woodpeckers added colour to the show. Other arrivals reported this morning included several Blue-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers. Rarer sightings included Golden-winged, Cerulean, Prairie and Hooded Warblers, Orhard Oriole and an early Yellow-billed Cuckoo. In all 20 species of warbler have been reported so far today (3:40 pm). An obvious reverse migration also took place in the first few hours of the day. Blue Jays were especially obvious. Other birds observed decreasing in numbers include White-throated Sparrows, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Yellow-rumped Warblers, although all are still common. A late winter-plumaged Red-throated Loon was also seen flying overhead.

A few additional sightings reported late yesterday afternoon included a rare orange variant of the Scarlet Tanager (our first Tanager of the spring) and our first Black Tern. Elsewhere,outside the Park, Harrow Sewage Lagoon continues to have good conditions for shorebirds. However, yesterday's tally only included 88 Dunlin, 1 Killdeer and 1 Lesser Yellowlegs. Blenheim Sewage Lagoon had similar species with the addition of a few unidentified peeps (flying away) and a few Northern Shovelors and Ruddy Ducks. Expectations are high that much more is to come. In fact, several fields just north of the Park have flooded areas that have been productive. A high total of 47 Lesser Yellowlegs was reported from one such pond today. Another had a small flock of Least Sandpipers.

Donald and Lillian Stokes, who just arrived in the Park, reported that Crane Creek, Ohio had a movement of birds in overnight as well. They said that about 20 species of warbler had been reported there today.

Tuesday, May 5: A Wood Thrush was singing today along Ojibway Park's Pin Oak Trail. A female Rose-breasted Grosbeak was visiting the Nature Centre's feeders at Ojibway Park. Gunther Preuschat reported a Red-headed Woodpecker coming into a backyard feeder at Howard and Cabana in Windsor.

A very unusual snake was brought into the Ojibway Nature Centre today. Gerry Tousignant brought in a Milk Snake that he had found in his backyard. The young snake is currently on display at the Nature Centre.

[Pelee summary] - Song was dominated by Eastern Towhee and Carolina Wren. At the Tip, an American Pipit was sighted again, along with 2 Horned Grebes. A Common Loon was heard calling through the mist, though it was not seen until afternoon from the West Beach parking lot. Birders were delighted to see a Golden-winged Warbler, which quickly flew north from the Tip and out of sight. Blue-headed Vireos and Hermit Thrushes were still being seen in good numbers. Warbling Vireo, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting were also reported today. The LeConte's Sparrow was seen well into yesterday afternoon, though there have been no reports today.

Monday, May  4: Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Pheasant and Sora were all reported from SpringGarden area today by Josie Hazen.

Sunday, May  3: Ovenbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Rufous-sided Towhee were present at Ojibway Park along the Prairie Path. Many flowering trees and shrubs are in full bloom and will attract a number of songbirds. A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was visiting Ojibway Nature Centre's feeders.

Chorus Frogs and American Toads continue to sing in Ojibway Park.

Friday, May 1: Trees are rapidly leafing out in Windsor but Point Pelee appears to be lagging behind by about two weeks. In Windsor blooming shrubs and trees this week include Wild Crab Malus coronaria, Sassafras Sassafras albidum, Pawpaw Asimina triloba and American Plum Prunus americana.

April 1998

Wednesday, April 29: Highlight of Ojibway's birding trip to Point Pelee was an excellent view of a Virginia Rail along the west side of the tip. Two Grasshopper Sparrows were found among the Savannah, Field, Song, White-throated and Chipping Sparrows north of the tip transit stop along the west side trail. Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers were common along the seasonal birding trail north of Sanctuary Picnic Area.

Friday, April 24: New arrivals at Ojibway include House Wren, Northern Rough-winged Swallow and Swamp Sparrow. Other firsts include flowering Arrow-leaved Violet Viola saggitata and Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum. The first damselfly of the spring, an Eastern Forktail Ischnura verticalis was also found today.

Tuesday, April 21: A record early Western Sandpiper was found by Alan Wormington at the east end of Concession D, outside Point Pelee. Two Soras were calling from the pond in Spring Garden prairie (Josie Hazen).

Many trees are in bloom or starting to leaf out. Yellow Trout Lily Erythronium americanum, White Trillium Trillium grandiflorum, Wood Anemone Anemone quinquefolia, Purple Cress Cardamine douglassii, Merry Bells Uvularia sessilifolia, Wild Strawberry Fragaria virginiana, Kidney-leaved Buttercup Ranunculus abortivus, Yellow Violet Viola pubescens and Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata are now in flower.

Monday, April 20: The ECFNC excursion to Little River on the east side of Windsor found 2 Green Herons yesterday and Betty learmouth saw 10 Hermit Thrushes and a Spotted Sandpiper there today. A Louisiana Waterthrush was seen today along the main ditch through the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve (Fred Urie). Over at Black Oak, Fred found a Blue-headed Vireo, 15 Cabbage White Butterflies and a Red Admiral butterfly.

Tuesday, April 14: Several new migrants were found in Black Oak Heritage Park today by Fred Urie. Highlights at Black Oak included 3 Blue-grey Gnatcatchers, 11 Hermit Thrushes, 9 Eastern Towhees, 1 Brown Thrasher, 11 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 19 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 4 Winter Wrens and 25 Northern Flickers.

Thursday, April 9: See the Ministry of Natural Resources press release for details of the upcoming prescribed burn at Ojibway. Portions of oak woodland, savanna and prairie communities are planned for a controlled burn when weather conditions improve.

Monday, April 6: Ojibway recorded the first Eastern Garter Snake and Red-eared Slider of the spring today.

Fred Urie spotted a Black Vulture soaring over the Harrow sewage lagoons on Sunday. The bird was flying north with a flock of Turkey Vultures.

Over the weekend, Point Pelee had a record early Palm Warbler on Saturday (Paul Pratt, Glenn Gervais). Highlights of Ojibway's field trip to Pelee included a Short-eared Owl over the west beach at Pioneer Picnic area, several Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in Tilden's Woods and Common Loon and six Horned Grebes off Northwest Beach.

Spring wildflowers such as Whitlow-grass (Draba verna), Bitter Cress (Cardamine pensylvanica), Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba), Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) and Dutchman's Breeches (Dicentra cuccularia) were reported over the weekend.

March 1998

Monday, March 30: Lots of new arrivals were found in Windsor by weekend birders including Double-crested Cormorant, Horned Grebe, Black-crowned Night-Heron(Dan Dufour), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Tree Swallows, Field Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, Eastern Towhees, Winter Wrens, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Pine Warbler(Fred Urie).

On Sunday, Lorna Goggin at Oxley Harbour, observed a fog bank came in off Lake Erie at 2:00 p.m. With the arrival of the fog there was a dropout of 100 to 150 Turkey Vultures that landed on her house and surrounding trees.

Don Bissonnette reports as of Saturday, March 28, that Eastern Bluebirds at the Harrow Research Station have two completed nests and partially completed another on the bluebird trail.

On Saturday, Chorus Frogs, Northern Leopard Frogs, Spring Peepers and even American Toads were reported singing in Essex County. On Sunday, the first Northern Brown Snake was found at Black Oak (Josie Hazen) and first Blanding's Turtle was seen at Pelee (Paul Pratt).

Friday, March 27: Warm weather continues and today we had our first spring record for Snapping Turtle(Hillary Bruner), and the earlist ever sighting of a Green Darner dragonfly, Anax junius (Karen Cedar). American Hazel shrubs, Corylus americana also began flowering today.

David D'hondt found a Short-eared Owl today in an area being developed at Lakeview & Dillon, just off Riverside Drive East, on the east edge of Windsor. The first Great Egret of the year was reported by Glenn Gervais.

Thursday, March 26: Temperatures reached the low 20's today and Chorus Frogs are in full song. The first Mourning Cloak butterfly, seven Eastern Phoebes, Turkey Vulture, Rusty Blackbirds and two pairs of Eastern Bluebirds were found by Karen Cedar and Hillary Bruner at Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park. Nine Painted Turtles and several Northern Leopard Frogs were also seen today.

Tuesday, March 24: Chorus Frogs began calling today with the arrival of warmer temperatures. Ojibway's first butterfly of the season, a Hop Merchant, Polygonia comma, was also reported today by Dan Dufour.

Sunday, March 22: The tiny white blooms of Whitlow-grass, Erophila verna have appeared despite the cold and snow of only yesterday.

Friday, March 20: Spring officially arrives today at 2:55 pm EST when the path of the sun crosses the equator.

The first Northern Leopard Frog of the spring was found at Gary Park in LaSalle on Wednesday.

An Eastern Screech-Owl was seen at dusk yesterday in the Wood Duck box in front of the Ojibway Nature Centre. White-winged Crossbills continue to be seen at Point Pelee, just south of Black Willow Beach. The birds feed on fallen cones beneath White Pines.

Sunday, March 15: Visit our new "Birding Guide to Ojibway" by clicking here.

Wood Ducks arrived at Ojibway on March 13 and Eastern Bluebirds were seen in Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park on March 13 and at the pond in Ojibway Park on March 14. Our first Hermit Thrush was found near the Nature Centre on March 14 (Fred Urie). Good numbers of Tundra Swans were reported from the St. Clair National Wildlife Area today.

Sunday, March 8: Migration continues to advance. Glenn Gervais reports +1,000 Tundra Swans, a Northern Shrike and Lapland Longspur in the fields near the St. Clair National Wildlife Area on March 4. In the Ojibway area American Robins, Rusty Blackbirds, Brown Creepers and Golden-crowned Kinglets continue to increase in numbers. A Marsh Wren at the Spring Garden lagoon on March 2 (Fred Urie) may be an overwintering individual.

Fred Urie conducted an inventory of Tufted Titmice in the Ojibway/LaSalle area since Christmas. A record high total of 52 individuals have been recorded this winter!

February 1998

Saturday, February 28: February was extremely mild and without snowfall. Pussy willows have been out since mid month and Snowdrops are flowering in Windsor gardens. The first Dandelion and first native woodland wildflower, Harbinger-of-Spring Erigenia bulbosa, were found in bloom today along the Canard River (Paul Pratt).

Bald Eagle is another early nesting species. An eagle was sitting on a nest near the mouth of the Canard River today (Paul Pratt).

Thursday, February 26: The first migrant American Robins were seen this morning in LaSalle (Paul Pratt).

Wednesday, February 25: Elinor Sfalcin had four White-winged Crossbills visit her yard today in Windsor. Early arrivals today include Turkey Vulture at the Windsor airport (Glenn Gervais) and an American Woodcock displaying in the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve in the evening (Paul Pratt).

Monday, February 23: The continuation of mild weather brought large numbers of early migrants into the region on the weekend. Newly arrived Red-winged Blackbirds are singing in the prairie and mixed flocks of blackbirds and grackles are widespread. Over 300 Tundra Swans were seen along Hwy 401 at the St. Joachim exit on Saturday (Paul Pratt). An "Oregon" Junco made a appearance at a feeder in LaSalle on Sunday (Paul Pratt). The first butterfly of the spring, a Hop Merchant was seen at Pelee yesterday (Fred Urie).

The first ever Great '98 Backyard Bird Count was held over the weekend. Click here to go to the BirdSource web site for the results.

Friday, February 20: Small flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds and Horned Larks were seen flying over the park and our first Eastern Chipmunks were reported today. Yesterday Fred Urie found an adult Red-shouldered Hawk in Windsor and flocks of Tundra Swans along Lake St. Clair.

Monday, February 16: Fred Urie reports an immature Red-shouldered Hawk at Canard River Conservation Area. Ring-billed Gulls are beginning to return. Over 350 were along the lower portion of River Canard on Saturday. Glenn Gervais discovered a Northern Shrike on Sunday along Highway 3 at Concession 9 Road.

The highlight of Ojibway's birding trip to Point Pelee on Saturday was a close encounter with four White-winged Crossbills found just south of Black Willow Beach. The birds were feeding with Red-breasted Nuthatches on fallen cones beneath mature White Pines.

Thursday, February 12: Glenn Gervais reports immense rafts of waterfowl on Lake St. Clair along the east edge of Windsor over the past few days. Up to 20,000 birds, mostly scaup, Canvasback, Redhead, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and mergansers can be seen from Sandpoint Beach.

Chuck Fawdry found a nesting Great Horned Owl in Wheatley Provincial Park this week. Great Horned Owls are the earliest nesting birds in our area.

Monday, February 9: After an absence of over 100 years Wild Turkeys are back in Essex County. Fourteen birds trapped from established flocks have been released in Malden township by the Ministry of Natural Resources. This project is part of the Ontario Wild Turkey Program which has seen the Ontario population of turkeys rise to over 16,000 since the program began in 1984.

Thursday, February 5: Sharri Wright reports an early Killdeer near Wheatley today. Watch for other early migrants such as Horned Larks, Ring-billed Gulls and waterfowl over the next few weeks.

January 1998

Saturday, January 31: A Northern Oriole made a brief appearance in Amherstburg, where it visited Ron and Anne Muir's feeders on January 28 and 29.

Sunday, January 25: The Townsend's Solitaire and Snowy Owl continue to be seen at Pelee. The owl is usually seen at the eastern end of Concession "C" which runs between Pelee Drive and Marentette Beach.

Sunday, January 18: Dave Martin relocated the elusive Townsend's Solitaire today at Point Pelee. The bird was found next to the Blue Heron Picnic Area washrooms.

Saturday, January 17: Highlight of the Nature Centre's outing today was a liesurely study of a Snowy Owl just outside Point Pelee at the corner of Concession C and Smith Road. Other interesting finds during the day included a Savannah Sparrow at the tip and Eastern Towhee at the Visitor Centre.

Along County Road 8 west of Essex Paul Pratt found a field covered with fresh manure. In addition to a large number of American Crows the field contained several hundred Snow Buntings, dozens of Horned Larks and 4 Lapland Longspurs. The field is located 250 metres east of Concession 12 on the north side of County Road 8.

Betty Learmouth found over 30 Common Redpolls and 10 Horned larks at the intersection of Walker Road and County Road 15 at the Cargill Fertilizer plant. The birds were feeding on the profusion of weedy plants around the dogwoods planted next to the plant.

Tuesday, January 13: You may have noticed fewer American Crows in Essex corn fields this winter. The Essex crow roost declined from 96,000 last winter to 29,000 this winter. Meanwhile the Chatham crow roost has steadily increased. The Chatham/Lake St. Clair CBC tallied 106,100 crows on January 3rd.

Monday, January 12: More indicators of the warm winter season include a Big Brown Bat sighting from LaSalle and the capture of a Red-eared Slider and Painted Turtle from the creek in front of the Nature Centre.

Fred Urie found 4 White-winged Crossbills along Turkey Creek in the Spring Garden ANSI on Sunday, January 11th. This is the first record for the Ojibway area.

Tuesday, January 6: The recent mild weather produced two interesting records today. An American Toad found near Essex and two bats flying about the park office at Wheatley Provincial Park.

A Snowy Owl was found January 4th along the south side of the Windsor airport by Phil Roberts.

Thursday, January 1: Twenty-six people began the new year by participating in the Detroit River CBC. Highlights included eight Eastern Bluebirds at Spring Garden ANSI and Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, Belted Kingfisher at Little River, Northern Mockingbird (Russell at Mill St.), Bald Eagle (Peche Island) and Long-eared Owl (west end of Morton Dr.). Fifty-eight species were recorded on the Ontario side of the Detroit River and 72 species overall. Click here for complete results.

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