April 14, 2014

Looking Back: Memories of Point Pelee

Southernmost point in Canada
One of my favourite signs of spring
It's April and we are well into spring migration. The Red-winged Blackbirds, Eastern Phoebes, Tree Swallows, and Robins have all been arriving in greater numbers over the past few weeks, as are some of the early warblers. It's the time of year that makes people like me antsy as we go about our daily lives. When I'm walking to work on a beautiful sunny morning, I feel a greater temptation than usual to just keep going past the door and head over to High Park or one of the parks on Lake Ontario. It also gets me thinking about Pelee.

It's only been a tradition for two years, but already this time of year has a sort of Pavlovian effect on me -- April hits and I start thinking about Pelee. On the first week of May last year and the year before, I have joined my birding buddy Mark for a week of camping down near Point Pelee National Park (he's been going for seven years). It's an intense week of waking up at 5am and looking for birds all day until dark. Food is simple, showers are infrequent, but the birds are great.

This year I am unfortunately not going to make it down there and, honestly, it kind of hurts. For now I am consoling myself by looking at photos from the previous two years. Click through to see a collection of highlights from my first Pelee trip in 2012 (as always, you can click on any image to enlarge):

Above: Two lifer terns upon arrival the first year - Caspian Tern (left) and Forster's Tern (right); Local rarity Eared Grebe swimming around The Tip; Chipping Sparrow; Yellow-rumped Warbler; American Woodcock; House Wren on a fence
Below: Barn Swallows twittering; Red-headed Woodpecker; Surf Scoter coming in for a landing; Blue-winged Teals

Above: White-eyed Vireo; Warbling Vireo; Black-throated Green Warbler; Female Eastern Towhee;
A Sedge Wren pops out into the open for a moment
Below: A canoe trip in Hillman Marsh yields Greater Yellowlegs; and Purple Martins; and Dunlin;
Back at Pelee for Blackburnian Warbler; and Black-throated Blue Warbler

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