This past Monday I had the pleasure of attending the 68th annual Christmas Bird Count at Point Pelee. I was also stoked to be assigned to the Point (our area extended from the Point to the visitor’s centre).
Though not as warm as other years, the weather was pretty reasonable for December. The count hit the ground running with some White-Winged Scoters, Red-breasted Mergansers, Great Black-Backed Gulls, and a nice flight of 250 Red-Winged Blackbirds.
The morning was intense and we surpassed the 40 species mark before lunch time. The afternoon definitely slowed down quite a bit. It was a great time to be out, and the west side of the point was extremely calm and still.
The best bird on the entire count (not just our area) was BY FAR a bird we saw right at the point, a Purple Sandpiper! It was my life bird #291 and year bird #250. I only got a few extremely poor shots which *might* qualify as a record shots.
Other Highlights from my area included: a mind-boggling amount of White-winged Scoters (800), 3 Long-tailed Ducks, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Black Scoter, hundreds of Red-Breasted Merganser, several Red-Shouldered Hawk (including an extremely close eye-level flyby) and a lifer mammal (a Silver-haired Bat, a migratory species which usually doesn’t hibernate here).
Before and after the count, I spent a few minutes at Delaurier (within the park), and got to hear 3 Great-horned Owls and saw a Chipping Sparrow.
All in all, it was a great day at the point! Many thanks go out to Paul Pratt (retired Ojibway Park Naturalist), who skilfully lead my group. I ended up with 45 species and the all the areas reporting, the Point Pelee Bird Count notched 94 species.