Brown Thrasher

PIBO's 2010 migration monitoring season got underway at Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve on April 2nd under clear blue skies and with light winds from the south. It was quickly evident on start-up that spring migration was well underway in southern Ontario due to mild weather throughout the region in the last few weeks of March, and lots of birds we're noted on the island from April 2nd - 10th.

A mix of early-spring migrants were encountered such as Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers, along with good numbers of newer arrivals including Eastern Phoebe, Tree Swallow, Purple Martin, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Hundreds of cormorants were tallied on census on the 7th, and gull numbers appeared to increase throughout the week, with upwards of 400 Bonaparte's, hundreds of Herring, and a few Ring-billed Gulls, recorded on April 6th. Other water birds observed this week include Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, American Coot, and a number of waterfowl species.

There was some hawk migration noted on the 5th and 6th, with small numbers of Northern Harrier and American Kestrel observed, along with more than 140 Turkey Vultures, including a creamy-white 'leucistic' bird with extremely worn plumage.

Songbird migration was steady throughout the summary period, with ones-and-twos of the species mentioned above recorded almost daily, along with a variety of other April migrants including Hermit Thrush, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Pine Warbler, Eastern Meadowlark, and eight sparrow species, among others. In all, PIBO staff and volunteers documented seventy-three species on the island up to April 10th.

PIBO's next summary will be posted on April 21st.

Photo: Sumiko Onishi