PIBO's 2011 migration coverage season got underway at Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve on April 4th under cloudy skies, with light rainfall and strong winds from the south. Despite the inclement weather, a nice variety of birds were observed on the day including ten waterfowl species and moderate numbers of songbirds including phoebes, Tree Swallows, both kinglet species, robins, a Brown Thrasher, and five sparrow species.
A typical mix of early-Spring migrants were recorded throughout the first half of the month and new arrivals were documented almost daily from April 4th - 15th. Large numbers of Red-breasted Merganser and scaup were counted including 800 mergansers on April 15th and 350 scaup on the 13th. Dabbling ducks at Fox Pond included Blue and Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Wood Duck and Mallard. In all, sixteen waterfowl species were noted during the summary period. Cormorants and Bonaparte's Gulls were numerous, with 900 of the former on the 15th, and 800 Bonaparte's on the 13th. An adult Glaucous Gull was found at the tip on April 10th. A few raptors were observed on the island from the 4th - 15th including small numbers of American Kestrel, Merlin, Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Songbirds were active and Spring-firsts were recorded for many migrants including Tree, Barn and Rough-winged Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and an early Northern Parula on April 12th. American Robins and Northern Flickers moved through the area in good numbers, with 46 robins tallied on the 10th. A lingering winter species - Common Redpoll - was found feeding with a small group of Field Sparrows on April 8th. A Grasshopper Sparrow at the tip on the 10th was one of eight sparrow species noted that day.
Along with robins and flickers, a range of other species were recorded in good numbers from the 4th - 15th including 106 Tree Swallows feeding on the west beach on April 4th, hundreds of redwings and grackles, and smaller numbers of Rusty Blackbirds. Juncos were active as well, along with Song and Swamp Sparrows, and smaller numbers of Tree, Fox, Field, and Chipping Sparrows. All told, 75 species were documented at Fish Point from the 4th - 15th during PIBO's standard count period, along with fourteen species noted at other locations on the island.
PIBO's next migration summary will be posted on May 1st.
Photo: Sumiko Onishi