November 1st – 15th, 2011


Northern Saw–whet Owl


November 1st

A slight increase in activity with 38 species tallied during the morning coverage including a near record-late Red–eyed Vireo. Lots of European Starlings overhead as well, with more than 2500 blackbirds counted on the day.


November 2nd

More southerly winds and mild temperatures and very few birds documented on the day.


November 3rd

An active morning including good numbers of Horned Grebes (70) and Buffleheads (80), a few lingering Killdeers and Sanderlings, lots of American Crows (514 heading south off the tip), and a station-high 22,000 high-flying blackbirds (mostly Redwings and Grackles) departing from the point in a seemingly endless stream of birds. This count, the bulk of which was observed during a 45-minute walk up the west beach, likely represents a mere fraction of the total number of diurnally migrating blackbirds on the day.


November 4th

Although redwings and grackles were reduced to about 2000 birds, a host of other species were observed in good numbers today, with 47 species detected during five hours of coverage. Red–breasted Mergansers were more in evidence, with 250 individuals noted on the census, along with fall-firsts for Common Loon and Greater Scaup.


November 5th

Strong east winds and not much to report on the day.


November 6th

A similar morning to the 5th and very little of note on census or in the netting area.


November 7th

Two days of south winds, more mild temperatures (12° C at dawn), some rain this–morning, and just 24 species recorded during the morning coverage period.


November 8th

Another very mild day and a relatively quiet morning apart from good numbers of waterfowl on the lake. Over 1000 unidentified waterfowl species (too distant for identification) – likely Red–breasted Mergansers for the most part – along with a mix of Horned GrebesHorned Grebes, Greater and Lesser Scaups, and Buffleheads.





November 9th

Fifteen degrees at dawn, more south winds, and steady showers made for another uneventful morning, with just 21 species noted during the 90–minute census.


November 10th

The ups–and–downs of migration were witnessed again today – just 48 waterfowl spp. were recorded yesterday compared to almost 1000 Red–breasted Mergansers, 145 Buffleheads, and 330 unidentified waterfowl species recorded on the lake this morning.


November 11th

A very active morning with more than 3000 Red–breasted Mergansers tallied during the census along with good numbers of scaup (150), Buffleheads (82), and the first Hooded Mergansers of the fall. Other noteworthy sightings included the first Tundra Swans of the season and a Golden Eagle.


November 12th

Still lots of birds on the lake (2100 Red–breasted Mergansers) but not much songbird activity apart from small numbers of kinglets, robins, Yellow–rumped Warblers, and a variety of sparrows.


November 13th

It was mild this morning (13° C) and not too busy on the lake or in the woods, although a station-high 267 American Robins were noted moving south through–out the coverage period and a Golden Eagle (likely the same bird from the 11th) was observed at Fox Pond.


November 14th

Steady rain and 14° C at dawn, and little to report with the exception of another 215 American Robins, a few thousand blackbird spp., more than 1000 European Starlings, and a group of 41 American Goldfinches.


November 15th

The final day of the fall coverage season was generally uneventful, although there were still lots of Horned Grebes at the tip (54) along with a small group of Sanderlings (13), a few dozen Golden–crowned Kinglets, another 80 American Robins, and a nice variety of sparrows including 43 Dark–eyed Juncos and 10 American Tree Sparrows. While migrants continue to move through Southwestern Ontario, it’s time for the PIBO crew to pack up after another successful year on Pelee Island.



Red–breasted Mergansers


A big thanks from all of us at PIBO for all of your support, and special thanks to the hard–working interns and volunteers who helped out in the field in 2011. Have a wonderful winter!


Photo: Sumiko Onishi