[Ontbirds] OFO Field Trip: Westmeath and Lake Dore, Sunday Oct 2

mark gawn gawnbirding at hotmail.com
Sun Oct 2 18:53:44 EDT 2016

Today a small but eager group spurned dismal weather forecasts, donned rain suits, and set out to see what Westmeath Provincial Park would produce. We were not disappointed. The riverside vegetation produced a flock of eight Nelson's Sparrows which provided excellent views; at times up to five were visible, feeding at the tops of taller reeds -- a special shout out to Jon Ruddy for the up to the minute intel on this species. A sandbar immediately behind the sparrows had our best shore birding of the day, in the form of a dozen Black-bellied and two Golden Plover, also very well seen. A Dunlin and a second winter Lesser Black-backed Gull were the highlights at the Pembroke Marina. When we arrived at Lake Dore it was dead calm, but fog bound. Fortunately the fog lifted after a while and we had perfect conditions to pick out distant birds. No shearwaters (!) but the usual large numbers of Common Loon and Bonaparte's Gulls were present (both est. at 100+), recently joined by growing numbers of Red-necked (over a dozen) and Horned Grebes (40+). Two Bald Eagles did fly overs and a latish Spotted Sandpiper flew by at one point; a flock of six probable Surf Scoters were too distant to identify with certainty. There were lots of large mixed species flocks on the move, one contained three Pine Warblers, another had an Orange-crowned Warbler and a late/regionally uncommon Field Sparrow. An unusual highlight was a leuchistic White-crowned Sparrow: when first seen it reminded us of a canary. Our final stop, along the Snake River Line, produced a flock of ten Sandhill Crane. In total, 63 species were seen.

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