[Ontbirds] BT Gray Warbler and more - Rock Point Provincial Park

Adam Timpf adam.timpf at gmail.com
Wed Nov 13 20:04:19 EST 2019

Birders, it was excellent birding at Rock Point P.P. this afternoon. One of
the first birds I put my binoculars on was a first winter BLACK-THROATED
GRAY WARBLER actively feeding in the bushes and trees along the shoreline
near the lookout tower in the SE corner of the park. I'm not sure if they
are sexually dimorphic at this age, but it looked just like the 1st year
female illustrated in the Sibley guide. It was associating with a large
roving flock of kinglets and chickadees, but tended to feed higher up in
the trees, while the kinglets were commonly much lower and feeding close to
the ground as many birds do when the weather is cold and snowy. It also
seemed to prefer the oak trees that are still holding onto their brown
leaves. Standing on the edge of the bluffs, sometimes it was up above in
the oak trees, while at other times you had to look down towards the
lakeshore to pick it out of the bushes. I lost it frequently while failing
to achieve a binocular photo, but it occasionally gave a chip note and I
could re-find it with patience.

After giving up on photographing the bird, I sifted through the kinglet
flock and quickly found a 1st winter WHITE-EYED VIREO feeding low to the
ground, and sometimes in the company of a ratty looking WESTERN PALM
WARBLER. It was missing a tail feather or two, but it vigorously pumped
what tail it had left.

I checked the shoreline for shorebirds and came up with 6 DUNLIN and 1
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER on the rocky shelves. This can be a good spot for
Purple Sandpipers, but I didn't find any today. The lake had lots of
waterfowl and grebes on it, but given the landbird excitement I didn't give
it much of a look with limited time to spend.

I circled back to the kinglet flock as it was starting to snow and get dark
and I found another warbler feeding low to the ground. It was a poor view,
but at the very least it was an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, with yellow
underparts, a pale face and throat, and greenish back and wings.

I didn't explore much of the park at all, so maybe there are other goodies
to be found.

Rock Point is in Haldimand County, southeast of Dunnville, on the east side
of the Grand River and along the shores of Lake Erie.

PARKING - At the end of Downey Road there is a small parking lot that
hunters use, and can't fit more than 5 cars or so. I talked to a local
woman about parking along Downey Rd, and her main concern was that snow
ploughs and school buses need room to turn around at the end of Downey Rd.
Please keep this in mind if you choose to park on the side of the rd. Don't
park on Downey Rd right next to the hunter parking lot. It's also unclear
to me if hunters have exclusive use of this parking lot or not. When I
showed up in the afternoon, nobody was there, but first thing in the
morning might be different. From this spot, it's about 250m to the
shoreline in the SE corner of the park. Parking at the entrance to the park
along Niece Rd, you have over a 1km hike, so I'm hopeful Downey Rd proves
to be a viable option.

Happy Birding,

Adam Timpf
Walsingham, ON

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