Saturday, 6 August 2016

Rock Point Provincial Park

03 August 2016

     Rock Point Provincial Park is situated near Dunnville (Haldimand County), Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Erie. We had not previously visited this park and, having bought an annual pass to our provincial parks this year, we decided to visit it to see what it was like.
     We had asked our friends John and Geraldine Sanderson if they would like to accompany us and they too looked forward to visiting a park previously unknown to them. We picked them up at 08:00 and set off together for the day's adventure.
     Once inside the park we found an area by the lake that seemed to hold the promise of good birding - and we were not disappointed. Perhaps most impressive was the sheer number of American Yellow Warblers Setophaga aestiva already migrating south, a stark reminder that summer is waning and fall will soon be here.

American Yellow Warbler - male
     We were attracted to the clamour of a fledgling Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater begging incessantly for its surrogate Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia parent to feed it. It seemed that no matter how many insects the dedicated "parent" stuffed into the cowbird's gape it was never enough.  

Song Sparrow feeding Brown-headed Cowbird
       Many butterflies were found in this area, the most ubiquitous being Cabbage White Pieris rapae.

Cabbage White

     We have not seen many Monarchs Danaus plexippus this year but a few have started to show up here and there, and small numbers of this archetypal species were present in the park.


     Not to be outdone the diminutive Spring Azure Celestrina lucia was often observed flitting from plant to plant, alighting only briefly and often concealed by foliage.

Spring Azure

     Actually the whole azure complex has recently undergone taxonomic revision and I believe that the Spring Azure may have been merged with another azure species. Butterflies not being my field of expertise, I am not sure whether the name has been retained or not.

     Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilo glaucus, large and majestic, drifted everywhere, always an impressive sight.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

     The final butterfly species I was able to photograph was Red-spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax, a distinctive member of the Nymphalidae.

Red-spotted Purple

Red-spotted Purple

     There are various species of Katydid and I am not proficient enough to know which species this one is, but it was certainly an interesting looking creature.

Katydid sp.

     Periodically along the beach small groups of gulls were sighted, both American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus and Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis.

American Herring Gull

Ring-billed Gull

     When we had lunch we were entertained by a family of Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica. The adults were providing a constant stream of food to young birds that looked just about ready to fledge.

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow

     After lunch we returned to the car and drove around the park to explore its different features.

     There were several dead fish on the beach, mostly quite large, and of unknown species. As you can see from the following picture nothing had gone to waste.

     The shoreline at this point was predominantly a limestone shelf with sporadic stands of vegetation.

     This sub adult American Herring Gull had located a dead fish in the water and was enjoying easy pickings.

     This park has a sandy beach for families who come to enjoy the water, but the limestone formations prevail for most of the area, especially in the southeast corner of the park.

     Miriam was able to snap this Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius, darting in and out of cover to feed. 

     This park is renowned for its fossil formations dating back to the Devonian period, some 300 million years ago, and it was not hard to find them embedded in the limestone and bedrock.

     We all had a splendid day and we will look forward to visiting this interesting park again, perhaps in different seasons, and getting to know some of its secrets.

All bird species observed en route: Canada Goose, Mallard, Wild Turkey, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer, Ring-billed Gull, Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, American Crow, Barn Swallow, Common Starling, American Robin, House Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Common Grackle, Indigo Bunting.

All bird species observed at Rock Point Provincial Park: Canada GooseMallard, Double-crested Cormorant, Turkey Vulture, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Ring-billed Gull, American Herring Gull, Caspian Tern, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, House Wren, Grey Catbird, American Robin, American Goldfinch, American Yellow Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, Brown-headed Cowbird, Song Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Northern Cardinal.

Total species: 35



  1. Stunning post David,loved seeing the Butterflies,you did very well with the high bird count.

  2. Hy dear David,
    A paradise of bird ! I like the Warbler, all the warbler. I would like to see these birds once in my life .... it's my little dream :))
    The butterflies are amazing, Red-spotted Purple is superb.

    I smiled at the swallows nest..... lol Nice family.
    Hugs dear David. Happy week-end.

    1. Come on over here in May, Nathalie, and I will help you to see many of these warblers.

    2. I am not sure I know what you mean, Nathalie.

  3. I love to watch butterflies and birds!
    Fantastic photos !

  4. Hi. Wow. Just insanely stunning butterflies. However, American Yellow Warbler is my favorite. Beautiful.

  5. The American Yellow Warbler is a beautiful bird, David, but it's the butterfly images that have got my juices running! The Red-spotted Purple is spectacular!

    Love to you both - - - Richard

  6. The Warbler is beautiful David and so is your today's post. Butterflies, landscape and fossils all in a one day visit. Btw Pipilo glaucus must be Papilio glaucus. Gr Jan W

    1. You are very observant, Jan. I will make the correction. Thanks.

  7. Nice group of butterflies, birds and fossils! Thanks for correcting my frog ID the other day.

  8. Amazing photos of these beautiful birds and you have done amazing work to capture these beautiful photos. its really appreciable post.
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  9. nice collection of photos. these are looking so beautiful and that park is looking beautiful.
    Same Day Agra Tour By Car

  10. Looks hot there too...........

  11. Hi David, some wonderful images, very taken with your Butterflies and the poor Song Sparrow feeding the Brown-headed Cowbird. Looks a wonderful place to visit. Regards John

  12. Wow -- if this place is an example, your Annual Parks Pass was a great investment! Beautiful butterflies and I'd love to see that many warblers (but those darn cowbirds -- I just can't help thinking about the dead sparrow babies while poor mom tries to keep the interloper's baby satisfied).

    The fossils would be a great thing to see -- so much natural history in this one park.

  13. Hello, the yellow warbler is a gorgeous bird. I also love it's song. The cowbird being fed is a sad sight. I do enjoy seeing the fossils. Have a great week ahead!

  14. Beautiful shots of the birds and butterflies here, I especially love the shot of the grasshopper that you got too! - Tasha

  15. Really super shots, and I was especially intrigued by the fossils. Now I could investigate those for hours- so interesting!

  16. What a great day out, with such beautiful scenery! Terrific close ups of the butterflies. The lake looks high.

  17. Hi David.

    Beautiful series.
    Beautiful yellow bird and what fun it foraging bird.
    Beautiful butterflies.
    Nice park.

    Groettie from Patricia.

  18. Great set of picture - and there is no denying that the Warbler is yellow!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  19. Thank you for taking us along David. A great series of photos, always immensely enjoyed. Thank you for your comment on the old photos. I agree completely.

  20. Hello David!:) The Yellow Warbler is a beauty and it's a lovely capture. Wonderful sighting and photos of all the birds and especially the butterflies. An unknown species for me is the extremely beautiful Red-spotted purple, What a magnificent butterfly. That's a pitiful image of the sparrow feeding the cowbird, poor sparrow! Those fossils look interesting, and I enjoyed all the views of the park. Have a good week!:)

  21. Fantastic park, you did well to have a look!
    The Yellow warbler is really stunning.
    The butterflies are incredibly beautiful too.
    Great post David, keep well and... un montón de abrazos!!

  22. Hello David, great blog and you saw some interesting things. I read about the Brown-headed Cowbird. I did not know about this bird and interesting to read about their breading habbit. The butterflies are most wonderful. Also very interesting is to see that there are so manny fossils to be seen. A beautyful park indeed.

  23. Good post David. You certainly have a number of stunning butterflies, swallowtails especially that put our equivalent insects to shame. So good to see that Yellow Warbler again. The red streaks look almost unreal on the yellow background and I do wonder what quirk of evolution begat the look?

  24. Great post, That park is looking so beautiful and it have so much things to get fun. Birds and butterfly both are looking so attractive and amazing photos you captured of that beautiful park.
    Best Flight Deals

  25. Oh gosh what an amazing part of the world, really beautiful and you have captured so many wonderful birds and butterflies! Great fossils too. I'm sure you will visit this place many times.
    Have a lovely weekend and thank you for your visit.

  26. Oh, so nice to see these Mangrove Singer. The yellow color is amazing. Especially to see the sparrow big bruinkopkoevogel to eht conduct is !! ?? Butterflies are beautiful and lovely color and detail. The swallows remain great to see. I'm a little jealous of all these beautiful fossils. I love collecting fossils and fossil shark teeth :-)
    Thank you for sharing David!