Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Rondeau Provincial Park

7 November 2016

     Last year my scope was inadvertently knocked over and one of the legs on the tripod broke. It has been fixed three times since then and when it again fell apart recently I decided it was time to break down and buy a new one.
     There is a store just outside Point Pelee National Park in southwestern Ontario, called Pelee Wings, which specializes in sales of all items related to outdoor activities, and is a favourite spot for birders to purchase equipment. The staff there is nothing short of superb and expert sales assistants spend time explaining every facet of the equipment you are about to purchase. It truly is worth the time it takes to drive down there to get the technical guidance required when buying optics and related items.
     It was an incredibly warm November day (by mid afternoon the temperature was in the low twenties) and Miriam and I decided to combine a tripod-buying expedition with a visit to Rondeau Provincial Park.
     This part of the province has a long historical association with oil extraction and there are still plenty of oil rigs "nodding" away. One of the local towns is even called Petrolia.

     These images depicting an ancient technology are in stark contrast with the ubiquitous wind farms that now mar the landscape.

     I confess that I really dislike these blights upon the land, but I am torn between my personal abhorrence of them and my equally strong desire to have clean energy. They certainly are responsible for substantial bird deaths, and bats suffer equally when they fly into a pressure vortex on the back side of the blades and suffer a pulmonary embolism. We have screwed the planet so much in one fashion or another that even our solutions bring their own set of environmental issues.
     This flock of Wild Turkeys Meleagris gallopavo was totally unfazed by the windmills as they foraged in a field.

     Just inside the entrance area at Rondeau there is access to Lake Erie and a small boat launch. We had brought a picnic lunch from home and enjoyed it sitting by the water's edge.

     Rondeau Provinicial Park is a veritable magnet for neotropical migrants in the spring, but as might well be expected, activity in the fall is considerably more muted.
     Late butterflies were in evidence and we saw several Eastern Comma Polygonia comma.  

     Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, another species known to occur into November, was not to be outdone. The following individual had suffered a fair amount of wing damage, but seemed not to be hindered by its loss.

     I have been unable to identify the following species. If anyone can help out with this I would be happy to hear from you.

     Our target species at Rondeau was Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus, the woodpecker in Ontario most associated with the Carolinian forests found in the southwest, but we were unsuccessful in our quest. 
     We scoured the South Point Trail, a reliable spot on past visits, but came up empty.

     We hardly considered this White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis adequate compensation, since this species makes daily visits to our feeder at home. It is by any standards, however, a very handsome bird.

     Cedar Waxwing Bombycilkla cedrorum has obviously had a successful breeding season in the park and we saw numerous juveniles feeding on the plentiful berries.

     We relaxed for a while on the beach before heading back to our car.

     Before leaving for home we checked at the Visitor Centre, now closed until next spring, but having seed in the birds feeders nevertheless, for one last try for the Red-headed Woodpecker, for we have seen them there in the past. There was no woodpecker but the following Blue Jays Cyanocitta cristata were a welcome sight.

     An American Goldfinch Spoinus tristis was no less delightful.

     My eyes are heavy this morning, and so is my heart. I stayed up far too late watching the US election unfold and was dismayed beyond belief by the results. There are so many issues with Trump we could discuss, but most serious of all the environment on this continent is screwed. He has promised to reopen coal mines in Appalachia, strip the EPA of any powers to regulate emissions, tear up the Paris climate agreement, and he believes that global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese to gain trade superiority over the United States.
     It is a sad, sad chapter for the United States when they can, by a substantial margin, elect a demagogue who can barely compose a cogent sentence in English, but who has clearly fascist overtones to his rhetoric, and has shown himself willing to ignore societal norms, and roll back social progress hard won over many years of principled political struggles. The whole world should take note.


  1. Beautiful pictures David.
    The scenery is beautiful but also all the birds.
    Greetings Tinie

  2. Hi. Thank you for your lovely photos. Greetings.

  3. We also had a shock this morning when we turned on the news, it is a sad day for the whole world I think.

    Love the photos all except the the wind turbines which I hate. The Red Admirals were around here a week ago, but now we have had frost I suspect that was the last one we will see until summer. Your Goldfinch is so different to ours! Have a good week Diane

  4. I'm torn over how I feel about wind turbines too -- but not torn about how I feel about yesterday. Desperately sad today as you can imagine. Just have to hope. Nothing else we can do .

    1. Hi Sallie: I can well understand how sad you feel and cling to hope. I am sure that is how Germans who opposed Hitler felt after he was first elected.

  5. Hi David and Miriam, like you we were totally shocked to see the news this morning, it really is a sad day for the world but mostly for America that they could be seen to vote for such a man. Apart from that a super varied post. Like you I am not a lover of wind farms and for the power they supply I'm not sure they are worth building, in England the Government pay a surcharge to the energy suppliers to make the things viable, Crazy. Regards John

  6. I hope your new scope helps to make up for an otherwise less than perfect day. Challenging times ahead for the world!

  7. Photos are really good, and it's great when you get good staff to help with anything you wish to purchase.
    We don't have many wind farms at all, they do kill birds and there is a rare one that travels to Tasmania on our north west coast and if a wind farm was built there it would know doubt wipe out this rare parrot..
    Trump! He was a surprise win down in this part of the world too.

  8. Yes David, I'm torn between two, but, I turn to wind power. Beautiful images of birds.

  9. Hello, I too am torn about the wind power. I read there are some turbines that turn off when they sense large flocks of birds coming. But, in the end I believe the clean energy wins. Trump was not my choice, I feel for the environment and wildlife. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and the weekend ahead!

  10. Hello David,
    Very nice pictures.
    The birds are really great. They are so wonderful.

    Kind regards,

  11. Stunning photos, as always, and I love those shots of the butterflies! This area looks lovely too, the perfect place to do some bird-watching. Thank you for all of the kind comments you always leave too! - Tasha

  12. Always a pleasure to visit your blog and see your lovely bird photographs.

    All the best Jan

  13. Look on the bright side. Maybe Trump will get whacked by one of those may knock some sense into him.

  14. Beautiful scenery and a pleasure to see the butterflies and especially the pretty birds.

  15. Hi David,
    It always strikes me to see the same species like the Red admiral and the Comma butterflies as we have in France!!
    Lovely photos of birds, lucky you to get to see the Waxwings!!
    Warm hugs to you and Miriam and enjoy your WE :)

  16. Hi David,
    you made a virtue of necessity by right to visit the park. Now that you had a good and stable tripod and this is also indispensable if you want to photograph birds :-)
    You leave again beautiful pictures of both nature there, as the machines are also working there as the wind turbines.
    Kind regards, Helma

  17. Bonjour cher David,

    Je viens de prendre un grand plaisir à admirer vos sublimes photos. La nature nous offre un si merveilleux spectacle. Nous les humains, nous sommes si nombreux à la détruire...

    Merci pour ce moment magique.

    Gros bisous

  18. Great set of shots - and like you I can't see any good coming from your election.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. It is the American election, Stewart, not ours - thank God, but when they start burning coal again in states like West Virginia the pollution will affect us too. The harm that Trump can do is almost immeasurable.

  19. Hello David, the funny thing with those windmills is that they cost more than that they earn from it. But at least it is clean energy. And indeed birds and bats suffer from it :( The birds you encountered are beautyful.

  20. Great photos David! Blue Jays are beautiful.
    Here in Finland they want to ingrease the use of wind power and make more and bigger wind farms. I think it's better than coal, that we used here before. But we are also concerned about birds and other animals...
    Trump... I can't understand... :(

  21. Nice Nuthatch, even if it's common for you.
    As for the US election, well, my fellow brits voted for "Brexit" and I can say nothing...