Thursday, May 3 – Saturday, May 5: A three-day birding trip to Point Pelee National Park and Hillman Marsh Conservation Area. Point Pelee provides genuinely memorable birding, and rarities lurk in every bush. At Pelee, it does pay to check every bird over; you never know what you’re going to see next. In 2017, the Eastern Ontario Birding group tallied a total of 167 species of birds. My highlight, as a leader, was seeing a Kirtland’s Warbler with each group. I’m sure it will take years to regain my depleted birding karma over that one! Warblers, tanagers, flycatchers, vireos, grosbeaks, wrens, thrushes, sparrows, and shorebirds are just some of the bird groups you’ll learn so much (more) about during this tour 🙂 For more information about EOB’s trips to Point Pelee, please read Birding at Point Pelee National Park
Daily schedule: Each day, we will catch the first tram in the morning. This tram leaves the VC at 6:00 AM, but fills up beforehand. Our groups in 2017 were packed and ready to go from the VC parking lot between 5:30 and 5:45 AM (the latter at the latest). We birded the park from 6 AM to approximately noon, with a coffee and snack break of fifteen minutes typically scheduled around 9-9:30 AM. After lunch, I availed (and will continue to do so in 2018) the option to keep birding (and target rarities) or head back to hotels/cottage to rest before dinner. Birders have a choice of either/or, and I always recommended that if they were tired, take the chance to go back and rest after a busy morning! I enjoyed visiting Hillman Marsh after dinner (and after it was packed with birders for the OFO Shorebird viewing events, scheduled from 3:00 – 5:00 PM). What this means is all dinners will be scheduled for 5 PM in 2018, giving us plenty of time to bird Hillman Marsh and Wheatley Harbour afterwards.
Outing notes: Here are some ideas of what to pack and what to wear during this field outing. A field lunch, some snacks, plenty of water, electrolyte or Gatorade mix, sturdy footwear, insect repellent, insect jacket or head net, lens cloth, lip balm, sunscreen and favoured field guides.
Walking: Each day, we will bird by foot for most of the day. The pace is slow, but the long days on one’s feet can be challenging. We will have approximately 60-80 min cumulative rest each day (snacks, coffee break, lunch), so that certainly does help rest the body. Be sure to wear sturdy footwear, comfortable clothing, and pack a camping stool (fold-up) for moments where sitting is possible (such as waiting on a skulking bird in dense foliage). Thousands of other birders take to this same schedule each spring, so it’s not particularly ruthless or out of the norm, but the nature and excitement of the birding days do take its toll on one’s body!
Driving: We will drive from our hotels/cottages, to and from the Visitors Centre at Point Pelee, each day. Other birding sites in the area include Hillman Marsh and Wheatley Harbour, among others. All birding sites are within 20 min of each other, making for a very light driving load.
Accommodations: We will be staying at the Days Inn in Leamington. You must book your reservation for this tour: http://www.daysinn.ca/hotels/ontario/leamington/days-inn-hotel-leamington/hotel-overview
Meeting Location: To be determined
Cost: $ 220.00 per person, plus the cost of food and accommodations.
Method of payment: Cash, cheque, or post-dated cheque in advance.
Duration: Approximately 8-10 hours of birding-by-foot with approximately 60-80 min of break (snack/washroom breaks and lunch break) each day. Our typical schedule was birding from 6 AM-noon, then lunch break, then approximately 2-3 hours more of birding before dinner. Some days we birded right until dinner time, others we had a few hours of rest in our hotel rooms before we go to dinner; depends on the birding and the energy level of the group (including leader!) that day.
Registration for this event is now closed. Please contact EOB by email if you’d like to be placed on a waiting list.
Photo: Kirtland’s Warbler, Point Pelee National Park. May 2017.
Photo: The Eastern Ontario Birding group (Jon Ruddy of Eastern Ontario Birding at centre). May 2017.