Point Pelee & Surrounding Area, Ontario, Canada
2nd May to 15th May 1995
Andrew Cockroft, Nick Dawtrey and Adrian Zabukas.
Full British passport needed, no visa required for Canada.
We flew from Manchester to Toronto with Club International supplied by Airtours return for £275 per person including airport tax and insurance.
We booked with Suncars at a cost of £216 for 2 weeks with unlimited mileage, but on return found that hidden extras brought the total cost to £360. A credit card is essential, as a deposit is not accepted. On the positive side petrol is cheap. It cost us 20 Dollars to fill the tank.
There are plenty of eating places - fastfood chains as well as restaurants. At Pelee there is a hotdog stand in the Marsh Boardwalk carpark. They also sell snacks at the back of the Visitor Centre during the morning.
We stayed at a bed and breakfast north of Leamington at a cost of 20 Dollars per night per person. There are also plenty of motels. On our first and last nights we stayed at the Mohawk Inn near Campbellville at a cost of 73 Dollars a room. Just outside Pelee there is a campsite (Sturgeonswood) where most birders stay. Camping is relatively cheap and would cut the overall cost of your holiday.
Bright, sunny and warm most days with thunder storms on two days.
We visited from 2nd to 15th May. There was no leaf coverage at all at Pelee until the last days, which made the opportunity for photography excellent. We much regretted not taking a telephoto lens with us.
Books to take
The National Geographic
Birds of North America
Petersons Guide to Eastern Birds (better for sparrows)
A Birdfinding Guide to Ontario
Where to Watch Birds in Canada
We also took New World Warblers and Rare Birds in Britain & Europe.
We bought a season ticket costing about 40 Dollars covering all occupants of our vehicle. Most mornings were spent on the Woodland Trails between the Centre and the Tip and also at Tildens Wood. There are several other areas in the Park, which provide excellent birding including the Marsh Boardwalk, good for herons, bitterns, harriers, Yellow Throat, Marsh Wren and Swamp Sparrow. The DeLaurier Trail is a must at dusk for American Woodcock and Common Nighthawk. We also heard Great Homed Owl here on a few occasions. The Sanctuary is also quite good in the evenings as migrants funnel through this narrow area of trees. Sleepy Hollow is a traditional Screech Owl site, while our only Red Breasted Nuthatch of the trip was found at White Pines.
These fields are found immediately north of the park boundaries. We usually checked them out early afternoon and were rewarded with Savannah Sparrow and Horned Lark. A ditch running alongside the fields provided several Hermit thrushes, Brown Thrashes and Northern Waterthrush.
An excellent wetland habitat. Specialities include Bald Eagle, (Great Horned Owl, Bluewinged Teal, American Wigeon, Sora and Virginia Rails. The latter two showed well at dusk. We also had Bobolink around the edge of the reserve, usually sitting on fence wires.
Comber Sewage Farm
Follow Route 77 north from Leamington. Just before the STOP sign for the main crossroads in Comber turn right and right again. Before reaching the sewage works you walk through a wood, which is apparently good for migrants (we only managed Cedar Waxwings). The shallow lagoons held various waders and were the only place we saw Rusty Blackbirds on our visit.
Harrow Sewage Farm
Superb for waders (better than Comber). We had 15 species including Shortbilled Dowitcher and our only Semipalmated Sandpiper. Also good for Swallows with several Cliff Swallows present. Leave Leamington on Highway 18, turn right at the far side of Harrow then left. The sewage works are on your left.
Tremblay Beach Conservation Area
Site of Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Travel north from Leamington on Highway 77, cross Highway 401 and continue to Stoney Point. Turn right and continue until you reach the car park. We had three Yellow-headed Blackbirds but they were quite difficult to see.
St Claire Wildfowl Refuge
Better than Tremblay for Yellow-headed Blackbirds with at least 15 male birds giving excellent views. This site also held Pied-billed Grebe, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Marsh wren and we had a superb sighting of an Osprey.
Quite a difficult place to find. Take Route 77 from Leamington, turn right along Highway 401 toward London. Past Tilbury turn left towards Prairie Siding, take road 35 over the Thames. After the bridge head straight forward for a few hundred yards then take a dirt track on your left. After about a mile turn right and drive for a couple of miles until you reach the reserve. Better to ask locals at Pelee Point for directions.
Only visited briefly. A raptor watch point in the autumn.
Rondeau Provincial Park
1.5 hrs drive east of Pelee, this is the best place to catch up with Eastern Bluebird, Prothonotary Warbler, Red-bellied, Hairy and Pileated Woodpeckers. Take Route 3 out of Leamington, turn right a few miles past Blenham, turn right on to Route 51 and the park should be signposted from here.
Mountsberg Conservation Area
We visited in the hope of seeing Hooded Merganser but we dipped out. Good for ducks with reasonable numbers of Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck and American Wigeon. We had our only sighting of Pileated Woodpecker here and there is a large colony of nesting Tree Swallows.
Exit the 401 Highway at Campbellville heading south. Turn right before the rail crossing, pass a village pond on your left, travel for some 3.5km and turn north. Continue along this road until you reach the entrance on your left.
Exit Route 401 at Campbellville. Drive north for a few hundred yards. The woodland behind the Motel contained Eastern Pheobe, Dark-eyed Junco, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper etc.
Good numbers of Ringbilled Gulls, Roughwinged Swallows and excellent for Cliff Swallow.
Flew from Manchester 13:45hrs after being delayed 3.5 hrs. Arrived at Toronto 15:53hrs local time. Picked up hire car and drove to the Mohawk Inn near Campbellville. A few hours spent birding around surrounding woodland.
Up at 07:30hrs. One hour birding around the Mohawk, then drove to Mountsberg Conservation Area, just west of Campbellville. Three hours spent birding around the lake shore and surrounding woodland. Afternoon drove down to Leamington, arrived about 17:00hrs. Evening spent at Hillman Marsh.
Up at 06:30hrs. Morning - Pelee Centre to Tip, Woodland Trail, afternoon, Boardwalk, Onion-Fields. Evening - Tildens Wood, DeLaurier Trail.
Up at 07:00hrs. Morning - Pelee Woodland Trail, Tildens Wood. Afternoon - Onion-Fields, Hillman Marsh, Comber Lagoons, Stoney Point briefly. Evening - Sleepy Hollow.
Up at 07:20hrs. Morning - Pelee Tildens Wood Centre to Tip, Onion-Fields. Afternoon - Tremble Beach, St Claire Wildfowl Refuge. Evening - Marsh Boardwalk, DeLaurier Trail.
Up at 07:20hrs. Pelee all day - morning Tip, Centre, Tildens Wood; afternoon - DeLaurier Trail, Sanctuary; evening - Tildens Wood, Marsh Boardwalk.
Up at 06:50hrs Morning Pelee Tildens Wood, Centre to Tip. Afternoon Comber Lagoons, Harrow Lagoons. Evening Hillman Marsh.
Up at 07:00hrs. Morning Pelee Tildens Wood (rained off). Afternoon Tip to Centre, Tildens Wood, White Pines. Evening Sanctuary, DeLaurier Trail.
Up at 07:10hrs Morning Pelee - 4hr walk - Centre to Tip. Afternoon - rained off Evening - Sanctuary, Sleepy Hollow, DeLaurier Trail
Afternoon - Harrow Lagoons, Holiday Beach briefly, Tildens Wood Evening - Tildens Wood, DeLaurier Trail.
Up at 06:45 hrs Morning - Pelee Tip to Centre, Tildens Wood Afternoon - Black willows/White pines, Marsh Boardwalk Evening - Tildens Wood, DeLaurier Trail.
Up at 06:35hrs Rondeau most of day Evening - Centre, Dunes.
Up at 07:20 hrs Morning - Pelee Tip to Centre, Tildens Wood briefly. Afternoon drove to Mohawk Inn near Campbellville.
Late up, drove to Niagra Falls in morning. Left at 13:30hrs. Drove to airport. Flew 18:50hrs. Stopped off at Gatwick. Arrived Manchester 10:30hrs.
Great Northern Diver|
Double Crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great White Egret
Tundra Swan *
Green-winged Teal *
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Horned Owl
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Wood Peewee
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Golden Crowned Kinglet
Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Blue Grey Gnatcatcher
Brewsters Warbler **
Lawrences Warbler **
Black and White Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Bay Breasted Warbler
Worm Eating Warbler
Le Conte's Sparrow
*   American race
3 seen together on Lake Erie on the way to Rondeau 13th May|
1 at Mountsberg and 3 seen together at St Claire Wildfowl Refuge
Common at Pelee and Niagra, also Mountsberg Conservation Area
1 seen well from Marsh Boardwalk on 6th May dusk. 1 heard at St Claire Wildfowl Refuge
1 seen in flight at Marsh Boardwalk on 6th & 7th May dusk
Only 3 seen together in dead trees at Pelee on 7th May
7 birds usually seen around Hillman Marsh or ditches at side of roads
Only 2 birds seen flying over DeLaurier Trail at dusk 4th May
1 injured bird at Tremble Beach 6th May
1 Hillman Marsh 3rd May
2 at Mohawk Inn, 2 at Mountsberg
Only 5 birds seen at Hillman Marsh
Quite common at Hillman Marsh and Mountsberg. 3 also seen at St Claire Wildfowl Refuge
Only 4 birds seen, all at Hillman Marsh
10 at Hillman Marsh on 3rd and 5th May
Seen at Mountsberg Conservation Area. 1 at St Claire Wildfowl Refuge and 8 at the Tip Pelee
11 birds seen: 3 at Mohawk Motel, the rest on woodland trails at Pelee
3 at Mountsberg and 3 at St Claire Wildfowl Refuge
1 at the Tip on 10th May
Quite common at Mountsberg Conservation Area c15 birds on 3rd May, regular at the Tip at Pelee and probably also seen at St Claire Wildfowl Refuge
Only 1 bird seen behind Mohawk Motel on 14th May
Common at Mountsberg Conservation Area, 25 on 3rd May, 5 others seen at Pelee Tip
1 off the dunes Pelee on 13th May
Vey common off Pelee Tip c500 per day
Common, seen every day, max 13
Only 3 birds seen, all at Pelee
18 birds seen, most en route between sites
Adult and immature birds seen at Hillman Marsh, adult seen from Marsh Boardwalk, Pelee, adult at nest site
Seen on about 10 occasions. Sites include Mountsberg, Pelee, Hillman Marsh & Holiday Beach
1 bird seen at St Claire Wildfowl Refuge 6th May
Only 7 birds seen, mostly en route between sites, with 2 at Pelee
1 at DeLaurier Trail 12th May
3 birds seen, 2 at Hillman Marsh
2 at Hillman Marsh 3rd May, 1 off Marsh Boardwalk 6th May
Heard at Hillman Marsh on many occasions, 1 seen only on 8th May
Quite common Hillman Marsh, St Claire and Mountsberg
1 at Hillman Marsh, plenty at Harrow Lagoons and a few at Comber
No problem - everywhere
14 at Tremble Beach, 30 at Harrow and 4 at Tip
1 at Comber 5th May and 5 Harrow 8th May
1 at Hillman Marsh 3rd May, c30 at Comber, 100 plus at Harrow
9 Comber 5th May, 1 Tremble Beach Lagoon 6th May and 10 at Harrow 8th May
A total of 21 birds seen. Sites include Hillman Marsh, Comber, Harrow and the Dunes
1 at Harrow 8th May and 3 at Harrow on 11th May
3 at Harrow on 8th May and 38 on 11th May
3 at Hillman Marsh on 3rd May and 1 at Tremble Beach 6th May
A fantastic bird, c6 at DeLaurier Trail on 9th May, 4 on 10th May and 3 on 12th May. A warden was spotting them with a high powered torch, so close views were available on 9th and 10th May
15 at Harrow 8th May, 8 at Tip 9th May. Also seen at Harrow on 11th May
150 plus seen mainly at Harrow Lagoons, Hillman Marsh Comber and the Tip
1 at the Tip 9th May
Only 1 found at Harrow 9th May
12 at Comber on 5th May, with a few on 8th May. 100 plus at Harrow on 8th and 11th May
1 at Comber on 5th May, 10 at Harrow on 8th May and several at Harrow on 11th May
1 at Harrow 8th May
Regular at the Tip. Also seen at Mountsberg Conservation Area
Common - take a camera to Niagra car park
6 seen at the Tip. 1 seen at Niagra Falls
Several at the Tip on 9th May
Quite Common, regular at the Tip, Hillman Marsh and Lakeshore
1 at the Tip on 9th May
12 birds seen, sites include Hillman Marsh, the Tip, Marsh Boardwalk and St Claire's
1 bird seen at Niagra Falls 15th May
Common, seen almost everyday
1 watched calling at Hillman Marsh on 3rd May, 2 heard calling at DeLaurier Trail on 4th May and 1 heard DeLaurier 12th May
1 at Sleepy Hollow at dusk 5th May
1 roosting Woodland Trail 12th May
5 birds seen, 3 at DeLaurier trail, 1 roosting at the Sanctuary and 1 over the Dunes
Seen most days at several sites, maximum of 7
6 birds seen, all at Pelee Point between 12th and 14th May, Woodland trail and Dunes
4 birds seen, 1 at Stoney Point, 1 at Comber, 1 near Holiday Beach and 1 en route
Common, seen almost daily with a maximum of 8 on 3rd May
14 birds seen in second week at Pelee and Rondeau
Very common, seen almost daily with a maximum of 25 on 7th May
Only 1 bird seen, a female at Rondeau 13th May
1 bird at Mountsberg Conservation Area on 3rd May
A total of 28 birds seen, mostly at Pelee. The first on 4th May. Maximum daily count was 20 at Pelee which included 19 birds in one bush at the Sparrowfields
At least 10 birds seen, mostly at Pelee. The first bird seen on 8th May
8 birds seen, mostly at Pelee between 9th and 14th May
4 seen behind Mohawk Inn 2nd May with one 3rd May and another 14th May. Only one seen at Pelee at Tildens Wood
Of 51 plus birds seen, most were though to be Least. It is quite possible that we also saw 1 Yellow-bellied at the Tip, with other individuals resembling Alder, Willow and Arcadian. Empidonax Flycatchers are very difficult. Do your homework
Several seen on Onion Fields. Also a few near Hillman Marsh and Stoney Point
Common, seen almost daily
Quite common - Hillman Marsh, Marsh Boardwalk and flying past the Tip
Quite scarce to start with, only singles seen at Hillman Marsh and near the Tip. Two or three then seen on a few dates with 50+ at Harrow Lagoons 11th May
Overlooked during the first week. Two seen at the Tip 8th May. Common at Harrow Lagoons 11th May. 20+ at Niagra 15th May
1 flying past the Tip 8th May, 1 at Comber 8th May, 1 past Tip 9th May, 6 at Harrow Lagoons 11th May and 20 at Niagra Falls 15th May. Easier than expected, careful searching through Hirundines flying past the Tip may prove fruitful
Common - seen everyday
Common - Maximum of 20 on 7th May
14 birds recorded on 5 days. Only 1 seen at Pelee. Mohawk Motel was the best area for this species
11 birds seen on 6 dates. Mohawk Motel and Tildens Wood were good areas
5 birds seen at Mohawk Motel. Only 1 at Pelee in Tildens Wood 9th May
Only 1 bird seen, a female at White Pines 9th May
Quite common at Pelee. Up to 4 seen daily
4 birds seen at Pelee between Centre and Tip
Many heard - Only 3 seen. 2 at St Claire Wildlife Refuge and 1 at the Marsh Boardwalk
2 birds seen between Centre and Tip 4th May. 1 at Tildens Wood 6th May
Only 1 bird seen at Tildens Wood 4th May
Very common at Pelee. Up to 50 seen daily
30 birds seen mostly at Pelee, Tildens Wood and around the Centre seemed the best areas. 1 also seen at Mountsberg Conservation Area 3rd May
1 female at the Sparrowfields 12th May, 2 males and 2 females at Rondeau Southpoint Trail, 13th May
7 birds seen, all at Pelee, Tildens Wood and Woodland Trail best areas
Birds didn't appear until the second week when they were quite common with up to 18 seen daily
Only recorded at Pelee and in the ditches around the Onion Fields. An early migrant, 25 were seen on 4th May, the last was seen on 7th May
The first was at Pelee on 7th May. 1 to 5 seen daily, the best area was Tildens Wood
Scarce at first with only 2 birds seen in 5 days. Then fairly common with a maximum of 12 seen on 13th May. Most birds seen at Rondeau
6 birds seen. 2 in roadside ditch at Onion Fields on 4th and 5th May. The rest at Pelee
6 birds at Comber 5th May, 7 at the Tip 12th May and 15 also at the Tip 14th May
5 birds all seen at Pelee except for 1 at Holiday Beach 11th May
Single birds all seen at Pelee on 7 dates. Best areas Tildens Wood and Woodland Trail
Quite common - a total of 36 birds seen
Not seen until 9th May, then up to 4 seen daily over the next three days. Approximately 30 at the Dunes 13th May
Only 1 bird positively identified at the Tip 14th May. A possible bird at Tildens Wood 11th May. Should be quite common
Quite scarce during the first week. Numbers increased during the second week with a maximum of 15 on 13th May
2 at Rondeau 13th May, both males
First recorded at Tildens Woos 5th May, then seen almost daily with a maximum of 3 9th May. A total of 13 birds altogether
3 on 10th May, 1 on 11th and 1 on 12th. Tildens Wood and Woodland Trail
1 male 10th May, Woodland Trail
1 female Tildens Wood 12th May (rare)
1 at Holiday Beach 11th May and 2 at Pelee 12th May
The first was at the Tip 10th May, with another at Pelee on 12th May. Singles were at Rondeau 13th May, with one near the Centre at Pelee the same day
Only 1 seen until 7th May when 30 birds were present. Then recorded daily with an average of 20
A total of 12 birds seen, the first on 6th May, the rest between 10th and 14th May, all at Pelee
Common at Pelee, seen almost daily with a maximum count of 30 on 11th May
Scarce during the first week. More numerous during the second week with a maximum of 21 on 10th May
1 at Tildens Wood 7th May, 4 birds seen 10th May including 3 together at the Tip. Then singles on 11th , 12th and 13th all at Pelee
35 birds seen, all recorded between 9th and 13th May, mostly at Pelee
Only 3 birds seen up until 8th May, then 141 birds recorded in next 6 days
A total of 27 birds recorded, mostly in the second week with a maximum of 10 on 12th May
First recorded 7th May then 72 birds seen between 9th and 14th May, mostly at Pelee
Common - over 300 birds recorded with a maximum of 80 on 7th May
First seen 5th May, with 1 to 10 seen daily from 7th to 14th May
11 birds seen between 7th to 14th May with a maximum of 4 on 10th May
Only 2 birds seen at Pelee on 12th May, a female at the Tip and a male at Tildens Wood
Quite common with 1 to 10 birds seen daily
Common, with over 190 birds recorded during our visit
1 male seen at the Tip on 10th May
2 birds, a male at Tildens Wood 5th May and another on the Woodland Trail 10th May
A male on the Woodland Trail 10th May morning and another that evening at the Sanctuary
Only 2 birds seen, a pair at the Tip on 14th May
A male on 7th May on the Woodland Trail, 2 males and a female at Tildens Wood 11th May
1 on the Woodland Trail 10th May
A total of 17 birds seen with a maximum daily count of 5
1 in Tildens Wood on 4th May
Only 5 birds seen, 2 in Tildens Wood and 3 in ditches near Onion Fields
Quite common, found at all damp area sites around Pelee
We did rather well with 6 different birds! All but 1 at Pelee, the other at Rondeau. All sitings between 10th and 13th May
Not recorded until 9th May, then between 6 and 10 birds seen daily, mainly at Pelee
2 on 7th May, with 1 on 8th and 9th May, then very common
16 birds seen between 9th and 13th May
11 birds seen, mostly at Pelee, a few at Rondeau
1 found in Sparrow Fields on 6th May
Recorded on 6 dates, mainly at Onion Fields, also Harrow Lagoons
Quite common, especially around Hillman Marsh and Mountsberg Conservation Area
Recorded on 3 dates, only 6 birds all near the Sparrow Fields
Recorded almost daily with a maximum of 15 on 12th and 13th May
1 at the Tip 10th May and 1 at the Dunes 13th May
1 at Mohawk Inn 3rd May, 1 at Woodland Trail and 1 at the Sanctuary 10th May
Very common until 10th May, then 1 bird seen 13th May
Not recorded until 7th May, then up to 20 daily
3 on 10th May, with singles on 11th, 12th and 13th May, all at Woodland Trail
12 birds seen between 4th and 9th May, mostly on Marsh Boardwalk
4 at Hillman Marsh on 5th May, 2 in a field on return from Rondeau 13th May
Only 7 birds seen. 2 in a field before the gate at Pelee between Days Inn and MacDonalds sign
3 at Tremble Beach and 15 at St Claire Wildfowl Refuge on 6th May. Much easier at the latter
40 at Comber Lagoons on 5th May, dwindling down to 1 bird on 8th May
Fairly common at Pelee, totalling 17
Common, almost 100 in total
3 on 10th May, 7 on 12th, 3 on 13th and 6 on 14th May. All at Woodland Trail
Fairly common with 3 or 4 most days
White Tailed Deer (Pelee), Eastern Grey Squirrel (mostly dark phase), Muskrat (Pelee), Racoon (Pelee, Rondeau), Eastern Cottontail (Pelee), Eastern Chipmunk (Mohawk, Rondeau), Red Bat (Rondeau) and Coyote (1 near Leamington).
Garter Snake (Pelee, Mohawk), Eastern Ribbon Snake (Rondeau), Five Lined Skink (Pelee), Painted Turtle and Blandings Turtle.