13 May 2009

Cruising into Canada…(Point Pelee NP, Ontario, Canada): 7 May 2009

A last minute invite via the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (Ohio), and before I knew it, I was sitting on a ferry bleary-eyed and riding into Canada for my very first time. On top of that I was heading out to Point Pelee, the migration Mecca on the north shore of Lake Erie. There I was volunteering for Black Swamp on their guided walk on the famous point. We checked a couple of trails around the visitor centre which provided slim returns for our efforts, in between bouts of drizzle. Best of the bunch was probably the princely Prothonotary Warbler that sang his lungs out along the woodland trail, regularly returning to a specially placed nest box for him over the small swamp. Although a gaudy male Golden-winged Warbler along the same wooded trail was not bad either. Both overshadowed my only lifebird of the day, a Black-capped Chickadee, that having spent my only US birding time down in the south in Texas and Arizona was a nice easy, “shoe-in” lifer up here. Apart from bundles of Yellow Warblers, (that even competed for food on a lawn with the local chippers and White-crowned Sparrows, a few Blue-headed Vireos, and a scorching male Blackburnian, there really was not a lot happening. The Ontario Big Bird Event venue, Point Pelee, had been out hyped by the hype itself. I was underwhelmed, although to be fair we just did not get the weather for the birds.

The main show of the day was me being hauled out of the immigration line on the way back into the US for minor visa “violations”. (In reality all I had done was legally try and come back into the US at a birder point where US border patrol were not adequately equipped to process/fingerprint me). I was a little shaken up, but not stirred, as they eventually ticked me off, and then allowed me to slowly walk back onto US soil and carry on as before!

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