Although conditions wasn’t looking great for a spectacular fall, we made the first tram to the tip of PP, where almost all the passerines, mainly redwings and Grackles, appeared to be heading South over Lake Erie. The lake itself held more Red-breasted Mergansers than you could shake a stick at, with a few, distant, Black Scoters, along with scores of Forster’s Tern’s and Bonaparte’s Gull’s.
New warblers picked up in the tip area were Wilson’s, Tennessee and Canada before we made our way back to the centre, picking up Northern Waterthrush and Solitary Sandpiper on the way, before twitching the Yellow-throated Warbler that had been around for several days. Exploring the Tilden Woods area in the afternoon produced our first Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood Pewee, Eastern Phoebe and Mourning Warbler of the trip. A second Summer Tanager, again a 2cy male, gave us the run around before being nailed, but a Clay-colored Sparrow only gave fleeting, but tickable, glimpses.
We then left for Hillman Marsh. On arrival we found the cap park full, so got to wonder what was about. The question was soon answered when a birder we had met briefly the day before at North Hillman Marsh Beach jumped out of her car and ran over to inform us of a male Prothonotary Warbler by the barn and 3 American Avocets on the wader scrape. Choices? Which one first? It was no contest, the Prothonotary won hands down, and not just because it was less than 30 meter away. Making our way to the small jetty by the barn, we quickly found this bright yellow jewel feeding quietly at the base of a large willow.
The warbler in the bag, it was the Avocets next. Two minutes later we were watching these, albeit distantly. Ducks were predominantly Gadwall, but careful scanning uncovered Blue-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Bufflehead, Green-winged Teal, Pintail, Ruddy Duck, Shoveler and Mallard. A juvenile Bald Eagle was pointed out sitting in a distant tree.
A bit of an explore round the top end of this reserve saw us meet up with a local birder who informed us that a White-eyed Vireo had been showing well in the scrub just in front of where we were standing. This species was fast becoming a boggy bird with us dipping on it at several locations over the past two days. Despite giving it around 45 minutes the vireo never appeared, though Philadelphia, Warbling and Red-eyed Vireo’s all put in an appearance. The final species for the day came as MB was scanning the reed beds and was lucky enough to pick up a Least Bittern just before it dropped out of sight.