We are nearing the end of our Festival of Flight which celebrates the spring migration of songbirds through the area. Although the weather was cool and wet most days, we still had some very special visitors. A Yellow-throated warbler (photo: Ric McArthur), a species that breeds further south, arrived in the park early in May and fed from the feeders at the Visitor Centre and a nearby cottage for most of the month. Other ‘news worthy’ vagrants include a Townsend’s solitare and a Western tanager (photo: Kyle Halloway), both of which are birds of western North America that are rarely seen east of the Rocky Mountains. The individuals sighted this year are both first records for Rondeau Provincial Park and didn’t stay around too long, but allowed for some great photos!
Rondeau Provincial Park is considered a “crown-jewel” in the Ontario Parks system, both for the uniqueness of the peninsula’s formation and for the lush Carolinian forest that covers it.
Rondeau is one of three sandspits in Lake Erie formed thousands of years ago by wave action and sediment deposition. Like the Long Point and Point Pelee sandspits, the Rondeau sandspit offers the perfect opportunity for migrating birds to feed and rest. Because the sandspits extend far into the lake they are often the first land that migrating birds see after crossing the lake during northward migration in the spring. The forested sloughs found in Rondeau are rich with aquatic insect larvae which begin emerging just in time for the migration, providing a nutrient rich meal to songbirds, some of which have travelled over 4000 km by the time they reach the park.