Rondeau Provincial Park – Part 1: Birds May 10 & 14, 2024

The photo on the left below was taken on April 28 when the foliage on the trees was just emerging. In early May, after several days of rain and well-above-average temperatures, the canopy was already in full leaf.

Although Rondeau is closer to Lake Erie and experiences slightly cooler temperatures than London, the trees in the park already provided lots of hiding places for the birds. Warblers were particularly difficult to see high in the treetops hopping madly after insects.

There was a lot of activity at the Purple Martin sanctuary with the non-stop flying and chirping of the martins, Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows. We met a teacher who volunteered at the sanctuary, helping to maintain the nest boxes for Tree Swallows and and the newly constructed shelters for nesting Barn Swallows. This involved regularly evicting House Sparrows that tried to set up house in the Tree Swallow boxes. Since aerial insectivores (swifts, swallows and martins) are in rapid decline, their breeding success takes precedence over that of House Sparrows.

We spent time on different trails in several areas of the the park where we heard and saw a variety of birds.

Yellow Warblers sang “Sweet, sweet, I’m so sweet” along every trail. They were easily the most numerous of the birds singing.

We heard this Eastern Towhee, repeatedly singing its “Drink-your-tea!” song, before we found it high on a bare branch.

This Redstart was also singing from on high.

Birds, like these White-crowned Sparrows, that forage on the ground are sometimes easier to see!

Grey Catbirds often make their cat-meow sounds and mimic other birds from deep within the underbrush, but we also saw them forage on the ground like other birds such as female Red-winged Blackbirds and Mourning Doves.

Some birds were in the open, but far away.

If we’re lucky, the bird sometimes comes closer.

Indigo Bunting (f) We didn’t see the the luminous blue male…

American Robins were already nesting and feeding young.

With a little patience and good timing, the Tulip Tree Trail is a reliable place to spot the Prothonotary Warblers that are nesting there.

An even more reliable place to see a variety of birds is the bird feeders outside the Visitor Centre.

Baltimore Oriole feeders had fresh oranges and jelly for the birds. Jelly was preferred by far. There was an oriole’s nest high in a nearby cottonwood tree.

American Goldfinches were frequent feeder visitors.

Common Grackles dominated some feeders, but also foraged on the ground

A White-breasted Nuthatch carried seeds from the feeder to cache in the bark of a nearby tree.

Recommended Documentary

For those in Canada, the documentary, “I am the River Magpie”, is available from The Nature of Things, Season 63, on CBC Gem. It is the story of a river in Quebec that was granted legal personhood in a bid to protect it from damming and other degradation. It is a beautifully shot and well-told story.

Osprey Update

We are still awaiting signs of newly-hatched chicks! Glenn recently spliced together a 7-minute video of the Osprey pair changing positions on the nest.

More Anemones and Ranunculus from Wandering Bee…

Music from Crying to Smiling

So many popular songs involved crying:

  • Tracks of my tears
  • Tears on my pillow
  • (It must be) Raindrops (falling from my eyes)
  • Tears of a clown
  • Blue eyes crying in the rain – featured recently
  • As Tears Go By
  • I’ve Got Tears In My Ears from Lying On My Back In Bed While I Cry Over You (long forgotten song by Homer and Jethro)

My choice is Roy Orbison’s “Crying” sung with k.d. lang

I could not bring myself to listen to any of the versions of Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”.

Smiling often involves a cost. Charlie Chaplin wrote “Smile” but it is so melancholy. Nat King Cole sings it beautifully and the video is comprised of clips from Charlie Chaplin movies.

I remember when figure skater, Ekaterina Gordeeva, skated to a version of “Smile” in competition.

She was not skating only for herself, Ekaterina Gordeeva said. No. That would have been wrong. Too narrow. Too selfish.

She was skating for everyone who has ever had a personal tragedy in their lives. For everyone who has ever lost someone and has had to start all over again. For everyone who has had to bear the unbearable.

“You must stand up from your knees and go forward,” Katya Gordeeva said. “You must find the strength in your heart, maybe find a person you can live for. A child. A parent. You must go on no matter how impossible it seems.”

So Tuesday night at the Hartford Civic Center, before an emotional sold-out audience of 15,000, there was Katya Gordeeva, standing at center ice, tears streaming down her face. All around her, the applause washed down from the upper reaches of the Civic Center, but it couldn’t wash away those tears.

Nor did she want it to. She had just finished doing what she said she would do. She had just finished skating for her husband and skating partner, Sergei Grinkov, who collapsed and died of a massive heart attack last November during a training session in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Let’s get happy. Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin.

Let’s get insanely happy. Gangnam Style by Psy.

“Gangnam Style” is a South Korean neologism that refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangnam region of Seoul,[12][13] where people are trendy, hip, and exude a certain supposed class. The term was defined in Time‘s weekly vocabulary list as “a manner associated with lavish lifestyles in Seoul’s Gangnam district”.[14] Psy likened Gangnam to Beverly Hills, California, and said in an interview that he intended the title as a joke, claiming that he has “Gangnam Style” when everything about the song, dance, looks, and music video is far from high class:[15]


Even Britney Spears learned the dance on Ellen.