As a parting shot I wanted to make a few comments about how far birding has come as a hobby. Back in the eighties Pelee was a crazy place, with much bigger crowds and more than half of the birders here actively involved in going off designated trails (data from a survey in 1986). There were more than 30 km of informal trails and skittish birds were rarely seen for more than a few minutes before they disappeared. This contrast today is dramatic. Crowds are well behaved and aware of their impacts and it is exceptionally rare to see anyone off trail in the park.
Two birds that no doubt benefited this year from these trends are an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL (red morph) that was present on the same perch in Tilden's Woods Trail for almost the whole month. It could have been there for months but it was only discovered in early May. Virtually every visitor that came to the park in May got to see this wonderful little bird, and with only a minimum of disturbance. Photographers and birders both kept to the trails (with some overflow resulting from crowds) and the bird and the crowds were both winners.
|Eastern Screech-Owl red morph, Pelee May 2012|
Not to be outdone, another EASTERN SCREECH-OWL showed itself regularly at the southernmost bridge on the Woodland Nature Trail. This one was the more typical gray morph. By the way, both of these owl pics were digiscoped through my KOWA TSN833. I was really pleased with the results!
|Eastern Screech-Owl gray morph Pelee, May 2012|
Lastly, for the umpteenth year in a row, a pair of GREAT HORNED OWLS nested in the north end of the park near the entrance. The park did a nice job last year of putting up a display board and snow fencing to control access to the owl nest site. This year they only raised one chick successfully but the adults seemed to be seen with a lot more regularity around the nest here. Below is a digiscoped image of the female shot early one morning.