I’ve visited the Pelee Roost a dozen times with at least a dozen individuals from the OPMA and all have said that it is the most amazing site that they have ever witnessed. So many are taken back by the size and number of martins flying into the roost.
Binocular quality has come up in discussion while there, and some find that better the binocular; better the experience. I have found that the Nikon Monarch 5’s (8×42) do a very adequate job as compared to the less expensive ones. Sharing the pair and comparing binoculars really sends home the message about the quality of the view.
Why do you need binoculars?
The martins fly in from a very high height and the flock seems to vortex at this same level before descending to the roost in the cattails and phragmites at dusk. The timeline has shortened over the last two weeks due to the shortened days and will continue to do so as the martins start arriving at 8:00 pm and descending at 8:30-8:40 pm. Many barn swallows have joined the roost as they manouever to catch all the insects they can. Wind direction has been a key for viewing as the prevailing winds from the west have caused the martins to hug the tree line at the western edge before heading in and circling about, often over your head at eye level or just above. You just never know from which direction the main flock is approaching. The staging area for barn swallows and martins has been north of the roost on the west side of the park.
There is still time as of 8/24/2017 to see some prime viewing.The photo below shows the current roost size. You can see the flock leaving the Point to their favorite feeding area to the east.
I visited the roost last night (8/24/2017) and was entertained by numerous tree swallows who have joined the roost in great numbers increasing the surrounding area with darting birds everywhere as they flit about searching for their favorite food. The roost has expanded and the wind carried them into all areas surrounding the neighboring farm fields. The flock circle continued until they descended around 8:35 p.m.
The photo from this morning shows how large the roost has become. Erie, PA roost is increasing in size and other roosts are forming as the birds start to move south into Ohio.
The roost as of 9/3/2017 has sadly and slowly dissipated for another year. Evidence of this has occurred over the last two days from the radar readings.