Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Shorebirding July 29th

Any one who knows me well knows that shorebirds are my favourite group of birds. They are also one of the earliest of migrants, with some adults already arriving in late June!

Aaron and I put the canoe in last week at West Cranberry pond and paddled out to the mudflats. Unfortunately, there are not nearly as many mudflats there was last year. No wonder, we did receive a lot of rain this year. West Cranberry Pond in Point Pelee National Park seems to be one of the few areas now that offer the habitat of mudflats for shorebirds. It is also accessible only by canoe.

As we paddled out, hundreds of terns took to the air when they saw our bright red canoe. Caspian, Common, Forsters and Black Terns circled overhead as we approached the mudflats. Thank goodness shorebirds are not as flighty.

Semipalmated Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers were the most numerous, followed by Least Sandpipers. As well we noted a couple of Lesser Yellowlegs and 4 Short-billed Dowitchers of what appeared to be the subspecies griseus.
Semipalmated Sandpiper. The most numerous shorebird that day. Photo by Marianne Balkwill.

Scanning, we also picked out a couple of Spotted Sandpipers and one Ruddy Turnstone. Surprisingly, all these birds were adults, not one juvenile. This will change very shortly as the juvenile birds begin their long migration from the arctic circle and migrate to places as far south as Chile and Argentina over the passing weeks.

Semipalmated Plover. The second most numerous shorebird that day. Photo by Marianne Balkwill
Also of note, the Swamp Rose Mallow was in full bloom.

1 comment:

  1. Great photos! I've never been out in a canoe in the Pelee marsh.