Saturday, August 20, 2011


My brother Mike came down for the weekend, so we decided to do a full day of birding around south-western Ontario, looking primarily for shorebirds.

Our first stop was the Mitchell sewage lagoons. The lagoons are really coming along, and the results are starting to show. Getting up to the dike, I noticed an odd bird, but before I could get the scope on it, it flew, but eventually landed in the soccer field just north of cell.

Upland Sandpiper - Mitchell sewage lagoons - August 20, 2011
This Upland Sandpiper was a nice find, a surprisingly hard bird to find during migration, and the first one I've ever seen at Mitchell or Perth County for that matter. We had the following shorebirds here as well:

2 Semipalmated Plovers
120 Killdeer
2 Solitary's
5 Greater Yellowlegs
150 Lesser Yellowlegs
5 Least
3 Semipalmated
5 Pectoral

Finishing up at Mitchell, Mike and I headed over to Exeter, looking for some Red-necked Phalaropes. We found 3 juveniles in the 2nd cell (the sprinkler cell). We also had an adult Bald Eagle fly over and some more shorebirds.

32 Lesser Yellowlegs
10 Spotted's
20 Killdeer's
Red-necked Phalaropes (3) - Exeter August 20, 2011
Leaving Exeter, headed over to Grand Bend. There isn't suitable shorebird habitat here, but some ducks were around.

10 N. Shoveler's
3 Hooded Mergansers
a bunch of Blue-winged Teal's and Wood Duck's and a flock of about 30 Bobolink's

Strathroy was next. Its a pretty easy lagoon to check out, with little walking from where you park. We had some fairly good shorebird diversity here, especially considering how much habitat is there. Shorebird's here included;

12 Semiplamated Plover's
15 Killdeer
2 Spotted's
1 Solitary
20 Lesser Yellowlegs
3 Semipalmated Sands
50 Least's
1 Baird's and
1 White-rumped Sandpiper
White-rumped (background) and Least (foreground) Sandpiper - Strathroy August 20, 2011

Following Strathroy, we headed over to Tilbury and ran into Josh Vandermeulen and a buddy of his. Tilbury was pretty good. The most bizarre sighting here was a Horned Grebe! The first Horned Grebe I've ever had in southern Ontario in August.
Shorebirds were pretty bountiful here, and we had the following;

10 Semipalmated Plover

30 Killdeer

2 Spotted Sandpiper

5 Solitary Sandpiper (Eastern)

3 Greater Yellowlegs

40 Lesser Yellowlegs

50 Semipalmated Sandpiper

25 Least Sandpiper

2 Baird's Sandpiper

20 Pectoral Sandpiper

4 Stilt Sandpiper

4 Short-billed Dowitcher

4 Long-billed Dowitcher

1 Short-billed/Long-billed Dowitcher

1 Red-necked Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope - Tilbury August 20, 2011

From Tilbury, Mike and I headed to Wheatley....not too much of a surprise, nothing of note here.....then onto the pier at Erieau. Once again Lesser Black-backed Gull's showed up...with a first-year bird sitting on the pier here. 

From Erieau, we headed to the Blenheim lagoons, which was more or less pointless. On to the Ridgetown lagoons. We didn't have too many shorebirds here, but it seems like it has some good potential. We headed then to Port Stanley, where there wasn't much at both the habour and lagoons. 

Nearing the end of our tour, we checked out Port Burwell. This was a good idea, as thousands of gulls and hundreds of terns were resting on the beach. We found at least 15 Little Gulls and 1 third-year Lesser Black-backed Gull loafing. The Little Gull's put on a great show, with up 9 different birds at a single time directly overhead, flying around calling. There could easily have been more, with several hundred Bonies still resting on the lake a few hundred metres offshore. 

All in all a pretty nice day for August! We ended with 17 species of shorebirds and over 90 species for the day.

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