Seeing as it is now early July, a few species are already on the move southbound. For the next few months, I am going to spend as much time as I can searching some of my favorite haunts for these migrants. Today was my first chance to go out and check my two regular spots that are relative close to where I work in Windsor - the Blenheim sewage lagoons, and the Tilbury lagoons.
After checking Hillman Marsh (it is pretty dead this time of year), I headed east to Blenheim, making a quick stop near Wheatley where a few Dickcissels have been hanging out for a while. Ken Burrell found a male here on June 16 and since then 2-3 males have been seen regularly. The birds did not disappoint and I had excellent scope views of one singing, with 2 others also singing off in the distance.
The Blenheim lagoons had a nice selection of early southbound migrants. Among 40+ Killdeer and 34 Spotted Sandpipers, I also found 2 Short-billed Dowitchers, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, 1 Solitary Sandpiper, 17 Lesser Yellowlegs, and 8 Least Sandpipers. They were all hanging out in the irrigation cells as the water levels were still quite high in all 5 lagoons. The back lagoon (number 5) also held a few families of Wood Ducks, a female Ringneck Duck, a male Green-winged Teal, some Ruddy Ducks, and 4 American Wigeons.
Tilbury was my next stop and it did not disappoint. I noticed a few ducks and shorebirds on a small exposed mudflat, and after looking with my scope, a nice American Avocet stood out. This is only my second sighting of this species in Ontario and my first for a few years. A few photos of the beast (please excuse the image quality - I was digiscoping with my 18-55 kit lens):
|Size comparison with Mallards|
Also at Tilbury were 1 Black-crowned Night-heron (new for the year, surprisingly), 1 Great Egret, a few ducks of various species, 1 Lesser Yellowlegs, and about 10 Least Sandpipers.
So there you go. A nice start to the fall shorebird blitz! Last year I didn't get any rarities among the ~25 species of shorebirds I saw during the months of July, August, and September.