Sunday, 7 August 2011

A tour of Essex County

Today I decided to take full advantage of my day off and tour around, hopefully kicking up some cool birds and butterflies.
The first stop was Tilbury. This remains the best, easily excessible shorebird spot in the county and it wasn't bad today. There must have been a big influx of dowitchers as there were more than a dozen. 5 of them were Long-billed and a few juvenile Short-billed were around. I didn't get any photos as they were too far for my 300 lens. I did, however, grab a few shots of this closerish Lesser Yellowlegs.

juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs - Tilbury lagoons


Double-crested Cormorants - Tilbury lagoon

Next up was the Ridgetown Lagoons. I was actually disappointed as I thought that there would be more habitat than there was. The smaller cell did have mudflats, but the geese were hoarding them. There were, however, a handful of semi-sands, a single Least Sandpiper, a single Semi-Plover, and a couple Lesser Yellowlegs.

Blenheim was next on the agenda. I hadn't actually visited in a few weeks so I wasn't prepared for how terrible it would be. Every single one of the lagoons was filled to the brim with water, and even the sprinkler cells were completely dry! Highlights from here included Mallard and Starling. Well, there was still a single Semipalmated Sandpiper that I watched for a bit. I kind of felt sorry for it, "foraging" on bare dirt. I also scanned through about 500 Mourning Doves and didn't see anything interesting. On to Erieau!

Off the pier were various gulls and terns, including a 1st summer/2nd winter Lesser Black-backed. There were tons of people here hanging out on the pier, so I didn't linger. Off of Erie Beach I had a young Little Gull with the Bonaparte's, which I think is the first one of those for me this year.

Next I checked out Hillman Marsh, Wheatley Harbour, and the harbour by Sturgeon Woods. I didn't see anything unexpected, though I got a second Little Gull at the harbour by Sturgeon Woods.

The final stop was at a weedy field in Leamington to look for butterflies. 3 or 4 Common Checkered Skippers were nice!

Common Checkered-skipper - Leamington

As was this thing, which I think is a Fiery Skipper?

Fiery Skipper - Leamington

That's all for now. Overall it was a typical day for early August - hot weather, lots of driving, few birds, but a couple nice summering gulls/migrant shorebirds/southern butterflies.


  1. An interesting tour. I heard the sprinklers are being turned off at Blenheim. They think the ponds are getting too low! I've been avoiding Blenheim for the most part this summer. Tilbury is THE place!
    We'll have to meet up some day.

  2. Great posting Josh. Thanks to your ontbirds posting, I stopped by TSL tonight on my way home from Niagra and Long Point this weekend. During sunset the best cell is backlit unfortunately...