Sunday, 18 August 2013

Cambridge shorebirding!

Yesterday around noon I drove to the Hespeler Mill Pond, in north Cambridge, to see what shorebirds were present. This year it is shaping out to be a fantastic autumn there as a ton of shorebird habitat exists with the potential for there to be more. Waterloo Region is a bit of a dead zone for shorebirds with very few good locations to check. As a result, I had only seen 14 species in the region, despite living in it for the first 20 years of my life.

Right away after arriving, I noticed a juvenile Baird's Sandpiper in the back, a relatively uncommon bird for the county. It was found a few days ago by Fred Urie. Due to the distance I had to resort to digiscoping with my iPhone, so excuse the poor photo.

Baird's Sandpiper - Hespeler Mill Pond

Dozens of Lesser Yellowlegs were present, along with a half-dozen Greaters and a single Solitary Sandpiper. Hanging out with the bunch was a juvenile Stilt Sandpiper, my first for the county.

Stilt Sandpiper (right) - Hespeler Mill Pond

Two Pectoral Sandpipers and a single Short-billed Dowitcher rounded out the shorebird highlights. A decent hour well spent, for sure!

Pectoral Sandpiper - Hespeler Mill Pond

Short-billed Dowitcher - Hespeler Mill Pond

Good numbers of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons were here as well, making this location look like a possible candidate to host a rarer species. I would be happy with a Tricolored Heron.

Great Egret - Hespeler Mill Pond

Here is a total list of the shorebirds that were present. There were many more (mostly yellowlegs) hidden in the aquatic vegetation behind the mudflats as well.

1   Semipalmated Plover
15 Killdeer (estimate)
2   Spotted Sandpiper
1   Solitary Sandpiper
6   Greater Yellowlegs
59 Lesser Yellowlegs
10 Semipalmated Sandpiper (estimate)
25 Least Sandpiper (estimate)
1   Baird's Sandpiper
2   Pectoral Sandpiper
1   Stilt Sandpiper
1   Short-billed Dowitcher

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