Thursday 14 July 2011

Another day, another avocet

I almost canned my plans to check out some of the lagoons nearby after napping much longer than planned. In the end, I made the one hour drive to Blenheim, arriving with about an hour of light left. Due to my rushed schedule I didn't check out any of the lagoons and headed straight for the sprinkler system. The first bird that caught my eye was a huge shorebird with an upturned bill - an American Avocet. This avocet was much more advanced in its prebasic molt than the one I found at Tilbury, leading me to think that its a different individual.  I watched it in the scope for about a minute before the shorebirds got spooked by something and took off. Last I saw of the avocet, it was heading south. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of this one because I left my camera in the car, and frankly, its a long walk back! Most of the shorebirds returned (minus the avocet), and they included:

30 Lesser Yellowlegs
20 Least Sandpipers
3 Solitary Sandpipers
1 Greater Yellowlegs
3 Pectoral Sandpipers
1 Semipalmated Sandpiper (first of fall for me)
X Killdeer, Spotted Sandpipers.

As I was scanning the birds I could hear two Dickcissels calling, one on either side of me. Sweet! It appears that the late spring/early summer droughts in the southern states may have pushed quite a few into southwestern Ontario.
Also, when I entered the avocet in the book at Blenheim, there was a mysterious sighting for an avocet on July 18 at noon. Is it a typo or is it a prediction?  Hmmm.....

I rushed over to Tilbury just before sunset to see what was around. And guess what I saw???

Not much, really. A few Black-crowned Night-Herons, a Short-billed Dowitcher, and a smattering of Least Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs among the usuals. I had a female Hooded Merganser with the ducks, which is a new Tilbury bird for me. As night fell, ~10 Chimney Swifts were hawking insects with the swallows. The duck flock is now growing, with now over 100 mallards and a few other things mixed in. Last fall quite a few teal used this place, so I'm going to predict a Cinnamon Teal this fall!


Blake A. Mann said...

Must have been a date typo! It was Bill McKitterick, a local birder from what I see. He used to be a bigtime birder out in Alberta, then moved to the area when he retired.
No sign of an Avocet this morning (July 16). Didn't hear the Dickcissels either..maybe they were still sleeping!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info regarding the "original" finder, Blake! I'll check out the lagoons again first thing tomorrow morning on my way to Windsor...