Wednesday 29 May 2013

Lake Erie birding tomorrow

After finishing an early morning breeding bird survey near St. Catherine's tomorrow, I plan on spending the rest of the day birding along the north shore of Lake Erie from about Fort Erie until maybe Port Dover. Though if that Ash-throated Flycatcher at Long Point that Stu Mackenzie found today is reported again in the morning, I might travel the entire lakeshore all the way to the base of Long Point...

This stretch of lakefront is one of my favorite places to bird in Ontario, even though I have only spent a few days there. The rarity potential along the whole north shore of Erie is fantastic, and I believe that one or two good birds have been found over the years at Point Pelee, Long Point, and Rondeau.

Yet for some reason, very rarely is the lakeshore farther east of Long Point checked by birders! If I lived a little closer I would be birding there every chance I got. What was probably the rarest bird ever to be found in Ontario, North America's only record of the probably extinct Slender-billed Curlew was found at Crescent Beach along this stretch of coastline. Countless other rare shorebirds over the years have turned up.

Along a good chunk of this shoreline, rocky shoals and muddy shorelines provide ideal locations for a vagrant shorebird or gull to hang out. Several rarely checked marshes which have potential for rare herons are found along this stretch.

Last spring I was able to add two year-birds along this stretch; both the only individuals of their respective species that I saw all year. Alan Wormington found both of them a few hours apart and I was able to see them the same day.

Snowy Egret - Dunnville, ON (May 19, 2012)

Laughing Gull - Nanticoke, ON (May 19, 2012)

If all goes to plan maybe I'll run into one of those above species. Or maybe something rarer. Or the most likely scenario, I won't find anything at all!


Alan Wormington said...

Watch for Wandering Tattler!

Brandon Holden said...

Other birds you should watch out for:

Reddish Egret
Gull-billed Tern
Inca Dove
Plumbeous Kite
Eskimo Curlew

Anonymous said...

Got an Eskimo Curlew! Heard only, unfortunately, but I might write it up.

Brandon Holden said...

Totally called it...