Friday, 16 August 2013

Kayaking in the Pelee marsh

Last weekend after the Parasitic Jaeger excitement in the morning, a few of us decided to go for a paddle in the Pelee marsh to see what shorebirds we could find. Kory and Sarah Renaud let me borrow their canoe (thanks!!), so Chris Law, Pauline Catling, Laura Bond, and I paddled that while Steve Pike, Mike Baker, and Jeremy Bensette took their kayaks.

We paddled through the stand of American Lotus, an emergent aquatic plant with massive yellow and white flowers and leaves that I've never really looked at closely before. Eventually we arrived at some mudflats and immediately found some shorebirds. Both Semipalmated Plovers and Semipalmated Sandpipers were common. Here is a Semi Plover hanging out with a juvenile Short-billed Dowitcher - another common species in the marsh that day.

shorebirds - Point Pelee National Park (Aug 10, 2013)

Photography is made easy in the marsh since most of the shorebird species seem to tolerate watercraft. It was tougher to sneak up to the birds in the canoe with four people, but we eventually had stunning looks at some of the species. The dowitcher again...

Short-billed Dowitcher - Point Pelee National Park (Aug 10, 2013)

Half a dozen Wilson's Snipe were hidden in the grassy areas at the edge of the mud. This one was resting out in the open.

Wilson's Snipe - Point Pelee National Park (Aug 10, 2013)

One can't go to any southern Ontario shorebird hotspot in July or August and not see Spotted Sandpipers. This is one of the few shorebird species that regularly breed in southern Ontario.

Spotted Sandpiper - Point Pelee National Park (Aug 10, 2013)

Of course there were several turtles out basking as well. This is a large female Common Map Turtle that we had great views of! ;)

Common Map Turtle - Point Pelee National Park (Aug 10, 2013)

The world's smallest shorebird, the Least Sandpiper, was also present in moderate numbers. This very crisp juvenile allowed us to approach really close in our boats, allowing for some great photo opportunities.

Least Sandpiper - Point Pelee National Park (Aug 10, 2013)


  1. That'd be Mike Baker!!! Brother of...ME!

  2. I am surprised the birds didn't flush with that scary sight in the first photo!