Thursday, 31 May 2012

Shore Leave

Thanks to the advance warning from Whimbrel Watchers Wayne and Tim, I was on the lookout for White-rumped and Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Dunlin and Sanderling as I walked up to the now world famous Whimbrel Point in Colonel Sam Smith Park this afternoon, on my way to work.

I started the day up at Reesor's Pond in Markham hoping that the Wilson's Phalarope had decided to hang out for a few days before going off to wherever it is that Phalaropes go to in the summer.  It seemed like a perfectly good place to spend the summer, as there were lots of other birds to keep it company.  I found Swallows, lots of Mallards, a Great Blue Heron, Song Sparrows and my first Ontario Pied-billed Grebe.  It was bird number 203 for my Ontario list this year.  It's not an extensive list, as I am not chasing birds in Ontario that I have seen elsewhere in North America.

I ran into Wayne and Tim on their way out as I was walking in.  They were just ending their 10 day Whimbrel Vigil having seen 5 more before they headed out.  I asked about shore birds and they gave me a quick run down.  As I was walking to the point I ran into a Spotted Sandpiper bouncing around on the path and up at the point just the Second Year King Eider, at first.  As I rounded the tip, I caught sight of the White-rumped Sandpiper taking off from the rocks on the west side and got a good look at its distinct white rump as it rounded the hillside.  On my way back around the tip, I chatted with another birder who was also looking for shore birds, but he moved on to the marina and missed the incoming flock of assorted shore birds about 5 minutes later.  There were Dunlins and at least one Sanderling,(a new addition to my Ontario list), and at least two Semipalmated Sandpipers.

I hung out, took a few photos and then tried to find the other birder, but he was long gone.  By then it was past time that I should have been heading to work.  But I left with two new Big Year Birds, giving me a count of 371, just 29 away from 400 as I prepare for my Alaska adventure beginning Monday June 4.

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