Lake Ontario Shorebirds

Jean Iron jeaniron at
Wed Aug 7 09:41:46 EDT 2002

Hello Ontbirders,

Shorebird numbers are rather low along the north shore of Lake Ontario 
because of high water levels. On Sunday (Aug 4) I checked Darlington 
Provincial Park east of Oshawa. Walking west from the boat rental usually 
produces a half dozen species such as Sanderling, Least and Semipalmated 
Sandpipers and the occasional Baird's. On Sunday I had only a lone juvenile 
Spotted Sandpiper. Yesterday morning (Tuesday Aug 6) I birded Presqu'ile 
Provincial Park. There were two small groups of birds where algae had 
collected, one at old beach 4 and the other near Owen Point with nothing 
inbetween. Best find was White-rumped Sandpiper, which I hadn't heard 
reported yet this summer. Yesterday's Presqu'ile list is below.

Black-bellied Plover: 2 adults mostly in breeding plumage (juveniles not 
expected until early September)

Semipalmated Plover: 3 adults in worn breeding plumage (first juveniles 
expected next week)

Killdeer: 1, forgot to age it

Lesser Yellowlegs: 1 juvenile

Spotted Sandpiper: 1 juvenile

Semipalmated Sandpiper: 3 slightly molting adults and 2 juveniles

Least Sandpiper: 2 worn adults and 9 juveniles

White-rumped Sandpiper: 2 typical molting adults (first juveniles not 
expected until mid-September)

We can expect water levels to start dropping soon on Lake Ontario as more 
water is let out of the dam at Cornwall for hydro and navigation. I 
encourage observers to report the ages/plumages of shorebirds, particularly 
the arrival of the first juveniles. We can expect the first juvenile 
Short-billed Dowitchers soon - a few might be here already. If you're 
interested in telling apart adult and juvenile shorebirds, both the 
National Geographic Guide (3rd edtion 1999) and Sibley Guide are excellent.

Also, I have some copies left of my article "Southbound Shorebirds" from 
OFO News. It discusses shorebird ID, plumages, habitats, best places to see 
them and gives the arrival dates of adult and juvenile shorebirds in 
southern Ontario. If you'd like a copy, please send me your full postal 
address by replying to this e-mail.

Happy shorebirding,

Ron Pittaway
Minden and Toronto

Jean Iron
Ontario Field Ornithologists
9 Lichen Place
Toronto ON  M3A 1X3
e-mail: jeaniron at

Jean Iron <jeaniron at>

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