[Ontbirds]Townsend & Rock Point Shorebirds

Jean Iron jeaniron at sympatico.ca
Sun Aug 1 22:32:13 EDT 2004


We birded today with Kevin McLaughlin of Hamilton. The shorebirding was 
excellent at the Townsend Sewage Lagoons and at Rock Point Provincial Park. 
Kevin counted and/or estimated the numbers below. He also is extremely 
interested in molts, plumages, aging, and subspecies.

A. We had about 850 shorebirds at Townsend including:

1. 550 molting adult Lesser Yellowlegs, amazingly no juveniles for this 
date perhaps indicating a poor nesting season, we'll know for sure in a 
week or two.

2. Only 3 molting adult Greater Yellowlegs. This species is usually much 
less common than Lesser.

3. 23 adult (no molt) Short-billed Dowitchers, most were of the expected 
hendersoni subspecies, a few may have been intergrades (griseus x hendersoni).

4. 15 molting adult Stilt Sandpipers.

5. 200 adult Semipalmated Sandpipers (no juveniles, usually a few are 
present by this date).

6. 15 adult (no molt) Pectoral Sandpipers.

7. 8 adult (no molt) Solitary Sandpipers.

8. 1 adult (molting) Sanderling.

* The only juvenile shorebirds we saw were locally hatched Killdeers and 
Spotted Sandpipers.

B. Rock Point Provincial Park

1. 1 worn adult Dunlin in breeding plumage showing no signs of molt. First 
seen by Mary Rae of Waterdown. Also seen by Barry and Linda Cherriere of 
Hamilton. This species is very rare in summer in southern Ontario.

2. 7 adult Short-billed Dowitchers of the expected hendersoni subspecies. 
Juveniles should arrive within a week.

3. 7 adult (no molt) Ruddy Turnstones.

4. 10 molting and faded adult Sanderlings.

5. 6 adult (slight moltingSemipalmated Plovers.

6. 8 adult (slight molting) Least Sandpipers, plus one juvenile. Juvenile 
Leasts normally are frequent by this date.

*Again, the absence of juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs and juvenile Least 
Sandpipers may be the first indication of a late or poor nesting season for 
these and other shorebirds. The muskegs of the Hudson Bay Lowland and 
adjacent tundra of the low Arctic were exceptional cold in late May and 
June. Counting the numbers of juvenile shorebirds in August will give us 
information on the breeding success of shorebirds in 2004.

Townsend directions below courtesy of Norm Murr:
On the way down to Long Point on Hwy 6 you will pass through Hagersville and
drive towards Jarvis. Just as you approach the town of Jarvis you will see a
sign indicating "TOWNSEND" at Nanticoke Creek Parkway #69. Turn right here
and drive to the intersection with the stop signs, turn left on Keith
Richardson Parkway and drive past some park ponds on your right. Drive ahead
until you see a small children's shelter (with an air conditioner on it) on
your right at County Rd 14. This is just before you reach the abandoned
railway line (tracks removed). Turn right here onto County Rd 14. and drive
a few hundred yards and you will see a gate and sign indicating that this is
a waste treatment area.. Park well to the side of the road, do not block the
gate. If the gate is open (they are on some weekends) then do not park
directly across from the gate as the larger "Honey Trucks" need the area to
swing into and out of the entrance road. These lagoons are USUALLY only 
accessible on the weekend or after 6pm during
the week.

Rock Point Provincial Park is just east of Dunneville on the shore of Lake 
Erie. From park entrance follow more or less straight to the washrooms in 
the campground. Park there and walk right to the shoreline. You'll smell 
the rotting algae which attracts shorebirds.

Happy shorebirding,

Jean Iron & Ron Pittaway

Jean Iron
9 Lichen Place
Toronto ON  M3A 1X3

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