[Ontbirds]Long-billed Dowitcher at Townsend

Jean Iron jeaniron at sympatico.ca
Sun Aug 22 20:04:47 EDT 2004

This morning (Sunday) Kevin McLaughlin, Andrew Jano and I saw a Long-billed 
Dowitcher at the Townsend Sewage Lagoons. It was an adult in mostly worn 
breeding plumage. It had a gray face and upper throat (new basic 
feathering) which is typical of many Longbills beginning their definitive 
prebasic (postbreeding) molt. We were able to identify this bird by plumage 
characters, but I was pleased to hear its diagnostic call several times. If 
you see an adult dowitcher or molting one at this time of year, it is 
likely a Longbill. Adult Shortbills (hendersoni subspecies) are rare after 
mid-August in Ontario and they don't molt in Ontario and probably not until 
they reach the wintering grounds, unlike Longbills.

Other shorebirds at Townsend:

Semipalmated Plover, 10 adults and 1 juvenile. This afternoon we had 2 
adults and 2 juveniles at Rock Point Provincial Park.

Short-billed Dowitchers, 4 juveniles which is a typical count for this time 
of year.

Stilt Sandpiper, 1 juvenile

Baird's Sandpiper, 6 juveniles. We also had another 5 juvenile Baird's at 
Rock Point this afternoon. Yesterday, 24 juvenile Baird's were reported at 
Presqu'ile. Today at least 22 juvenile Baird's were seen near Ottawa. These 
are high numbers of juveniles suggesting an excellent breeding year.

Pectoral Sandpiper, about 20 adults and 1 juvenile (our first of the year). 
A normal ratio for this date. The first juveniles are just arriving.

Least Sandpiper, 1 adult and about 30 juveniles. A normal ratio for this date.

Semiplamated Sandpiper, 1 adult and 10 juveniles. At Rock Point we had 2 
adults and 3 juveniles. These numbers are many fewer than previous weeks 
with most adults having departed and a poor showing of juveniles. Usually 
at this time of year, juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers are the commonest 
shorebird, greatly outnumbering all other shorebirds.

*Other birding listserves in various provinces and states are reporting 
numbers and ratios of adult and juvenile shorebirds. In a month or two 
we'll have a better knowledge of the nesting success of northern shorebirds 
this year. If you're reporting the ages of shorebirds, please don't guess. 
Better to say that you're uncertain. The 4th edition (black cover) of the 
National Geographic Guide (2002) and the Sibley Guide (2000) are both 
excellent for aging shorebirds. A scope is recommended too.

**Cattle Egret: Kevin and I saw the Cattle Egret with cattle about6 4:00 pm 
near Rock Point at the corner of King Road and Regional Road 3 east of 

Happy shorebirding,

Ron Pittaway
Minden and Toronto
E-mail: jeaniron at sympatico.ca

P.S. Jean is in England and Wales visiting relatives. She's also studying 
and photographing European gulls and shorebirds. So far she's seen 
Mediterranean Gulls, Yellow-legged Gulls, Common Gulls, and lots of 
European Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls of all ages. Great 
preparation for the OFO gull trip to Niagara this fall.

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