Saturday, 5 October 2019

Finally, a Curlew Sandpiper as Summer Comes to an End in Ontario

It was March of 2012 and I was early on in my Big Year as a rookie birder.  I didn’t know much about birds at that point, but I knew enough to know a report on the Florida Rare Bird Alert of a Curlew Sandpiper at Fort DeSoto was worth chasing.  I wasn’t able to get there until close to sunset and when I did arrive at the reported location the sun was setting right behind the stretch of beach where a few shorebirds were hanging out.  There was one bird that seemed to fit the description, but I couldn’t get a proper photograph and there were no other birders around to help me identify it, so I couldn’t count it.

Over the past few years there have been other reports of Curlew Sandpipers but never within close driving distance.  But, finally, on September 16, while I was toiling away at work, a report of the bird arrived in my email in box, and it was only a 90 minute drive away.  I quickly finished what I was doing and hopped in the car and headed to the Bellwood Lake in Wellington County.  When I arrived, after driving right past the street where I was instructed to park, I saw a couple of birders with scopes heading down an embankment below the bridge and quickly followed.  With my bad legs and sore back, I had to grab my walking stick to make it down there, but finally I was in viewing range of this long sought after bird.  My first look was through another birders scope, but I eventually saw it and added species 683 to my ABA Life List.   All the birds flushed briefly to the other side of the bridge but when they returned to the original location the Curlew was even closer.  Alas it was a gray and rainy day so not much good light for digiscoping.

A few other fun birds from the end of summer, including a few from Florida:


Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird at James Gardens:

Wood Duck at Ratray Marsh:

Long-billed Dowitcher at Tommy Thompson Park, Ontario Lifer:

Eastern Screech-Owl at Humber Bay East:


Baby Common Gallinule:

Fulvous Whistling Ducks. New for my florida Life List,(269):

Purple Swamhen: