Unless you have mud, or some semblance of mud, shorebirds don’t stop. At the pits today the continuing high water meant that what shorebirds there had to make do with the rapidly degenerating access road edge, where the ever present breeze had beached morsels. To my surprise the ‘haul’ was not just the recently frequent Least Sandpipers but also two Dunlin and a Semipalmated Sandpiper. Pleased with this I headed off elsewhere, the pits area was being used for some charity walk and so was like a highway, and I pottered at Pointe de Cascades for a while, seeing only a Blackburnian Warbler that I could class as a migrant.
My plans for an afternoon of football, watching Barcelona Vs Manchester United in the Champions, second team, third team and those who get through the qualifying round after finishing fourth in their domestic league cup, were interrupted by a concise email posted on Ontbirds, a Purple Sandpiper was at Alfred Sewage Pools. Forty minutes later we were walking down the refurbished track to the viewing tower. Tank #1 was not quite full of water, tank #2 had what could technicallu termed ‘mud’ all around the margins.
The reserve at Alfred is very good at any time outdside the freeze, today it was outstanding and before my dismal record shots are paraded before you here is what we saw in about two hours of watching, if you don’t like lists of birds look away now:
Shorebirds:Black-bellied Plover (5); Semipalmated Plover (70+); Killdeer (some!); Spotted Sandpiper (1); Whimbel (15+), Ruddy Turnstone (8+); Purple Sandpiper (1); Sanderling (2+); Dunlin (250+), White-rumped Sanpiper (6+); Semipalmated Sandpiper (70+); Least Sandpiper (40+); Short-billed Dowitcher (5); Wilson’s Phalarope (2); Red-necked Phalarope (7+).
Add to the amazing shorebird spectacle the breeding ducks like Ruddy and Redhead, the constant squealing of the Virginia Rails, the jangle of Bobolinks and the Peregrine that finally did for the shorebird flock and it was quite a visit.
The Purple Sand was a North American tick so no more trips to Tadoussac in winter, I will see one in Quebec one day but sans frostbite!
Below are the photos, not studies but record shots and hopefully conveying the action. The Purple Sand is a videograb as it was some way out and never really ventured out into the open for long. Three N. Am ticks in May, two of which were lifers, not bad.
This photo and the one below are better if you click on them to enlarge, otherwise it just looks like you sneezed on your screen.
How many species?
Four SB Dowitchers, two RN Phalaropes. Note the length of the bill on the last bird, did we miss something?
Short-billed Dowitchers overhead.