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Species Goal Surpassed!
Friday, October 2, 2015
September is one of the most exciting months in the birding world. In the northern hemisphere, bird populations are at their highest after the breeding season and most migratory species are on the move, so you never know what you are going to find on any given day. I had great luck. On September 3, a day of northeasterly breezes on the Hamilton waterfront, I and another birder had the privilege of watching four rare Sabine's Gulls from the high Arctic drift slowly closer and closer to shore, feeding on something on the surface of Lake Ontario. Occasionally they would alight from the water and we were able to see the distinctive bold black and white triangles on their wingtips as they flapped their wings. A week later at the opposite end of the Carolinian Zone, after hours of searching the onion fields northeast of Point Pelee, I was able to find the prize I was looking for, three Buff-breasted Sandpipers. These small shorebirds, which prefer fields and barrens to coastlines, are also rare transients on their way south from their Arctic breedings grounds. I found them at precisely the moment I was about to give up and make the long drive home to Stratford. A few days later, September 15, I found a Long-billed Dowitcher at the West Perth Wetland -- and I've included a photo of this aptly-named sandpiper.
And since I'm adding photos, these Red-necked Phalaropes were at the Tavistock Sewage Lagoons in late August:
I also found a couple of new birds for the year in September thanks to on-line reports -- a Say's Phoebe (a new "Ontario" species for me) near Blenheim, and an Eared Grebe at the Exeter Sewage Lagoons. By the end of the month my Carolinian Canada bird list for 2015 reached 276 species, number 276 being a graceful Long-tailed Jaeger -- back at the west end of Lake Ontario.
Now, what will October hold? A Lapland Longspur seems like a pretty safe bet. A Pomarine Jaeger would be nice. As would a few more sponsors?
Happy birding! Jarmo