Monday, 7 September 2009

West Perth Community Wetland

West Perth Community Wetland
Mitchell, ON
September 6, 2009
We arrived at 09:30h in bright sunshine with hardly a breath of wind and were anxious to see what shorebirds had populated the ponds on their southbound migration.
In the first pond the water level was quite high and there were small numbers of shorebirds, mainly countless Killdeer and a number of Lesser Yellowlegs. A Great Blue Heron was stalking in the shallows and given the volume of Leopard Frogs jumping everywhere around us, we were sure it was feeding well.
Upon rounding the end of the first pond Miriam looked back and saw a breeding-plumaged Grey Plover on a sandbar. Either we had missed this species when first scoping the area or it had just arrived. What a truly handsome bird! We agreed it was the bird of the day.
There were lots of American Goldfinches flitting around with an abundance of thistle seeds for them to feed on. There were also Savannah and Song Sparrows with American Crows moving noisily overhead and a Belted Kingfisher zipped by. Not a swallow was to be seen. I guess they have all departed for the year and it will be next spring before we see them again.
Upon reaching the second pond we were surprised to find that some of kind of dredging operation appears to be underway. There was heavy equipment on the shore and a tractor had buried itself in the mud and slime. There was quite a bit of exposed mud in this cell and there were Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers feeding there, as well as a couple of Semipalmated Plovers. In the pond where we normally encounter huge rafts of waterfowl there were none, save for a single female Northern Shoveler. In the pond opposite was a sizeable flotilla of Mallards, but other than ubiquitous Canada Geese they were the only waterfowl we saw. We did, however, see three Greater Yellowlegs and on several occasions they cooperatively fed alongside Lesser Yellowlegs giving us an interesting juxtaposition of the two related species.
A Ruby-throated Hummingbird was feeding on a miscellany of flowering plants at the water’s edge - another migrant which will be leaving us shortly. A couple of Turkey Vultures were quite high overhead but given the lack of wind and minimal convective activity they were flapping constantly.
On the way back to the parking area we carefully examined every bit of mud and were rewarded with four Pectoral Sandpipers. Two Eastern Phoebes were flycatching from the fence and a couple of Mourning Doves seemed to be picking at midges on a mud flat.
Not having seen any gulls up to this point we were fascinated to see a flight of Ring-billed Gulls with two American Herring Gulls land on a sandbar and line up like well-behaved children at school assembly.
We left almost exactly three hours after we had arrived having enjoyed a fine morning of birding. No doubt, shorebird species and numbers will be changing constantly so we'll try to get back again next weekend to see what’s new.

All species
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose
Northern Shoveler
Turkey Vulture
Grey Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
American Herring Gull
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Eastern Phoebe
American Crow
European Starling
American Goldfinch
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the land on which we are situated are the lands traditionally used by the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Neutral People. We also acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge, laws, and philosophies of the Indigenous Peoples with whom we share this land today. We are all treaty people with a responsibility to honour all our relations.