A sure sign that the year is rapidly moving ahead is the return of shorebirds from their northern breeding grounds. Although Waterloo Region is not a major stopping off point for these southbound migrants there are many places where small numbers can be observed.
We have recently been spending an hour or so each afternoon checking out a small area in the village of Erbsville right at the edge of the City of Waterloo which is soon to be enveloped by a major new subdivision which has been approved. Without a doubt some of the natural areas will be imperiled and we are not sure whether this small area will be drained or otherwise destroyed.
It was very pleasant to find a Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria feeding in the mud which is rich in invertebrate prey.
This species breeds right across the Nearctic region of North America and adults are already winging their way to their winter quarters in South America.
The feeding seemed to be particularly rich with many fat worms being captured.
The Kildeer Chardrius vociferus breeds locally and it was quite numerous, also taking advantage of the nutritious and easily captured food in the mud.
In my last post I included a picture of a male Ebony Jewelwing Calopteryx maculata and I now include a female.
The white wingtips which identify the female are actually pseudostigma, or false (ptero) stigma. Unlike a true stigma a pseudostigma is made up of multiple cells. In our area only female jewelwings display this character.
Northern Leopard Frogs Lithobates pipiens seem to have had a productive breeding season and as we walked along young frogs were constantly hopping out of our way, seeking refuge in the water.
Blue Vervain Verbena hastata was in bloom everywhere; it is a very characteristic plant of damp thickets and roadsides and was abundant where we walked along a dirt road adjacent to wet areas.
This area is not large but is home to a variety of organisms and we can only hope that the urban planners have recognized its value and will protect it.