Early migrants already on the move
Migrating sandpipers and other shorebirds continue to move through Southwestern Ontario. Among the interesting recent posts on area rare bird alerts was an American golden plover at the Dingman constructed wetland in south London.
In the past week I’ve checked out a number of shorebird locations. Greater and lesser yellowlegs as well as solitary, spotted, least, and pectoral sandpipers are among the shorebird species that you could expect to see in the first half of September.
Species I saw at the West Perth Wetlands in Mitchell included Wilson’s snipe, yellowlegs, solitary sandpiper, semipalmated sandpiper, and least sandpiper. I was pleased to see blue-winged teal and greenwinged teal and I was surprised to see Northern shovelers. Shovelers aren’t really expected for another month.
A very early common merganser on the Thames River has also been reported. Watch for ruddy ducks now. The ruddy ducks that we will see have nested in the western Canadian provinces. They will now ride the westerlies to southern Ontario, then turn right and fly to the American southeast and Caribbean. American Coots will also be flying through our area from now through the fall.
Great blue herons and green herons were also in Mitchell. Our green herons are among the birds that fly south early. They will disappear in the middle of the month. Black-crowned night-heronsleaveMiddlesexCounty at the end of September. Great egrets persist well into October.
The next Eastern kingbird or willow flycatcher that you see may well be your last sighting of these species of 2017. These birds leave early. Other flycatchers don’t wait much longer. The great-crested flycatcher, for example, will depart for the Caribbean by month end. The Eastern phoebe is the only one of our flycatchers to stick around into late October.
September is a super time of year to view vireos as well as an array of warbler species. It’s like spring migration in the month of May in this respect, however in the fall many of the warblers have less bright non-breeding plumage. This creates a new identification challenge.
Take advantage of the next few of weeks to admire ruby-throated hummingbirds as they fuel up for their flight south. Their numbers peak now. Almost all of them will be gone in late September.
Bobolinks and Baltimore orioles will migrate in the next two weeks. Orchard orioles and meadowlarks have already left. Middlesex County birders will start seeing whitethroated sparrows through the first half of the month. Many will stay across Southwestern Ontario until next spring.
If you’re out with your binoculars you should see new bird species each week for the next two months.
are members of the Icteridae family of birds. The yellowish feathers of many of these birds gave the family its name. Icteridae is from ancient Greek and means “jaundiced ones.”
actively embraced by the Thames Talbot Land Trust and CMHA Middlesex as they launch a new, no-cost program that will run on Tuesdays from Sept. 5 to Nov. 7. Thames Talbot organizers say this “Nature for Nurture” program “will involve a series of ‘mood walks’ and stewardship outings to TTLT properties, and has the dual purpose of improving ecological health of natural areas and boosting the well-being of participants.” Visit thamestalbotlandtrust.ca/naturefornurture for details.
THE WORLD OUTDOORS
expressed concern about bulldozing of piping plover habitat at the north end of Sauble Beach in late August. The plovers have left for the season. I reached out to Jolanta Kowalski of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry who told me that the Town of South Bruce Peninsula and MNRF continue to work together. “The Ministry was advised by the town of the planned beach maintenance activities and provided advice on how their beach maintenance activities can comply with the Endangered Species Act.” Mayor Janice Jackson told me that whilethetowniskeenon“rehabilitating the beach” it is working with the MNRF and the local Conservation Authority.
monarch and red admiral, migrate in September. Other Ontario butterflies such as mourning cloaks and tortoiseshells will actually hibernate here as adults. email@example.com twitter.com/NicholsonNature
This London Baltimore oriole will be flying south to Florida, the Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, or Venezuela within the next two weeks. Orchard orioles are already gone.