Early mi­grants al­ready on the move

The Welland Tribune - - LIFE - PAUL NICHOLSON

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.

Na­ture notes

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.


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. g.paul.nicholson@gmail.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.

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