Friday, May 29, 2015

Beach Plovers

The last few days have seen a number of reports of rare plovers from Hanlan's Point Beach on the Toronto Islands, including up to 4 Piping Plovers, a very rare Wilson's Plover and a Snowy Plover that was only present very briefly. This morning was my first chance to head down.

The Wilson's Plover was extremely cooperative as it rested and fed well back from the water on the beach. The long heavy bill on a small plover is the most distinctive feature of this species. Wilson's Plover was a lifer for me, and is only about the 7th record for Ontario.

Three to four Piping Plovers have been present here for almost a week, and at least one pair is attempting to nest, an excellent sign for this endangered species. There are no more than about 100 nesting pairs in the Great Lakes population of Piping Plover.

A variety of more common shorebirds were present, both migrant species (Whimbrel, Dunlin, Semipalmated Plover and Semipalmated Sandpiper) and our two common nesters (Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper).

One Spotted Sandpiper flushed out of a dense grassy area, and as I expected I easily found a nest with eggs. Sex roles are reversed in this species, meaning that the bird incubating was likely a male.

One bird was loudly proclaiming its displeasure at our presence from the airport fence. Many shorebirds will use high perches in the breeding season, very different from their behaviour in migration and winter.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats, Reuven! At least SOMEBODY got a lifer, hearing a dove just isn't good enough. :)