Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bruce Peninsula Specialty Birds

From a birder's perspective, the Bruce Peninsula is a great spot, but one bird stands out: Brewer's Blackbird. Although a reasonably common breeder on the peninsula, they are otherwise very rare in Southern Ontario. As I'd never been at the right time of year, Brewer's Blackbird was a much anticipated lifer.

Our first pair was right along Highway 6, sitting on the fenceposts along the road.

The males are very glossy overall. I was surprised how big and long-tailed this species appears.

Females are plain brown overall with dark eyes.

While watching the blackbirds, I noticed the female carrying nesting material to the base of a small bush. Sure enough, there was an almost-completed nest only a couple of metres away from the busy highway!

Upland Sandpiper is an increasingly hard bird to find as their habitat disappears, so I was glad to get excellent views of a couple very early in the morning. Although it is a shorebird closely related to Whimbrel and curlews, Uplands have no real association with water, and spend most of their time in long grass.

Sauble Beach is one of the location where Piping Plovers are now nesting in Ontario. At least three pairs are already nesting, and there's a chance of more to come as there are also three lonely males on the beach. We saw six birds, which is pretty impressive considering the Great Lakes population has had as few as 12 nesting pairs in the past.

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