Ontbirds (an excellent birding mailing list for Ontario) reported a Ruff, a shorebird and also a bird I’ve never seen before just outside of Angus, Ontario. I decided that I would give finding it a try rather than going to Long Point as the weather was a little on the rainy side further south.
The birds were located in a very large swamp called the Minnesing Swamp, home to excellent shorebirds and waterfowl habitat and it didn’t disappoint. Its about 100km from Toronto and was certainly the best natural shorebird habitat I’ve seen in southern Ontario. The only drawback to the location is that its right next to the Canadian Forces Base Borden and in the background was the sound of large explosions from the various ranges on the base.
The birds were located along McKinnon Street. Thanks to my handy GPS, I had no trouble finding the street and slowly cruised up looking for birds. In a large field of grass, I found 3 birds but not the ruffs. In the next field over, I started to scan and there were shorebirds everywhere. Most were lesser yellowlegs but mixed in with them were long-billed dowitchers, dunlin, solitary sandpiper, greater yellowlegs.
I started scanning and was able to find the birds. One had a rufous head, the other black. Neither was in full breeding plumage but it was great to see them as I’ve never seen them before. I pulled out the camera and snapped a few hundred shots hoping to get a few goods one which I did. While I was watching them, other birders arrived and I was told of a hudsonian godwit in the area, another bird I’ve never seen before.
Once I was done with the ruffs, I drove up the road in search of the godwit. I came to a large stretch of very dubious mud, but being a fool and having had my car serviced and washed the day before I drove into the mud with the car lurching from side to side trying to find purchase. I don’t recommend anybody do what I do unless you have a 4-wheel drive or want to push yourself out of axle deep mud. I didn’t get stuck (this time) but have in the past. If only Acura knew what I did with a CL Type S. My service advisor keeps asking why I have all these scraps and nicks on the car…
I managed to find and photograph the godwith fairly easily and also some yellowlegs that were much closer than the ruff. I finally drove out and on the way out I found a solitary sandpiper and greater yellowlegs right by the side of the road.
For me, it was a great day as its not very often that I get to see a new bird in Ontario. Two was just icing on the cake.