It seems that oddities are the norm these days, thanks to the weather. My last post dealt with butterflies in February. Not to be outdone are shorebirds in February.
(Note: only the last photo in this blog post was actually taken in Feb.....the rest were obtained from my archived files.)
Killdeer have been around for a few days now; that isn't all that much of a surprise.
American Woodcock have also been around, and aren't too far off their normal arrival. Given that some stayed quite late in the fall (5 were recorded on the Rondeau Christmas Bird Count on December 18), is it possible that some of the handful that have been reported in the last week are actually winter survivors?
As far as I am aware, the earliest record of Lesser Yellowlegs for the Rondeau Provincial Park checklist area is March 23, which occurred quite a few years ago (pre-1979). So this bird yesterday was more than three weeks earlier. According to the ebird database, the earliest record for Ontario was March 6, 1977 in the Hamilton/Royal Botanical Gardens area of Spencer Creek, so this record of Feb 27 is the earliest date ever for Ontario by about one week.
Still with the shorebird theme, but not one that I expect to see for quite a few weeks yet, is this Ruddy Turnstone. I feature it because the February, 2017 issue of Birding, published by the American Birding Association, has just declared it as the Bird of the Year for 2017. I photographed this individual from my kayak as the bird wandered along the edge of the sandy island in Rondeau Bay.
I did get a couple of other 'first of the year' birds yesterday, however, but no other shorebirds. I finally got the long-staying Orange-crowned Warbler along the South Point Trail, as it hung out with a group of Golden-crowned Kinglets, Tufted Titmice and Black-capped Chickadees. No photos, though.
The other FOY was a Turkey Vulture which flew low over the trees at the north end of the Campground, and enabled me to get only this one quick shot as it flew right over my head.
Happy late winter birding!