This morning between 0600 and 0740 while scanning the exposed mud at the Briar Hill Bird Sanctuary pond for the Short-billed Dowitcher that has been reported by various observers, I found an adult Baird’s Sandpiper foraging with four Least Sandpipers (1 adult and 3 juveniles). Though over 200m distant, through the spotting scope the Baird’s was fairly easily picked out due to its larger size and black legs, but particularly by its long primary extension which extended beyond the tail creating its a ttenuated appearance and ‘horizontal’ foraging posture, as well as by its generally paler brown coloration contrasting with the rufus brown of the adjacent Leasts. Other shorebirds present included Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Wilson’s Snipe. Still no luck with Short-billed Dowitcher despite three visits over as many days, but not all of the available habitat is visible due to the tall stands of Reed Canary Grass along the shores of the pond and it may still be present. Also present was an adult Caspian Tern and four male Blue-winged Teal. On Rice Lake off Hall Landing there was a molting adult Bonaparte’s Gull and two adult Capian Terns.

Later, at around 1000h I observed a very fresh Giant Swallowtail on River Rd at the Ouse River bridge, between the 2nd and 3rd lines, east of Birdsalls. Interestingly, Prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum americanum) was fairly commoon bordering the north side of the road. Prickly-ash is the other native larval host of the Giant Swallowtail in Ontario.

Location: Briar Hill Bird Sanctuary, County Road 28 at County Road 21
Observer: Don Sutherland

Categories: Sightings

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.