Friday, May 18, 2012

Whimbrel at Hillman Marsh

Whimbrel with their decurved bills... life bird! 

Friday as I was getting ready to leave work, I checked my email and noticed an ontbirds posting from Jean Iron that mentioned ten Whimbrel at Hillman Marsh.  I'll be honest, I completely twitched this bird! I've found that my lifer stream is asymptotically approaching 300. I know... its an arbitrary number and there is so much more to birding than life lists...

Here is an interesting fact about the decruved bill of Whimbrel, as stated by "In many regions, the primary winter food of the Whimbrel is crab. The curve of the Whimbrel's bill nicely matches the shape of fiddler crab burrows. The bird reaches into the crab's burrow, extracts the crab, washes it if it is muddy, and sometimes breaks off the claws and legs before swallowing it."( Nature is amazing isn't it? This really is the greatest show on earth.

Thursday night, I walked Sunset Beach in the deep SW corner of Ontario (and Amherstburg). Did not see as much as I thought I would, but some nice birds were there. Kingfishers, Kingbirds, Waxwings, Carolina Wren singing and perching was nice. As I left, I noticed Black-crowned night Herons, Great Egrets & Great Blue Herons, then, looking further I saw several duck species, Wood Duck and American Wigeon were of note. Then, I noticed many shorebirds, at a distance. With my scope, I had noted that there were many Dunlin ... but I did notice what I believe is a Marbled Godwit (actually, it may just be a Long billed Dowitcher). It was just far enough to be teetering on the edge of my honest perception. My scope seems to lose focus between 45-60x magnification.

Phosphates and fertilizer runoff from agriculture are creating algae booms in our local waterways.

Good birding!

Sources:, "Whimbrel-Life History", ND, WEB, May 18th, 2012,

Lifer summary:
Whimbrel #297

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