Shorebirds missing at Ashbridges
Outdoor Ontario

Shorebirds missing at Ashbridges

Shortsighted

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There have been eBird reports of large to super cells of flying shorebirds, mostly
SPSP and Dunlin, but when I visted Ashbridges flood plane recently I didn't see
any at all. No matter how long I scanned the shoreline of the flooded pond that
comprises the western crescent of the beach I see nothing moving except perhaps
one or two killdeer. Where the heck are all the late-May shorebirds? If they have
been spotted from the bluffs in tremendous numbers they must surely have detected
the flooded beach. Anyone have any ideas why 2019 does not produce the same
visitation as 2017? Are the shorebirds all congregating on Leslie Spit? Anyone
been spitting lately?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Dinusaur

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There was a report of 300 of each species seen in Ashbridge's Bay early morning on the 26th. I guess they were soon flushed for one reason or another. There were reports of large shorebirds to the west (e.g. Bowmanville, Whitby etc.) and also to some extent to the east (e.g. Leslie Spit and Colonel Sam Smith Park). In some of the places there are break water walls setup away from the main shoreline creating a safe buffer zone for them to land and rest; unfortunately flooded beach area in Ashbridges's Bay doesn't provide such a shelter.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Shortsighted

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Thanks for your assessment of the situation. I thought of those points as well.
Nonetheless, shorebirds did visit Ashbridges in 2017 during both the spring
and late-summer migration and they kept coming. Secure breakwater structures
existed even then. This year some of the breakwater installations are still under water.
With such huge numbers of shorebirds sighted it is hard to believe that at least
some of them would completely overlook the swathe of shoreline at Ashbridges,
especially when other mudflats and sand planes are flooded. I've spotted shorebirds
on small, even tiny flats out in Whitby, targets to land that seem too inconsequential
to even bother with and yet being utilized by shorebirds. These spots are now all gone
because of high water. Granted though, Ashbridges is a crowded park and that situation
is only going to get intense. Have you been down the spit lately? If so, what did you see
vis-a-vis shorebird visitation? I know what you're thinking. Why don't you get off your
tush and walk the spit and answer your own question? Ah, if it were only that straight-
forward. Still, it's a fair question since you manage to get around a lot.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Dinusaur

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I haven't gone past the visitor center recently, so I am not sure what's out there in Cell 2 and there about - eBird report seems to indicate a few interesting Shorebird sightings in TTP.

After many years of walking in the park with heavy camera and lens I bought a foldable bike a few years ago. Now when I intend to go further inside the park I take it in the trunk of my car. It enables me to go to lighthouse area and back with more manageable effort and time.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Shortsighted

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I've seen those collapsible bikes on the spit before. You may have been on one of them.
Did you have an entourage of heavily-armed black bikes with men in black as riders?
No, couldn't be.
Anyway, a bike that can be deconstructed and stashed in the trunk is a great idea
but they are costly. What do you do with the bike when you get to a hot spot?
Do you drag it along with the lens and tripod? You must be strong like bull.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »


Kris Ito

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We are reaching the tail end of the spring shorebirds now but there are still a few trickling through. Today at ABB there was 1 lovely Piping Plover, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Dunlin, and about 20 Semipalmated Sandpipers. As I'm sure you know, the dogs and crowds at ABB can often scare away the bravest shorebirds, but surprisingly you can still sometimes get lucky. Currently the water is probably too high for many shorebirds (witness dozens of asian carp now swimming around on the flooded beach) but the flooding will likely drop soon. Hopefully the beach will still be wet enough come late July/August when the shorebirds begin their return trip. Many of the best shorebirds at ABB in 2017 were from July-Sept. Keep in mind that some of the rare gulls found at ABB in 2017 were at the end of June.

The Spit has lost a lot of its prime shorebird habitat this year due to high water levels, however we have had large numbers of shorebirds passing through. Currently the TRCA is trying to lower the water level in Cell Two with an industrial pump so hopefully it will be ready for the shorebirds later in July. There are several regular birders at the Spit like myself and Dinu who use those folding bikes. Quite often I will lock it up when I want to walk along a trail for awhile but sometimes it's easy to keep it with me depending on which area of the park I'm interested in. The up-side of riding while birding is that you can make the 10km journey without hurting your legs and feet and if you hear about a good bird on the opposite side of the park you can be there within a few minutes! The down-side is that you might be missing a lot of birds while you zoom along on the road instead of poking slowly along the side trails. Sometimes I just prefer to leave the bike at home if I have the whole day to spend out there. And yeah, those bikes can be a bit pricey new, but maybe a "previously loved" bike might be found for a reasonable price?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by Guest »