Monday, September 2, 2019

Birding the Forest.....Lagoons

With recent reports of Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Forest Lagoons in north Lambton, I felt compelled to make a visit to the place.  Upon arrival, the skies were gloomy and lighting was horrible, but I did see the buffy creature in the distance.  It was too distant (and remained so during my stay) for a proper photo.

Since that photo is useless, I will provide a photo of one I photographed while in a kayak on Rondeau Bay back in 2012.  Mike Bouman and I actually talked about this adventure today as we could get very close to the birds that day.

The Buff-breasted Sandpiper is an uncommon migrant through Ontario in the fall migration.  We only see it the fall since it takes a different route heading north.  (There have been some rare spring records though).  If one does not put in the effort each year, it can easily be absent from one's year list!  I missed it last year, but there were not many reports in 2018.

There was no sign of the Red-necked Phalarope of yesterday, not that I needed to see one.  Seems Wilson's is the scarce on this year!  While I am at it, here is what Red-necked Phalarope looks like this time of year, up close.

Forest Lagoons is one of the best birding lagoons around.  The habitat is great for shorebirds, and you get other birds flying over, or stopping along the treeline.  The property is easily accessible for birders and there is no gate.

The access point is along the road to the treatment plant, but this was actually the old railroad bed for the Grand Trunk Railway.
The railway started out as the Great Western Railway in 1859 and its terminus was at Point Edward.  The Howard Watson Nature Trail in the Sarnia area is on the old railbed.

Several birders were present today from far and wide.  Fore example, the well-travelled Barb Charlton was one of those, whom I meet quite often all over southern Ontario!

There was a good variety of birds today including up to four Baird's Sandpipers, 19 Pectoral Sandpipers, over 55 Semipalmated Sandpipers, four Stilt Sandpipers, etc.
Here is my eBird list from the location today:

A Merlin buzzed the lagoons at one point (a daily occurrence), scattering the shorebirds.

The weather actually turned out quite pleasant while we were at the lagoons.  On the way home, I stopped by Reid CA for a walk.  A Royal River Cruiser co-operated nicely.

It was a pleasant walk with a few butterflies and odes to be seen.  Canada Darners were flying over the old oxbow wetland.


  1. I'd love to see a Buff-breasted one day! Beautiful bird! I never realized they took a different route in the fall. As for phalaropes, there seems to be more sightings of Red-necked vs Wilson's up here also this year.

    1. Interesting to note, up on the coast of James Bay, we had an exceptional year of phalaropes, my understanding is that they were in much higher numbers than usual. Funny enough, it was Wilson's that was the dominant one (I saw 17 in one group!)

  2. Interesting Quinten! 17! I was amazed to find 5 RNPH! Must've been great to see all these phalaropes! All we have is a very very small number stopping by (when we're lucky!) which is usually Wilson's... so I can't generalize based on what we see. You, on the other hand, were in the right spot to get a much realistic perspective!