A Morning at Oak Hammock Marsh Celebrating International Migratory Bird Day

On May 12th, Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Center celebrated International Migratory Bird Day. Tim Poole and Lynnea Parker helped lead a morning bird walk with Paula Grieef from Oak Hammock Marsh and Dr. Christian Artuso from Bird Studies Canada.

In total, 40 members of the public attended this successful event. 39 different species were observed, including 8 species of waterfowl and 8 species of shorebird. We had several birding scopes set up during this event to provide participants with close-up views of the various species. One of the more noteworthy shorebirds seen was the Least Sandpiper. 24 of these little peeps were spotted running up and down the muddy flats at the front pond to the Interpretive Centre and other locations around the marsh (photo below).

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Least Sandpiper foraging for food at Oak Hammock Marsh, photo by Lynnea A. Parker

13 Wilson’s Phalarope (photo below) were seen swimming in circles, a behaviour which  is unique to the Phalarope family. Phalaropes swim in tight circles in order to stir the water and snatch aquatic bugs which ascend to the surface.

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Wilson’s Phalarope foraging, photo by Christian Artuso

Marbled Godwits provided the biggest show of the morning, getting up to, what can only be described as ‘a bit of springtime business’.

Thank you to Oak Hammock Marsh for hosting, and for the large numbers of people who came to make this a successful morning out.

Complete list of species seen during the morning bird walk:

Species Number
Canada Goose 18
Tundra Swan 16
Blue-winged Teal 14
Northern Shoveler 9
Mallard 21
Green-winged Teal 18
Ring-necked Duck 6
Lesser Scaup 7
Horned Grebe 1
Double-crested Cormorant 3
Northern Harrier 1
Virginia Rail 1
Sora 1
American Coot 7
Killdeer 4
Marbled Godwit 3
Least Sandpiper 24
Wilson’s Phalarope 13
Spotted Sandpiper 1
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Willet 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 4
Ring-billed Gull 6
Forster’s Tern 3
Common Raven 1
Purple Martin 8
Tree Swallow 12
Barn Swallow 5
American Robin 3
Palm Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
White-throated Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 4
Lincoln’s Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 3
Yellow-headed Blackbird 9
Red-winged Blackbird 40
Brown-headed Blackbird 4
Common Grackle 8