Rock Point shorebirds

On Saturday we wove our way through the countryside courtesy of the GPS to Rock Point Provincial Park in Dunnville, ON. I swear the GPS always sends us on the unnecessarily long and winding route. The insane part of my mind believes its in cahoots with the petroleum companies. Fortunately, the tour from St. Catharines was scenic. We wove our way through a town boasting a population of 6,000, passed brooks and streams, gorgeous country and rustic homes, pastures and fruit stands and even a book sale.

Sheep in Dunnville, ON

Sheep in a pasture

Oh, before we headed out we stopped at a restaurant for breakfast. I shall keep its name and location to myself but it’s a chain and it’s in St. Catharines and it has the word “egg” in its logo. I ordered yoghurt with fruit and granola. Would you believe the waiter plopped down one small sized bowl of fruit. Accompanying the fruit were three separate containers. If you’ve ever ordered dressing on the side or had blue cheese dressing with your wings, it is delivered in a little plastic container. Well folks, the fruit was accompanied by three such containers. Two with yoghurt and one with granola. All this for $5.99! I was not amused.

Rock Point Provincial Park is a combination camping ground, birding station, beach, etc. I’ll be perfectly honest. I don’t get the camping thing. I’ve been camping twice in my lifetime. Hated it! I think it was having to trek to the loo for what seemed like miles or maybe it was the loss of privacy or maybe it was having to pretend I was having fun playing all those games and singing all those endless songs. Ooops, just realized I went off on another tangent.

When we arrived at Rock Point it was and remained cloudy. Three photographers were already documenting the birds. One of the photographers I met at Hendrie a few weeks ago. We recognized each other. It also his first time at Rock Point. We were aware of warblers and other species in the wooded areas but we agreed the lighting was poor. So we all focused on the target species – the shorebirds.

Killdeer on shore at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Killdeer

Least Sandpipers at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Sanderling & Least Sandpipers

Least Sandpiper at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Least Sandpiper

Semipalmated Plovers at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Semipalmated Plovers

Sanderling at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Sanderling

Juvenile Baird's Sandpipers at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Juvenile Baird’s Sandpipers

Baird's Sandpiper, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Baird’s Sandpiper, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper

Juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs on beach at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Juvenile Lesser Yellowlegs

These are all new species for me, minus the killdeer. Shorebirds are notoriously difficult to identify. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. One thing I did learn is if there is a killdeer in the group of shorebirds it will sound the alarm and take flight and the whole group will follow. If the shorebirds are on their own they tended to be a bit more accommodating. Adding to the fun, at certain points along the beach you couldn’t quietly approach the birds because you had no choice but to walk on zebra mussel shells such as these.

Zebra Mussels at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Zebra Mussels

Off in the distance is a lighthouse. I wasn’t wearing my glasses when I took this photograph. It was only when I got home that I realized what I thought was dark soil and shadows were double-crested cormorants! Look at the multitude and note they are even atop the lighthouse. The cheek!

Double-Crested Cormorant Colony at a fort at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Double-Crested Cormorant Colony

Double-Crested Cormorant Colony at an old lighthouse at Rock Point Provincial Park, Dunnville, ON

Double-Crested Cormorant Colony

We had a good time at Rock Point. Despite the imperfect light conditions, the day was lovely. We watched families frolick on the beach and others thoroughly enjoying a weekend camping utterly untethered from electronic devices.

 

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