Monday turned out to be a gorgeous day. We decided to head to Hillman Marsh and further along the lake if we had enough time. However there was so much going on at the marsh that we stayed for the whole morning and well into the afternoon. We started with a banding demonstration at the centre. It was the first time for us to see the process of identifying, measuring, weighing and banding of the birds before they are released out of the window again. We were able to get a close look at an American Redstart, a Grackle, a Yellow Warbler and a Goldfinch and a Swainson’s Thrush.
We spent hours walking around the marshes enjoying the sunny weather and the sound of birds everywhere around us! We spotted Swallows, Redwinged Blackbirds, Baltimore Orioles, Goldfinches, Sparrows, Kingbirds, Cowbirds and others which remain to be identified! On the water we saw Cormorants, Terns, about 6 Blue Winged Teals, Canada Geese and Mallards.
However the biggest thrill of the day came just before we were leaving. Black Bellied Plovers and Dunlins were continually landing in the shallow waters of the last pond that we were circling as we headed back to the parking lot. We were enjoying the view from the wooden viewing shelter when suddenly, for no reason that we could see, they ALL took off and began lifting into the sky, circling in front of us in the manner of a murmeration of starlings. The most amazing part was when they banked in front of us and did a sort of fly-by, their wings making a whirring, beating, almost spinning sound. It’s hard to describe but suffice to say we’ve never witnessed anything like it before!
Fortunately, birders are friendly folk and seem quite willing to share what they know with others and it was a birder sitting at the edge of the marsh with his spotting scope and open birding guide who identified the birds for us. It was certainly an enjoyable weekend of birding!