map of the place. Unsure of where I would need to go to get to MS5 I decided to just follow the route and look for cars. Luckily the route took us right to the SE corner of MS4, so it was a short and easy walk for folks to reach the birds. I had my bike w/ me, so I unloaded it and rode out to the S end of MS5.
American Golden Plovers and fewer Black-bellied Plovers, and several Stilt Sandpipers. These birds would have to move a bit closer before I'd attempt to digiscope them, so I turned my attention to a pair of Long-billed Dowitchers (juveniles) that were feeding near three more godwits. A pair of Short-billed Dowitchers (?) were quietly resting a few feet away among the dying leaves of American Lotus.
Three American White Pelicans were quietly swimming behind a group of Ringbilled Gulls, Forster's Terns and Common Terns. The small peninsula that hosted the terns also held a half dozen American Golden Plovers and a few more godwits.
Sherrie Duris and friend Dan Irizarry. After catching up with them it was time go after plovers. The flocks of mostly goldens took to the air, and I spent some time photographing them in flight w/ the D300s and 300/2.8 VRII. They're easy to pick up in flight with their golden-brown tails while slightly larger Black-bellied Plovers can be spotted by their black arm pits and white tails. I was able to spot a Red-necked Phalarope in one of my images!
The plovers dipped and swirled several times before settling down in an area close enough to digiscope. I don't get many opportunities to photograph these birds at Pt. Mouillee, so it was a treat to digiscope both American Golden Plovers and Black-bellied Plovers in basic plumage.
The Red-necked Phalarope made a brief appearance behind a patch of emergent plants, but disappeared before I could get over to it. A Wilson's Phalarope was spotted earlier, but was not relocated. I spoke w/ one photographer who had seen a pair of Glossy Ibis near the observation tower, but I decided not to look for it. With the birds moving off to deeper water and temps now reaching 80f I decided to pack up and head out. I stopped long enough for a brief chat with Allen and Nancy Chartier who had just arrived.
As I drove out I spotted a small flock of Trumpeter Swans flying in and chasing away the roosting gull population in the NW corner of MS5. My only other sighting would be of a Belted Kingfisher on an overhead wire with a fresh-caught bluegill.
A huge shout-out to the good folks at Ottawa NWR for opening up the refuge to those of us who can't get enough of shorebirding! Many thanks!