After work on Friday, I headed out for a quick solo paddle through the marsh at Point Pelee. The weather was fantastic. The sun was shinning and only a light breeze was blowing making it perfect for an easy paddle.
I went out a few weeks earlier and was surprised at the lack of exposed mud in marsh. The lake water levels are much higher than they’ve been in some time. I was hoping that the conditions had changed. My goal of the paddle was to find some migrant shorebirds. As I was coming around the large Lotus patch in the middle of Lake Pond, a mixed flock of shorebirds circled over my head and seemed to land off to the east so that was the direction I headed. As I got closer, I could see some exposed mud where there was no mud on the previous trip. A good sign! I paddled up slowly with the sun at my back. The nice thing about paddling in the marsh is that you can get relatively close views of the shorebirds without disturbing or flushing them. I nudged my kayak up on some mud where some shorebirds were busy feasting. They didn’t even flinch at my presence. I watched a few territorial spats as the shorebirds were fighting over the prime feeding spots. Here’s a little video I shot on my phone…
I didn’t see any unexpected species of shorebirds but it’s always nice to get great views and to study them. All in all, I counted 7 species of shorebirds including Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, Killdeer, and Spotted Sandpiper. I have a feeling I’m going to turn up a good rarity soon!
The Point Pelee Marsh is one my favourite places to explore in the park. I don’t think it gets the attention it deserves! I really hope more people get out to enjoy it. If you don’t have a canoe or kayak, it’s easy to rent one either from the Friends of Point Pelee right at the Marsh Boardwalk or Pelee Wings just down the road. If you’re interested in getting out in the marsh and you happen to be coming for the OFO Conference, be sure to sign up for one of the guided marsh paddles that I just happen to be leading 🙂