8/11 – Pipe Cattle Egrets & NW shorebird spot check

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As is often the case, the passage of a cold front last night swept the mudflats clean at area shorebird hotspots.  It seems quite often that the number of shorebirds build up at a particular location during milder conditions, often for a week or two at a time, until a frontal system comes through and pushes the birds out en masse.  For example, there were easily ~300 shorebirds total at Pipe Creek’s Unit B Thursday evening, and 50 or so this morning.  There were some nice surprises on the day, however:
 
Lakeview Park, Lorain:  75 Bonaparte’s Gulls on the beach and two flyby Ruddy Turnstones.  Last year, Bonie numbers built to 400 in early fall here, and a Little Gull put in a brief appearance.
 
Pipe Creek WA:  Nothing of extreme excitement.  The lake is down, aided by the southwest winds, and mudflats could be seen across the bay along the entrance trail, too.  Four distant Ruddy Turnstones passed by headed east.  There were nearly as many shorebirds here as in the impoundments.  One Little Blue Heron remained and one Snowy Egret in Unit B.
 
Field south of Breakers Express along Causeway Dr.: Two Cattle Egrets where others have recently reported them.  Definitely the most cooperative Cattles I’ve seen in the state…they allowed my approach in the car within ~25 feet for nice photographic opportunities.
 
Cedar Point Chausee:  Plenty of exposed mud, and a few shorebirds.  The four Ruddy Turnstones were found here, as I thought they might.  Nice collection of Bonaparte’s & terns, but none out of the ordinary today.   There were 30 Pied-billed Grebes west of the causeway, as well.
 
Medusa Marsh:  The unit visible from S.R.-269 looks about the same as it has, but few birds present today.  However, the “normal” unit along Barrett Rd. was a bittersweet surprise.  This unit has been drawn down completely, probably just within the past few days from the looks of it.  While there is no water left in the impoundment, the mud is still quite damp, and there were 73 Pectoral Sandpipers present, as well as a Dunlin, and ~30 peeps.  Wish I’d have checked on this area a couple weeks ago, as it was probably quite productive during the drawdown.  It’s still worth a check for the time being, and looks good for plovers or Buff-breasted. 
 
Willow Point WA:  No longer worth checking – one Lesser Yellowlegs.  And, a Peregrine.
 
Also, there were staging swallows around East Sandusky Bay in outrageous numbers.  All six species and probably 10,000 total birds on the day
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