Friday, April 21, 2017

A Ruff in Chatsworth! [updated Apr. 24]

Yesterday, in miserable weather, Jarmo Jalava spotted a spiffy looking calico coloured Ruff hanging out with Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs along the Grey-Bruce County line. He wasted no time getting the word out and by early morning today birders from all over southern Ontario mingled with us local types at the roadside, enjoying distant scope views. Even from afar, the bird was a stunner.

Later I was fortunate to find the bird much closer to the (busy) roadway, allowing for some acceptable record pics and video.

Ruff, the gaudy male especially, is the most frequently documented euro-shorebird in Ontario. Lynne Richardson from the Grey-Bruce Bird Records Committee filled me in on past occurrences in our area. Thanks Lynne.
  • Sept 25 1949, Meaford, Lloyd Beamer; 
  • Apr 27 1972, Amabel, John Miles, Tom Murray; 
  • May 22-23 1988, Wiarton Sewage Lagoon, Joe Johnson; 
  • May 28 1988, Purple Valley, G Shemilt.

Did this bird just arrive from Muskegon Co., Michigan, some 420 km WSW of Chatsworth? Between April 4th and 18th a very similarly coloured Ruff was observed there. Excellent photos of the MI bird can be seen here and here. Given how much Ruffs vary in their ruffage - displaying myriad combinations of red, white and black - the similarities are striking. What do you think?

What an awesome find by Jarmo! Hopefully more birders will get out to see it, in full sunlight, this weekend. 

[Located at: 44.431648, -81.099859. Google Map. ]

[April 24th update: The bird continues to be seen each day although with the fields quickly drying, I suspect the Ruff will soon move on, as have most of the Greater Yellowlegs seen over the weekend. Today, the Ruff fed with a mixed yellowlegs flock, north of Sideroad 1. Before I left at 3:30 pm, the Ruff/yellowlegs flock flew to the creek edge and fed among American Wigeon, Northern Pintail and Canada Goose.