I went on the Jim Baillie Memorial Bird Walk recently (May 22 2016) at Colonel Samuel Smith park.
It was an early start (7:30) and did not look too promising at the beginning. We made it to Whimbrel point at about 9:00 and after half an hour we had no luck spotting them. We wandered off and found other interesting birds like a Screech owl and Savannah sparrow.
Nearing the end, one of the participants who was on the verge of leaving stopped her car to tell us that some Whimbrels (Numenius phaeopus) had landed at the point. We walked over again and luckily they were still there. There was a group of 6 and one lone bird a number of yards away. They stayed until a passing canoe scared them off. A flock of about 200 also made a number of passes but did not land.
I should have mentioned the dedication of the walk leaders and Whimbrel watchers in my report.
All wanted to protect the interests of the Whimbrels while still educating us and allowing us to view these birds (which probably amounts to the same thing).
I heard a description of watchers lying down on the ground to avoid disturbing landed Whimbrels. I saw a woman directing pedestrian traffic at Whimbrel point so as not to disturb
the landed birds. One man tried to warn off the canoe to no avail.
The circling flock of Whimbrels is curious. Maybe they just wanted to rest for a while before continuing their journey north but the people (and dogs) scared them off?
Perhaps certain areas of Colonel Samuel Smith Park should have restricted access during Whimbrel migration?