Purple Sandpiper in Toronto

Purple Sandpiper in first winter plumage on the Leslie Street Spit - Tommy Thompson Park on Lake Ontario during the Toronto Christmas Bird Count on 15 December 2013. Most likely the bird first found on 10 December 2013 in the exact same location.


It foraged in the algae on snow and ice-covered rocks in the same location as earlier in the week. Toronto was hit with a major winter storm on 14 December and for the previous three nights temperatures dropped to about -15 C. The Purple Sandpiper is the last sandpiper to migrate in the fall and is known to be cold hardy wintering north to Newfoundland and farther.


It often was up to its belly in the frigid waters of Lake Ontario. Purple Sandpipers winter farther north than other shorebirds.