Ruff

Philomachus pugnax

Visiting birders would be lucky indeed to encounter a breeding plumaged male Ruff in spring. On average 1 adult Ruff will be found in spring (usually female) every year. The best time to search for this species, which prefers well vegetated lakes and wetlands, is during the last two weeks of May and first two weeks of June. By mid-July Ruffs become more regular. Between 2 and 4 individuals (moulting adults or juveniles) pass through during the fall annually. Look for this species in fall on the kelp rack lines deposited onto sand beaches by storms, and around the margins of lakes such as Pumphouse or Webster Lake. The identification of this species is fairly easy, as no other shorebird shows the long neck, small head, white U-shaped rump patch, streaked back (juveniles) and dark line behind the eye. The only possibly source of confusion lies with juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpipers. The best way to rule out this accidental species is to ensure that the bird does not have the scaled upperparts, white edged black centered wing coverts and blank face (lacking the supercilium and dark line behind the eye of Ruff).