Saturday, 8 November 2014

Hamilton Saturday Birding

In light of the rare birds which have popped up in Hamilton the past week, I decided to drive down this morning to see what I could find!  In particular, I was after an Eared Grebe and a Red Knot, both seen within a few kilometres of one another near the Burlington Skyway Bridge.  I tried first for the Eared Grebe by the Canada Centre for Inland Waters and despite a half hour of searching and spotting numerous ducks and other waterfowl, I wasn't able to come up with it!  I am quite confident that it was not in the area when I searched, and it may have left for greener pastures.  I did however see many of the similar Horned Grebe.

Horned Grebe
After striking out with the Eared Grebe, I moved on to target number 2 for the day, the Red Knot. This species is an uncommon shorebird at any time of the spring or fall in Ontario, but it is almost unheard of this late into the fall.  I pulled into the very hard to find Redhill Valley Stormwater Pond, and after searching for a few minutes I eventually spotted it foraging in the company of a Killdeer! Very exciting, and bird species #246 for my Ontario year list, slowly creeping up to my target of 250! You can't see it from the photos, but this bird seems to have a tumour or some growth on it's rear end under the tail, which may explain why it is hanging around so late.  It should be well on it's way to a beautiful ocean coastline in the neotropics right about now!

Record shot of the Red Knot

 After this I quickly checked Van Wagner's Beach but was rewarded with only a few birds including Red-throated Loon, White-winged Scotors and a few other ducks.  As I was leaving, the forecasted rain began to fall, making it easier to peel myself away from the birds.

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