Thursday, 5 January 2017

A Great Day of Birding - 10 gull species, Harlequin Duck, King Eider, Black Vulture, Pine Warbler

If you are in the birding loop these days, then you can probably guess where I was today.  I decided to start 2017 off right and do some serious birding on the Niagara River and Lake Ontario.  I arrived at the Whirlpool at around 915am to see if I could spot the Black-headed Gull again, and after a bunch of us had been searching for a while, Josh Vandermeulen walked up and quickly picked the bird out at the rapids above the Whirlpool! Everyone present got to see the bird quite close as it circled over the water.

After this I headed directly to the Control Gates where unfortunately I was not able to add Slaty-backed Gull to the days tally.  I did however see Glacous, Iceland, Thayer's, Little and Lesser black-backed Gull among the usual suspects.  It was nice to meet David Pryor here as well!

Above the falls I had another Little Gull and 3 male Harlequin Ducks!  I stopped by Dufferin Islands afterwards and saw the Pine Warbler and the numerous Tufted Titmice as well as some birding friends Todd Hagedorn and Reuven Martin.

Tufted Titmouse -Dufferin Islands
After this I swung by Adam Beck quickly and scoped a few Iceland Gulls before moving on to the Queenston Overlook where I had to be patient to finally see 2 Black Vultures soaring over Lewiston New York.  They were not on their usual perch atop the church or other buildings.

Perched bird on the chimney is a Black me.
After a great morning and early afternoon on the river I decided to head north to Lake Ontario to do some duck watching.

At the Burlington shipping canal I was hopping to see the King Eiders that had been previously reported.

Long-tailed Ducks, White-winged Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser

Nice male Long-tailed Duck
 Eventually I located the pair of King Eider at the very end of the pier.  They eventually swam even closer and I had great looks at both of them!
Young male King Eider

The female seemed quite sleepy, but even with her head tucked into her feathers she was able to follow the male through the water.  Even in the shot below she looks kind of sleepy!
Male left, female King Eider right

Make way for the King...and Queen.  White-winged Scoters to the left.
 A quick stop at the Canadian Centre for Inland Waters rounded out the waterfowl list for the day.  I saw several tagged Trumpeter Swans as well as a few Tundra Swans (bird on the left in the photo below).

Overall it was quite a memorable day!


  1. It was great running into you today, Nathan! An awesome day on the river.

  2. The male must have just recently joined the female. I didn't see him when I went a last week. Lucky!

    1. Yea I knew about the female but was surprised to see the male as well!

  3. Love those kind of days! Wish I had time to get up that way.