Monday 2 December 2013

Niagara River Part 2

After such a great day in the Niagara area I had another chance to see some good stuff with the Burrells (Ken, Mike and Jim) who were leading a gull watching trip on Saturday November 30th.

Unfortunately it was the morning after my staff Christmas party at NRSI which was a bit of a late night, but I still managed to get up in time to drive down to Stevensville and drop my wife off at her parents for the day and then head to Fort Erie just down the road before the rest of the crew made it down.  They stopped in Hamilton and Stoney Creek and had great looks at a king eider and snowy owl from what I hear.

In Fort Erie I stopped at the lark sparrow spot and saw that many people were there looking at it sitting in a small tree on someones front lawn. Somewhat of a birder traffic jam was emerging as you can see.

After looking at the lark sparrow for a bit I left and went further up the river and saw a small flock of geese flying down the river towards me and one of them was white! I knew what that meant, so I turned around to get a photo of this beautiful snow goose!

Excuse the poor quality, it was at the limit of my zoom.

I then got word that Ken and the crew were back at the lark sparrow spot so I headed back there to meet up with the group.  After they came out from someones backyard looking at the lark sparrow, some lady said she thought she spotted a black-legged kittiwake, so we all ran over and eventually found this beautiful immature bird floating down the river slowly.  A great view, for me the best view I have had of a kittiwake.  I always seem to see them from above and flying far away.

Note the black collar that helps make it stand out from bonapartes gulls.

After this we headed down river to several other stops at the control gates where we had glacous and lesser black-backed gulls and then above the falls we saw the red-phalarope but missed the purple sandpiper.  We then went to Adam Beck and I had at least 5 iceland gulls, both adult and immature birds.  Other members of the group had a lesser black-backed and a Thayer's gull.  

After this we went on to the queenston overlook but were unable to see the black vultures which have been reported here on and off for the past while. 

Our last stop was Niagara on the lake, where we had a good assortment of waterfowl including white-winged scoter, horned grebe, common loon and also a little gull after most of the group had left.  No photos though, everything was too far.

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