Wednesday 23 September 2015

September This and That

I have been trying to get out to bird watch as much as I can despite busy weekends and work schedule.  My Ontario year list is sitting at 250, a respectable number, but it will be tricky to reach my goal of 270 bird species by the end of the year!  Here are a few shots to show some of the spots that I have visited recently. Enjoy!

These days, the birding hotspot for me is Hamilton!  At this time of the year during suitable weather conditions (east winds), gulls and other birds out on Lake Ontario are pushed close to the shoreline.  I have visited Van Wagner's Beach twice this fall and was rewarded a couple of weeks ago with this Lesser Black-backed Gull and a couple Parasitic Jaegers!
Lesser Black-backed Gull
 Jeagers are fascinating birds. They nest high in the arctic and stop over in this part of the province on their way south.  These birds preferred method of hunting is to harass other gulls that have already caught and consumed food and force them to regurgitate it by aggressive pursuit after which they consume their prize.  They are notoriously hard to identify and they are a group that I am still struggling with!

Parasitic Jaeger (trust me on this one)
Last weekend I had the pleasure to visit my inlaws down in Stevensville north of Fort Erie.  This is one of my favourite parts of the province, partially due to the fantastic birding opportunities along the Niagara River and Lake Erie shoreline.  The birding was slow this weekend but I did find a nice little hidden gem along Thunder Bay Road that I think is called Centralia Park.  A small pull off and a short walk through a beautiful bush and you reach this small private beach.  I only saw a handful of birds, one of a which was a species #250 for my year list, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, a species that I surprisingly had missed this spring!

Another favourite spot of mine is Waverly Beach (or Erie Beach as the locals call it apparently).  This can and has been a fantastic birding spot, but not on this morning unfortunately,  I still saw a Great Egret and a Black-bellied Plover.
Scope view of the Waverly Beach
Great Egret
Black-bellied Plover
That's all for now, I am hoping to get back down to Hamilton again this weekend at least for a few hours.

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