Monday 9 December 2019

The Niagara River Circuit

This Saturday I decided to head down to the Niagara River with a couple of friends for the gull pilgrimage.  My main target was Black-headed Gull along with some of the other goodies like Little Gull and white-winged gulls.  I enjoy the challenge of sorting through thousands of mostly similar looking birds to find the odd one out.  At the Whirlpool some folks who got there before us did the finding for us.  The Black-headed Gull is superficially similar to the numerous Bonaparte's Gulls but is slightly larger with wing and back colouration that is ever so slightly lighter than that species, and the clincher is the black colouration on the underside of the wing.  This is a European species that shows up in this part of Canada very rarely, although likely this same adult bird has been found annually on the river for several years. 

Black-headed Gull (top middle bird) with Bonaparte's Gull

Black-headed Gull - note the black under the wing
 While in Niagara we also stopped by to see the Black Vultures across the river in Lewiston NY (viewed from the Queenston overlook).  They were keeping warm on the usual church chimney.

We stopped above the falls and had 2 Little Gulls.  The biggest surprise was this crazy deer marooned out on an island right above the falls!  It must have swam out there and somehow made it to the island.  It is likely to either perish on the island or go for a ride over the falls...

As always, a great time on the river and I can't wait to spend some more time birding the area over the Christmas break.

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