Friday 18 December 2020

The Barrow's Goldeneye

This morning I was able to get out for a bit of birding.  My gracious wife assumed the baby duties for a few hours while I drove up to Owen Sound to see the long returning Barrow's Goldeneye.  This is a rare species to Ontario, but an obliging male bird has been returning to Owen Sound harbour for the past few years!

After some searching, I discovered the bird on the east side of the harbour.  Below are a few of my favourites - not too bad for being fairly heavily cropped! This is when the 26.2 Mega Pixel sensor shows its worth, since you can crop in while retaining much detail!  I am starting to figure out how to optimize the performance of the Fuji XF 100-400mm, and am quite pleased with it.

He caught a mussel!

Sunday 6 December 2020

Niagara River Gulling

I was down in Niagara for a few days and decided to do a quick circuit from Fort Erie to Queenston to look for gulls and other water birds.  Overall the number of gulls were very low along the river, with the exception of large numbers above the falls.  Adam Beck and the Whirlpool did not yield many gulls at all!  Highlights were 3 Little Gulls above the falls, a Thayer's Gull at Adam Beck, and the Black Vultures at the usual spot in Lewiston NY, viewed from the Queenston overlook.  No Fish Crows in Fort Erie this time, despite some effort looking! 

Below are a few of the shots I got.  Given the terrible lighting and snow/rain all day, not too shabby!

Bufflehead trio

Common Merganser

Common Goldeneye

Bonaparte's Gulls

I enjoyed photographing gulls flying in and out of the mist below the Horseshoe Falls.  The cascading water creates a dramatic effect! 

My reward for sifting through hundreds of Bonaparte's Gulls was this Little Gull (small bird dead centre - note the pale wingtips protruding near the tail). About the same size as a pigeon, and half the weight, this diminutive species is the world's smallest gull. For me, the Little Gull has always been synonymous with the Niagara River, ever since I saw my first way back in 2004, and it is still a thrill to pick one out from amongst thousands of Bonaparte's Gulls.

Although tough to pick out when seen from above (as shown in the photo above), when the underside of the wing is exposed, the dark feathering of this adult bird shows at quite a distance!

Thayer's Gull at Adam Beck 

And a bonus Red-tailed Hawk from the other day!