Thursday, 21 February 2013

Birding This Weekend - First ever overnight birding trip!

     Hi, and welcome to my blog! Seeing as this is my first ever blog post, I figure I'll write about my first ever overnight birding adventure a few days ago! I've been birding every day in Essex County since I started last year, but this weekend I visited my friend +Josh Vandermeulen in Cambridge (many thanks to him and his family for letting me stay there) and we did a heck of a lot of birding (and driving) between Sunday, Feb. 17 and Monday, Feb. 18, adding a total of 10 species to my life list!
     On Sunday, I met up with Josh in the morning and we headed to Niagara then Hamilton, where we stopped at a number of great birding hot spots. I particularly loved seeing the male breeding plumage King Eider, hundreds of Long-tailed Ducks, high numbers of white northern gulls and thousands of gulls in general (even though most were too far away to identify). I heard Niagara Falls is one of the best places in North America to view gulls, and I quickly found out why!

Hilights, divided by location (bold font are new to my life list):

Sunday, February 17:

1. Niagara - Port Weller East Pier
  Red-shouldered Hawk - 1
  King Eider - 1
  Double-crested Cormorant - 73

2. Niagara - Dufferin Islands
  California Gull! - 1
  Iceland Gull - 2
  Belted Kingfisher - 1
  gulls - 3000+

3. Niagara Falls - Adam Beck Power Station (this spot is neat because it gives viewers a chance to look down at the top side of gulls flying!)
  Glaucous Gull - 1
  Iceland Gull - 6
  Thayer's Gull - 1

4. Niagara - Queenston
  Turkey Vultures - 4 flying over landfill in Lewiston, NY, visible from Queenston Heights
  Long-tailed Ducks - 200+  (photo on right)
  Bonaparte's Gull - 100+
  Glaucous Gull - 15+
  Iceland Gull - 30+
  gulls - 4000+

5. Niagara - St. Catherine's - 5th Ave.
  Snowy Owl - 1 (very white plumage: adult male. I unsuccessfully spent many hours looking for these in Essex & Kent Counties) Here is a photo:

6. Hamilton - Red Hill Creek
  Black-crowned Night-heron - 4
  Ruddy Duck - 1
  ducks - 10 different species!

Monday, February 18:

1. Durham - Kendal - Langstaff Rd.
  Townsend's Solitaire - 1
  Pileated Woodpecker - 1
  Evening Grosbeak - 8

2. Northumberland - Garden Hill - Hwy 9
  Trumpeter Swan - 4  (Photo on right)

3. Durham - Pickering - Frenchman's Bay
  Snow Goose - 2 (1 'Blue Goose' and 1 first-year)
  Snowy Owl - 1 (heavily barred: probably young female. Very different from yesterday's. Photo below, being mobbed by an American Crow)
  Trumpeter Swan - 10
  Cackling Goose - 1

4. Wellington - Puslinch - Ellis Rd.
  Harris's Sparrow - 1  (Photo below)
  Bohemian Waxwing - 15

     Wow, what a weekend of birding! Four new life birds Sunday and six new life birds Monday! I haven't added this many birds to my life list in such a short time since my first couple months of birding(which was not really that long ago...)! It's funny that one of the only birds I planned to add to my life list this weekend was a Barred Owl, and due to the many rare birds in the area, we did not even bother looking for one! Needless to say, I do not feel like I missed out by not seeing a Barred Owl this weekend. That's what next time is for! I cannot wait to go back and see more of the great birding this area has to offer. I'm sure most of the awesome birding and species this weekend would not have been possible had Josh not shown me around and let me stay with him, so here's another big thanks to Josh! I look forward to my next visit to that area!

Well, there is my first blog. Hopefully it saves so I do not have to rewrite it! Enjoy.


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