Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November 28-30, 2009 Birding the Niagara Region

My annual fall tour to Niagara for gulls, water birds and rarities was again very successful. Enroute we observed a flock of 100+ Bohemian Waxwings near Kaladar, 1 Northern Shrike at Tweed and the rarest bird of the trip was the Phainopepla that has been present in Brampton since early November. Only 15 minutes off our route the decisobn to go was easy to make. Appon arriving we were fortunate to meet a few birders who were already watching it as it fed in a backyard. We had excellent views and Ben took a few photos. This represents the second record for Canada, the first found also in southern Ontario in the of 1975/76. A great start to the tour! The gull numbers along the Niagara River were excellent with 1000's of gulls feeding and roosting. With nice weather conditions we were able to find 9 species including Little, Thayer's, Glaucous, Lesser black-backed and Iceland. The evening flyby at Niagara-on-the-Lake was interesting with 6000+ Bonaparte's on Nov.28th and 1600+ on Nov. 29th. Little Gulls were observed both times, 2 Nov. 28, and 3 on Nov. 29th. Also of interest was a breeding plumage Bonaparte's Gull (with complete black hood) on November 28th observed during the flyby and a leucistic Bonaparte's on November 29th above the falls. Water birds along the Niagara were low but at Stoney Creek: Gray's Road, Greens Road and Fruitland Roads there were thousands of Long-tailed ducks along with White-winged, Black, and surf Scoters, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and Red-breasted Mergansers. The feeders in Chippawa had a nice variety of species including, Tufted titmouse and Red-bellied woodpeckers. Overall another fun time along the Niagara.

The Phainopepla sits quietly in an urban backyard as many watch their "lifer" Phainopepla!.

A second record for Canada, the Phainopepla normally occurs in southwest United States.

A rainbow over the falls.

The old barge area can sometimes be good for Purple sandpipers.

Just above the falls a Little Gulls was observed in a swirling flock of Bonaparte's Gull.

Thousands of gulls were present above the falls.

Gull watching requires lots of patience ! Birders are always looking for that different one in the flock!

1 comment:

nishiki_85 said...

Glad to hear you had a good weekend in the Niagara Region. The weather could not have been nicer.