Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September 19-20, 2011 Sabine's Gulls at Deschenes Rapids

Hi Everyone
This morning, September 19th, at 10:00am, the juv. Sabine's Gull continues to feed below Deschenes Rapids spending most of its time on the Quebec side near the cement structure. It can be viewed from Britannia Point or Deschenes Lookout along the Ottawa River Parkway. The best viewing is from below Deschenes Rapids where it is feeding with a Bonaparte's Gull 20 metres from the shore.
This evening Ben and I birded the Deschenes Rapids from 5:50pm to 7:15pm and observed 2 juv. Sabine's Gulls. A lifer for Ben. One was feeding below the rapids while a second bird flew west past us at 6:50pm. We stayed till dusk and counted 16 Lesser black-backed Gulls (various ages) and 76 Great Black-backed Gulls roosting on the exposed rock flats. Also observed 2 Peregrine Falcons.
Good birding, Bruce

Directions: Deschenes Lookout is located along the Ottawa River Parkway. Britannia Point is accessible from Britannia Water Filtration Plant Deschenes Rapids: Take Champlain Bridge north and turn west on Lucerne Blvd.. Follow to Vanier Road and turn left and then right on Martel. Park at end on right and walk down trail to rapids.

The Sabine's Gull is a irregular rare fall visitor to eastern Ontario. It usually occurs every 2 or 3 years somewhere in eastern Ontario. It has been found a number of times at Lake Dore, Moses-Saunders Power Dam at Cornwall, Amherst Island, Prince Edward Point and Presqu'ile. Most records are from late August to late October and there are a couple of December records. The majority of observations are of juvenile plumage birds but there are at least 2 records of molting adults in October from Moses-Saunders Power Dam.

The Sabine's Gull below Deschenes Rapids on the Quebec side.

The Great Black-backed Gull is a regular fall migrant and numbers can reach 1000+ during November and December.

Since first discovered in Ottawa in November 1971 the Lesser Black-backed Gull is now a regular fall migrant. It occurs in small numbers from mid August to mid December with peak numbers during mid September to mid October. Note: 2 adult LBBG and 1 1st year on left.

At 6:50pm a second juvenile Sabine's Gull flew by Ben and I heading west up river. Note the distinctive "M" wing pattern.

Juvenile Sabine's and Bonaparte's Gull flying together.

It is easiest to spot in flight with its conspicuous wing pattern.

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