Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Port Tower Birding

We did not have much time for birding this past weekend but with the little time we did on Saturday, short visits to a couple of spots on Lake Ontario fulfilled the need to bird.

Our first stop at Jones Beach was short indeed. A quick check from the parking lot only produced views of ice flows along the shoreline. No birds present at all. We continued on to Port Dalhousie to view waterfowl at the Dalhousie Yacht Club Marina.

Hundreds of Mallards and a few Mute Swan, were found in their usual spot near the pier edge. I scanned the 300+ Ring-billed Gulls resting on the empty docks but no amount of looking would find another species of gull. I returned to surveying the Mallards for additional species and spotted a new bird for the year list, a male American Wigeon, #57 for 2009. Jean checked some Mallards on the path and was surprised to find a male Northern Pintail (first observation in the marina). The bird appeared to have an injured leg as it walked along the path searching for kernels of corn. The pintail returned to the water, allowing me to capture some images of it swimming with Mallards.

He was very interested in a female Mallard, bobbing his head as he swam along beside her. He also emitted a short call while bobbing his head. Will a hybrid offspring be found later this year?

14 species of bird were found during our 30 minute stop in Port. During the winter months, we will continue to visit the marina as you never know what you may find. Saturday's paper announced that the Port Tower was approved on February 27. Hopefully access to the marina area and pier will not be affected.

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