The second weekend of my challenge and we birded the area above the Falls from the Engineerium to the Control Gates. Gulls and waterfowl abound along this section of the Niagara River and there are times where you will run into birders you know, which happened at the Control Gates. I was not planning to stop at the overlook near the Hydro control structure but I'm glad I did. Observing the gulls standing on a shoal in the middle of the river was Henrique, his mum Deb and James. Henrique got on some gulls he observed before our arrival. Thanks to the young OFO birder, Lesser Black-backed Gull (#51) and Glaucous Gull (#52) were added to the year list. Glaucous Gull is absent from our 2015 lists and seemed an obvious pick for the bird of the day.
Jean and I assisted with the annual MNRF waterfowl count. This year our group covered the Lake Ontario shoreline from Fifty Point Rd in Grimsby to Vineland. Rain and mist certainly made it difficult to observe and count ducks. Nine species of waterfowl and one Donald Trump sign were observed but the species chosen for this day was Horned Grebe.
|Long-tailed Duck, Niagara, January 10, 2016 |
The start of another work week and another short drive to Lake Moodie at the end of the day. A much smaller number of waterfowl on the lake but I was happy walking away with the observation of a Redhead.
Choices were limited during a quick stop at the marina in Port Dalhousie. Bufflehead added to the list.
For the next two days I had no time to search for a bird after work. My mom's birthday was on Thursday and we celebrated with dinner Wednesday evening. A Northern Cardinal spotted at the backyard feeder in the morning was ticked as the bird of the day.
Yes, it was the 54-40 Unplugged concert Thursday evening that had us go out for the birthday dinner the day before and also left me burning Ring-billed Gull sooner than expected.
A nice find on Friday. While tossing some garbage in the bin at work, I observed a Northern Mockingbird pop up from the regional drainage ditch near the building and perch itself on a tree branch. Thanks for that but the species remains off the year list until both Jean and I see one. We listers are a weird bunch.
A drive down the QEW to search for a Fish Crow amongst many almost identical American Crows in Fort Erie. Over one hundred of them! Jean and I sat in our car listening intently for a nasal caw from the crows in the field to our left and the crows in the trees to our right. We heard two and one was perched in a nearby tree. Hairy Woodpecker and Tundra Swan were also added to the Niagara year list but Fish Crow was the bird of the day.
|Fish Crow, January 16, #57 for Niagara|
Saturday evening I received a tip of a Common Raven and Rough-legged Hawk sighting in Wainfleet. Both species along with two Northern Harriers were observed along the same stretch of
road just east of the section we cover for the Port Colborne CBC. Jean and I knew the area well and while searching for another corvid for my Bird-A-Day list, we could scout out the Wainfleet Bog and nearby fields for an owl prowl we will be leading in late February.
No owls and and we dipped on the tip species. Blowing snow may have contributed to the lack of bird activity. While scanning the fields, we found a flock of Horned Larks.
But a better bird for this day was the Great Blue Heron spotted in the open water of a ditch along the side of the road.
|Great Blue Heron, January 17, #61 for Niagara|
With the weekend concluded, I had to give some thought to my birding spots over the next few days.