On the Sunday of the New Year's Day weekend, Jean and I birded Port Weller East and West. The small marina nestled between the birding hot spots of Jones Beach and the East Spit is a hot spot itself. There were a few species of waterfowl found. Canvasback (1), Redhead (1), Common Goldeneye (1) and Red-breasted Merganser (14) seen during the Niagara Falls CBC were possible choices but it was the Common Loon that stood out this day.
|Common Loon, January 3, #41 Niagara 2016|
Working 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM during the work week is always a challenge. There is little light in the morning and late afternoon. The nearby 5th Avenue fields were promising. Snowy Owl and Short-eared Owls had been observed in this area recently. No Snowy Owl Monday evening but Jean and I observed one Short-eared Owl in flight.
Immediately after work, I returned to the 5th Avenue fields for a Snowy Owl tick. There were eight cars parked along the road in west St. Catharines. A good sign that something was there. A male Snowy Owl, sitting on top of a clump of earth, was easily spotted in the ploughed field.
|Snowy Owl, January 2, #36 Niagara 2016|
The plan was to go to Lake Moodie in Thorold to find one of the species observed by our friend John Black the day before. Traffic along the road had me bypass the lake and use the Decew Heritage House parking area as turnaround. No need to to go back. An adult Bald Eagle flying from Lake Gibson and up the hydro channel, right in front of me, was an easy tick. I did not even have to get out of the car.
Jean needed the car on Thursday so she picked me up at the end of the work day and we headed to Lake Moodie with our spotting scope. Ignoring Mallard and Canada Goose, my selection was not limited. Hooded Merganser, Redhead, American Wigeon (1), Canvasback, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, American Black Duck, Ring-necked Duck, Gadwall and Common Merganser were present on the hydro reservoir. The lone male American Wigeon was the bird of the day with an American Coot being a close second.
I returned to Lake Moodie by myself at the end of the work week. If there was any new species, they would have to stay off the year list until Jean saw them. I scanned the ducks until I found my quarry. Ring-necked Duck for the eighth day of the challenge.
The weekend is promising. No rush on Saturday and Sunday is the annual MNR Waterfowl Count.