Friday, 9 September 2011

East winds at the beach

On September 7th I headed down to Hamilton to see what the forcasted east winds would bring to Van Wagner's beach. Due to the previous evening's festivities I was unable to drag myself out of bed til about 9:00, but eventually I was on my way and arrived at the beach around 10:00.

A few other birders were already there scanning the lake, including David Bell from Guelph and his girlfriend, as well as Brett Fried and Erika Hentsch. We spent some time scanning and eventually had less than satisfactory views of distant jaegers. Eventually, one pair came from the north close enough to identify as a Long-tailed and a Parasitic.

Later in the afternoon we checked out Windermere basin and the Red Hill stormwater pond, with little to show for it. A few Stilt sandpipers were the only noteworthy thing (they were at Red Hill).

The others left to go back home, so I returned to Van Wagner's for a few more hours in the afternoon. The rain had finally stopped which was nice, and we were rewarded with many jaegers. The few that came close enough to identify were all Parasitic. Brandon Holden had a nice spot with a Sabine's Gull not too far out that I watched briefly.

Other birds seen in the afternoon were 3 seperate sightings of Black Terns, small flocks of sanderlings, 2 Red-necked Phalaropes (flyby) at least 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (I only got on 2 of them), and a smattering of Common Terns and Bonaparte's Gulls. At one point 10 Green-winged Teal flew directly overhead. A few Purple Martins rounded out the sightings for the day!

All in all it was not a bad day at the beach. If the winds continue from the north-east, we might get larger numbers of Sabine's Gulls plus the first Black-legged Kittiwakes of the season. Stay tuned.

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