Thursday, 10 November 2011

Razorbill in Niagara

This morning while in class, I got a text from Brett Fried telling me to go get the Razorbill. I had been planning to go to Kingston on Friday, so I figured he meant that the Ottawa bird was back (Ottawa is only 1.5 hours from Kingston!). I checked my email and saw that Joshua Cain Stiller had found a Razorbill at the mouth of the Niagara River from the New York side on November 8. That was good enough for me, so Dave Bell and I cut our classes short and booked it on down to Niagara.

It only took about 15 minutes of scanning before I located the bird in flight near the border. It ended up flying into Ontario and landed on the water for a few minutes (so I can technically count it for both New York and Ontario). The bird dove a few times, then was gone. We ended up viewing it for about 10 minutes. A link to my Ontbirds post: http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/ONTB.html#1320971640

This was a new Ontario bird for me - #331 and my 3rd new Ontario bird in the past month (the previous two being Purple Gallinule and Red Phalarope).

 By the time Dave had got the cameras, the bird was no longer in flight and would have been nothing but a distant speck in our viewfinders. A few minutes later it was gone, so no photos were obtained.

We did however, see many Red-throated Loons, such as this juvie:

juv. Red-throated Loon - Niagara-on-the-lake

This tiny black speck is actually a dark morph Pomarine Jaeger, a bird seen harassing gulls. It was still present when we left. It might be some dust on my sensor, but I'm pretty sure this is the jaeger!
Pomarine Jaeger - Niagara-on-the-lake

We also spent some time near Queenston searching for the reported Franklin's Gull. No luck there, of course! This has been my nemesis bird for a few years, and I still haven't seen one anywhere. We did have this juvenile Common Loon swam right up to us, almost as if it was begging for us to throw it a fish or something. Also seen from here was a nice adult Little Gull. Dave had a Thayer's Gull in flight, but I didn't get on it.

juv Common Loon - Queenston docks



Our final stop was 50 Point CA, right at sunset. We scrambled over some rocks, unsuccessfully searching for Purple Sandpipers (it would have been a lifer for Dave).

Dave at 50 Point CA

I was kind of proud of myself as we left, since I saw what I thought was an owl, traveling low over a brushy field well after the sun had set. I still don't know how I saw it! Anyways, Dave and I got out, and I found it acting very much like a Short-eared Owl, sitting near the top of a shrubby tree. The ear tufts gave it away as a Great Horned Owl, though!

1 comment:

  1. Ontario lifer for Dave*

    Also there's a new bird to distract you from Kingston - Wheatear in Sundridge...

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