In the near future (next 1-2 weeks) I will be traveling up north, maybe making it as far as Thunder Bay, to search for northern species and a couple of rarities. If anyone lives anywhere between North Bay and Thunder Bay either along the HWY 11 route, or along the route near the great lakes (Sault Ste. Marie route) and would be willing to provide me with a place to stay for a night, I would be more than grateful! Sure beats sleeping in my car.
Anyways, back to birding. On Thursday, I headed to the Niagara River with Maggie Macpherson, a friend and former Guelphite who is now doing a Ph.D at Tulane University in New Orleans. She was visiting Guelph for a few days so we decided to check out the gulls along the Niagara River.
Unfortunately it rained pretty steadily for most of the morning. We spent a bit of time checking out the flocks of Bonaparte's Gulls near Fort Erie to hopefully pick out a Little Gull (code 2), Black-legged Kittiwake (3), or Black-headed Gull (4) but the rain made it very difficult to see well and we did not find any of those rare gulls.
The whole day wasn't a waste though. We did see all the expected gulls on the river including a distant Little Gull at the Queenston docks. I was happy to pick out an adult Thayer's Gull in flight at the Adam Beck power plants as well. Lesser Black-backed, Little, Iceland, and Thayer's Gulls were all year birds, as was American Wigeon.
By early afternoon fog had rolled in along the river so we drove to Port Weller to try to find the previously reported King Eider and Snowy Owl. They were both present and Maggie was happy to get her lifer King Eider. The only year bird I got here was Northern Flicker.
Tomorrow I plan on going back to the river and searching for some of those rarities again.
By the way, for some reason the links to my big year list haven't been updating. I have fixed that, but if anyone sees any problems just let me know.