Sunday, 8 December 2013

A half day of birding in Hamilton/Niagara

I am currently in a motel in Thunder Bay. Apparently the hummingbird decided that 89 days was a long enough stay. Enough said!


On Friday I headed down to one of my favorite haunts, the Hamilton Study Area. A Common Eider had been found by Kevin McLaughlin several days prior and I was hoping to have a good look at it since my only previous Common Eider sighting in Ontario was a flyby at Netitishi last autumn.

I arrived at 50 Point in mid morning and immediately noticed Tyler Hoar and a photographer/birder who introduced himself as Claude King. Sure enough, the eider was present, resting just a few dozen meters offshore of the west side of the harbour.

Claude and I walked all the way around the harbour to get closer for photos, but of course by the time we arrived the bird had drifted back to our original position. However while walking there, we crossed paths with this VERY tame raccoon.

Unfortunately the raccoon wasn't looking too hot and would sit on the ground with its eyes closed for most of the time...

It eventually started following me around so Claude and I had to walk briskly to get away from it...

After walking back around to the east side of the harbour, we quickly relocated the Common Eider and so I climbed down onto the rocks to get closer to the water's edge. Luckily the eider and its two Long-tailed Duck friends swam by at close range...

Blurred wing flap...

I finished the day by doing some birding around Niagara Falls with Tyler Hoar. The long staying Red Phalarope was no longer present, but we did see a few interesting birds below the falls including a Red-throated Loon and this Black-legged Kittiwake.

So that was pretty much it for the day! It is always a good time in that part of Ontario.


  1. I wonder if that's the worst dip ever in Ontario?

  2. The longest drive on the road network in Ontario is likely around 25 hours, starting from easternmost Ontario to remote parts of northwestern Ontario. Not likely that any significant bird would be on the ends of this route. From Alexandria to Kenora is 22h 20 min.

  3. Our drive was only 14 hours one way - I know of a few other worse twitches ;)

  4. Well hopefully it shows today, Josh! Although it does make a few of my more epic dips a little more palatable. I do know of a worse dip which involved someone driving from SW Ontario to NW Ontario for a Clark's Nutcracker that turned out to be a Northern Mockingbird.

    1. haha I told him that story when he stopped in here! and yes hopefully it hasn't kicked the bucket just yet

  5. Apparently it was -38 here on Saturday night. Needless to say I have little hope this bird will be seen again!