Friday 23 November 2012

Gulling this weekend

Brandon did a post on his blog recently about setting the gull "world record' at the Niagara River, a feat that could very much be in reach this autumn/early winter. The record currently stands at 14 species in one day, recorded in Ontario "back in the day", and matched by birders in Newfoundland in 2010. Last year I had a day that was close to tying the record, when Brett Fried, Reuven Martin and I spent December 4 at the river. We were off to a good start in the morning, seeing a California Gull above the falls. Along with the 4 common species as well as Lesser Black-backed, we were up to 6 species. Down at Adam Beck we added Thayer's and Iceland Gull, giving us 8. The Black-legged Kittiwake made an appearance for us at the Whirlpool soon after, so we were sitting pretty with 9! Number 10 was the big rarity of the day, a Slaty-backed Gull which had been found previously by Kevin McLaughlin. Also nearby was our first Glaucous Gulls of the day, so we had 11!

Black-legged Kittiwake - December 4, 2011

The Franklin's Gull was roosting at its usual place, upriver of Adam Beck. In late afternoon, with 12 species already seen for the day, we headed to Niagara-on-the-lake for Little Gull. We got some right away, but despite our best efforts we weren't lucky enough to have a Black-headed, Ross's, Laughing, or Sabine's fly by, so 13 it was.

This weekend I will be down at the river for both days. There are currently no potential year-birds anywhere in the province to chase (there haven't been in weeks!) so we'll just have to find something rare on the river! I am really hoping that the Ross's Gull, found during Sandy, is hanging around.

Saturday I will be joining the K-W Field Naturalists on their annual gull trip, and Sunday I will be accompanying the University of Guelph wildlife club on their annual trip. Fingers crossed for a great weekend of gulling!

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