Sunday, 8 September 2013

Lake watching and a bonus Western Kingbird in Hamilton

I`ll post the last photos from last Monday at Point Pelee, but in the meantime I wanted to get some photos up from birding in the Hamilton area today.

Laura and I were based out of my parent`s place in Cambridge for the weekend, with plans to head back to Schomberg at some point. Around noon, I noticed that Cheryl Edgecombe had posted on Ontbirds about the lakewatching action down at Van Wagner`s beach in Hamilton. Since I hadn`t done any "jaegering" yet this autumn (apart from a surprise Parastic Jaeger at Pelee in August), I was eager to head down to the lake, and so Laura and I visited Hamilton on our way back (it is only somewhat out of the way!).

A large contingent of birders had already gathered at the west end of Lake Ontario including many familiar faces, so truthfully a lot more socializing was done than jaegering. However Cheryl Edgecombe, Barb Charlton, and Rob Dobos were manning the scopes throughout the afternoon and calling out good birds, so I still was able to see a handful of jaegers and a few distant Sabine's Gulls. Laura got on two jaegers with the scope at one point and watched them chase each other for a bit - a first for her. The only jaegers I identified were two Parasitics, though a couple of Pomarines had been seen throughout the day.

Suddenly news broke that the Western Kingbird in south Hamilton had been re-found. This bird was originally discovered by Dave Don on Friday afternoon but only a few birders were able to see it before dark and it was not re-found the following day. We all assumed that it had disappeared - often Westerns are one day wonders this early in the autumn.

About 20 birders converged on the scene 15 minutes later and we walked up and down the trail where it had been seen. After about an hour we hadn't had any luck and many were heading home. A single Eastern Kingbird kept appearing - it had apparently been keeping close company with the Western - but its paler, yellower friend failed to show.

Eastern Kingbird - Hamilton, ON

A bunch of us were standing around, joking at one point, not really expecting the Western Kingbird to show up. As I was making fun of Brett Fried at one point, he looked up and announced that the kingbird was flying across the trail!

Western Kingbird - Hamilton, ON

We all got on it, had brief looks, and the bird continued on further down the path. Luckily it returned and for next 45 minutes or so we all enjoyed great looks at this western rarity, illuminated perfectly by the sun, slowing going down.

Western Kingbird - Hamilton, ON

Occasionally it regurgitated what looks like pits from a fruit of some sort. Thoughts?

This was a lifer for some and a new Hamilton bird for most, including myself. It was a great experience to share the bird with many good friends, some who I hadn't seen in quite some time.


  1. Right on. Good to see you yesterday. Keep up the reports on your blog!

  2. Likewise, Len! Good to run into you there.