Last week-end, on Sunday, November 28th, I tried once again, I really, really did, to be amazed by the wonders of Niagara gulls, but alas, they just don't rock my world. Maybe that's why it's taken me almost a week to come clean and post my update on the trip.
Jean: please forgive me! I truly salute you for your patience and tenacity in deciphering these nasty suckers as they congregate by the thousands at this time of year in the Niagara River Corridor:
See what I mean??
Yup, there's a really rare gull out there on the rocks, can you not see it?? As if....
In spite of my negative attitude, a good time was had by all, as members of both the Pickering and Durham Region Naturalists travelled to Niagara Falls for our annual gull outing! A Bald Eagle on the wing by the Burlington Skyway Bridge was an early treat for us on the drive down, as well as several Red-tailed Hawks perched in trees along the highway.
We began our day in the Dufferin Islands area and were immediately greeted by a Belted Kingfisher and Golden-crowned Kinglets by the parking lot:
The waters and concrete barriers were carefully inspected for rare birds amongst the Herring and Ring-billed Gulls...
...and a Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen:
...as was a Great Black-backed Gull is anyone feeling my pain yet?:
I rejoiced when, amongst some beautiful Gadwall, several Hooded Mergansers were seen on our way back to our cars:
Our next stop was in the residential area of Chippawa for reliable feeder birds, including Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, and a Tufted Titmouse, secretly my non-gull target bird (and a year bird, no less!) for the day, whoohooo!!
From there we went to the "Engineerium" building and our best birds here, albeit far off in the distance grrrr, were Bonaparte's and Little Gulls, American Wigeons, Buffleheads, and Goldeneyes. Here's a group shot of the gang, we're all still smiling in fact we've all been blinded by the whiteness of so many gulls:
By now we had all heard the rumours of an unexpected roosting Eastern Screech Owl from the OFO gang, so we dashed off to the parking lot at the Whirlpool to see this red morph owl, a lifer for several of the group, what a thrill!
Our final stop in the Niagara area was at the Sir Adam Beck Overlook, adding an Iceland Gull to our day list, I challenge you to find it below- hah!
Look carefully, don't be discouraged...
...it's the one that's dead centre, what's wrong with you??
Is the juice worth the squeeze? I DON'T THINK SO, have I made my point??
We didn't bother to chase the reported California Gull up the road, instead opting to head home, stopping in at Gray's Road in Stoney Creek/Hamilton to see a female Surf Scoter, as well as White-winged Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, and Red-breasted Mergansers out on the lake at dusk.
Despite my snarkiness in this post, I did have a great time that day, and my species tally for the day was thirty-four, with the Tufted Titmouse and Eastern Screech Owl as my personal highlights.
As for gulls? I'm admittedly just too lazy to sift through them all! Tomorrow I'm back to my kind of birding, as I look forward to re-visiting the lakeshore at the west end of Toronto.