OFO Niagara Field Trip Report

Ron Tozer rtozer at vianet.on.ca
Sun Nov 30 23:35:48 EST 2003

About 50 Ontario Field Ornithologists members enjoyed a fine day of birding
along the Niagara River today (Sunday). The trip began at
Niagara-on-the-Lake, where highlights were several Red-throated Loons and a
Red-necked Grebe. Then Sir Adam Beck produced great views of Iceland Gulls,
an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and an adult Nelson's Gull (Glaucous x
Herring hybrid).

The group proceeded upriver to the greenhouse parking lot above the falls,
and enjoyed the hundreds of perched and flying gulls there, including two or
three adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A walk around the hydro building to
see the Brant also resulted in Jean Iron spotting a Purple Sandpiper on a
small island upstream from the barge. This bird was closer than is usual for
the species at this location, and it was enthusiastically viewed by

After braving gale-force winds near the control gates while scoping hundreds
of gulls and ducks, the group proceeded back downriver to the Whirlpool.
During much scanning of wheeling Bonaparte's Gulls, we were able to pick out
an adult winter Little Gull and a Bonaparte's Gull with a complete black
hood there. Then we went back to Sir Adam Beck where everybody got wonderful
views of the adult California Gull, and some noted an apparent second winter
Thayer's Gull. We made a quick trip back to Whirlpool to look for the
Black-headed Gull found by Kevin McLaughlin, but had to settle for the
"thrill of the chase" on that one. We had found nine gull species for the
day, but this would not be our tenth.

Later at Sir Adam Beck again, some were fortunate to see a second winter
Lesser Black-backed Gull. In late afternoon, the last intrepid members of
the group viewed the flypast of gulls at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Over ten
thousand Bonaparte's Gulls flying downriver to roost on Lake Ontario were
accompanied by three Little Gulls.

On behalf of Jean Iron and myself, I would like to thank all the trip
participants for contributing to a very enjoyable day on the river. We
really appreciated the assistance from several more experienced observers
who provided views through their scopes and helped others in seeing and
identifying the gulls. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!

The Niagara River runs between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Please consult a
road map for locations mentioned in this report.

Ron Tozer
rtozer at vianent.on.ca  

Ron Tozer <rtozer at vianet.on.ca>

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