[Ontbirds] Harlequin Duck, Barrow's X Goldeneye hybrid, others Niagara River

Willie D'Anna & Betsy Potter dannapotter at wzrd.com
Sat Jan 27 20:42:41 EST 2007

Though not as well publicized as its gull-watching, the Niagara River can be
just as outstanding for ducks.  Between the ice boom at the river's source
(about a mile south of the Peace Bridge between Buffalo and Fort Erie) and
the southern tip of Grand Island, there were multi-thousands of ducks today.
Between the Peace Bridge and the ice boom (a long chain of RR ties between
Ontario and NY), it was particularly impressive with large flocks of ducks
constantly flying by as thousands drifted and fed on the water.  In this
area I had three brief views of a HARLEQUIN DUCK which appeared to be an
adult male.  Jim Pawlicki had a male hybrid COMMON GOLDENEYE X HOODED
MERGANSER and a probable female BARROW'S GOLDENEYE.  There are several areas
to park and look from on the Fort Erie side.  Perhaps the best spot for
seeing the spectacle is the parking area directly across the street from the
old fort.  We had all three of the above from there and also had an adult
PEREGRINE carrying what appeared to be a Bufflehead.  This bird flew to and
landed on the Peace Bridge where it ate its meal.  Later we had a juvenile
PEREGRINE put on an amazing show, coming very close to nailing several ducks
before they dropped into the water just beyond the reach of its talons.
This bird then got into it with the previously sighted adult for more fun
and excitement.  I had a third PEREGRINE from the Buffalo side at the foot
of Hertel Avenue (possibly the same individual), appearing to go after
Bonaparte's Gulls.  The most abundant birds in the area were Bufflehead,
Goldeneye, Common Merganser, and Greater Scaup with many thousands of each

One adult BALD EAGLE was perched among the cormorant nests on Strawberry
Island (a little upriver from Grand Island).  Above Niagara Falls, there
were lots of large gulls though we arrived a little late for much study.
the power plants from the Adam Beck overlook, we could only come up with one
ICELAND and one second-basic THAYER'S GULL among the relatively few large
gulls here.  There are still many thousands of BONAPARTE'S GULLS on the
river - in the Buffalo-Fort Erie area and the Lewiston-Queenston area.

Good birding!
Willie D'Anna
Betsy Potter
Wilson, NY
dannapotter at wzrd.com

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