[Ontbirds] Razorbill, Franklin's Gull, Black Vultures, White-winged Crossbills - Niagara River
Willie D'Anna and Betsy Potter
dannapotter at roadrunner.com
Sat Nov 12 18:37:50 EST 2011
Quite a day! We started at Fort Niagara where we paid our $10 to go into
the old fort to look out onto Lake Ontario and the mouth of the Niagara
River. I was confident, as the RAZORBILL had been seen only about 40
minutes earlier, and we had a group of eight birders with scopes, which
should have really improved our odds of finding it. But after at least an
hour of looking, longer for some of us, there was no Razorbill, and I was
ready to move on. That's when Betsy spotted it, way out where the greenish
water from the river met the bluish water of the lake (perhaps 500 yards).
None of us could find it in the next few seconds but it did not matter, as
Betsy watched it lift off, fly directly toward us, and land quite close.
For the next 20 minutes, the bird dove constantly, staying up for only one
second at a time, which meant that only one or two people would see it at a
time. Finally, it paused to just sit for a couple of minutes, allowing all
to get good scope views. Then, it flew back out to where the green water
met the blue water. While searching for the Razorbill, we had three or four
flocks of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS (50+ individuals), flying west along the
lake, as well as a couple of flocks of SNOW BUNTINGS.
Next, it was on to Artpark, with a few different birders tagging along. As
has been our experience with this bird, the FRANKLIN'S GULL was easy to see
only 150 yards or so from the parking lot, often being the closest gull to
us. It was here that we became very thankful that the McBrians from Long
Island had joined us, as Michael spotted three BLACK VULTURES standing on
the waters edge, across the river from us in Ontario. After about 15
minutes, the vultures got up and flew over to the NY side, where we
eventually lost them.
Our last stop was at the Lewiston boat ramp, where Michael McBrian came
through again, spotting an adult LITTLE GULL.
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