[Ontbirds] adult male Harlequin Duck on Thames River in London

Dave Martin damartin at xplornet.com
Wed Feb 11 18:54:46 EST 2015

The stunning adult male Harlequin Duck found on Feb 10 by Robin Brown on 
the Thames River in London  was present again today [Feb 11].

Yesterday, the bird  was associating with a small group of Common 
Goldeneye about 200 metres downstream from Wonderland Road bridge.

Late this morning Robin Brown and Chris Law found the bird associating 
with Common Goldeneyes on the set of rapids near the old, yellow brick 
pump house just east [upstream] of Storybook Gardens in Springbank Park. 
The flock got spooked and flew up with some birds heading downstream and 
some upstream.

Various birders spent the next couple of hours trying to refind the 
Harlequin all the way from the sewage treatment plant outlet in Greenway 
Park [several km upstream] to the Boler Road bridge [a couple of km 
downstream]. We ran into Tom Bolohan around 3 pm who had just seen the 
bird at the rapids where it was first found late this morning. It was 
still present when we got to it and so we watched the bird for about an 
hour until the flock was eventually spooked by a passing dog and its 
walker. The birds headed upstream out of sight.

 From the bird's movements it appears that it favours the part of the 
river with the rapids and will return there after some time if it and 
its associates are spooked by walkers.

But, there are 100s if not 1000s of geese and ducks along the Thames 
River including lots of Mallard, Goldeneye and Blacks and a few of or 
singles of Pintail, Gadwall, Redhead, Canvasback, Hooded and Common 
Mergansers and Bufflehead. Yesterday at least 1 Red-necked Grebe and 2 
Horned Grebes were reported by various birders posting to eBirds. So, 
while you should check all goldeneye flocks carefully, the Harlequin 
could start associating with other species.

The best strategy would be to get to the area where the rapids are and 
then move upstream and downstream.

 From Hwy 401 or Hwy 402 exit as described in Chris Law's Feb 11 post 
or, alternately, exit off Hwy 402 at Wonderland Road and drive north a 
long way until you reach Springbank Drive [the next major road after 
Commissioners]. Turn left / west and drive for a few km to the main 
entrance [large gates] to Springbank Park. Once inside  the park you 
will have several choices but make your way to Storybook Gardens where 
there are large parking lots. Park close to the river. Walk towards the 
river to find a wide asphalt path that is usually cleared of snow. Walk 
east / upstream until you almost get to a large yellow brick building 
which is the old pumphouse. Start searching once you reach the rapids by 
looking through the trees at the river. On the east side of the 
pumphouse you can walk to a lookout over the river and get a good view 
for several 100 metres both up and downstream.

Dave Martin and Linda Wladarski
and Hugh, Betsy and Garth Casbourn

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