Saturday 14 October 2017

Hard-Pressed in Hamilton

Today I joined Owen and a couple other young birders for a few hours of birding along the Hamilton waterfront. The winds were not on our side, and we saw NO pelagic birds, however there were a few quality birds to be seen, but we had to work hard for them!

We started at Windermere Basin, where sparrows, especially White-throated, were plentiful.

Other sparrows included White-crowned, Song, Dark-eyed Junco, American Tree, and an Eastern Towhee.

We couldn't find the Hudsonian Godwit, but there were a few shorebirds to be found such as both the yellowlegs, a group of peeps, and three Black-bellied Plover.

Ducks were fairly easy to find, the most common being Green-winged Teal and Northern Shoveler. Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Wood Duck, Ruddy Duck, and Northern Pintail were also present, although in smaller numbers.

We checked out Van Wagner's beach after, but the only thing of note here were Surf Scoters and a Peregrine Falcon! If the winds has been blowing the right way, I'm sure we would have seen something!

The canal was next, but other than a Merlin is was pretty quiet. The ever present Double-crested Cormorant was there as well.

The others had to go grab a jacket that was forgotten at Windermere, so my dad and I waited in the canal parking lot for them to come back so we could got to our next destination. After about 5 minutes I got a text that said "There is a Brant here!"

After my dad and I got to the spot, we were told that the Brant was hiding, so we began looking for a vantage point to spot it. After some struggle (which is a story for another time) we finally saw it. It was a lifer for me, and my 250th bird this year in Ontario. Jeremy is only beating me by 80-ish species :-)

Also present was a few pigeons. This is actually the first time I've bothered to photograph them! I guess you could call it a photographic lifer!

The same ducks as earlier were there, including this (blurry) Gadwall.

Just before we said our good-byes, this Leopard Frog was spotted by Owen. They are my favourite species of frog!

Although it was a very slow day, the "Great Brant Chase" (again, a story for another time...maybe in six months) made up for it. Who said birding can't be exciting?!?!

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