Wednesday 27 December 2017

Guthrie Gulls and Sombra Specks

Recently there have been some Greater White-fronted Geese (also known as "speckle bellies")  near Sombra. I still needed this species for the year, so I decided to try my luck at finding them. Not only would these geese be a year bird, but also they would be the final addition to my 2017 Ontario (regular) goose list!

Once we arrived along the St. Clair River, we noticed a large congregation of gulls in Guthrie Park. We pulled over, and I started to scope them out. I was hoping to maybe find an Iceland Gull, which was another species that I had yet to see in 2017. It wasn't long until I found what appears to be a second cycle individual on an ice floe among some Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls.

Also present were four adult Glaucous Gulls. Surprisingly, I couldn't find an immature bird!

A Lesser Black-backed Gull made a quick flyby, but their larger counterpart, the Great Black-backed Gull were a little more friendly for us observers.

We continued towards Sombra, along the way seeing more Herring Gulls, Long-tailed Ducks, Common Goldeneye, and Red-breasted Mergansers.

We arrived on Baseline Road about 20 minutes before sunset. We didn't get far until we saw the first group of Canada Geese. I figured that the speckle bellies may be among them, so I quickly got the scope out and set it up on them. Much to my surprise, the first birds I put it on were two Greater White-fronted Geese!

Somewhere in there...

I later found out from Steve Charbonneau that these birds actually represent a first for the Wallaceburg Christmas Bird Count. Pretty exciting!

On the way home, we stopped for a few minutes at the Sombra solar farm, hoping for Short-eared Owls. All we could find were a couple sparrows and some pigeons. Nice sunset though!

It was a good day, and I managed to see two longoverdue year birds. Four days to go...what will I see????


  1. I saw that same sunset, lol!
    Congrats on finding those 2 geese. Go figure, none of the count participants could find them (or any)!

    1. I guess when Steve asked me if I could do the 27th, I shoud've said yes! Wasn't expecting to go out and find such a significant record today!