Wednesday 1 December 2021

One Long Drive, Two (?) Lifers

Yesterday, I drove back down to London from Algonquin to visit home for a couple of days. On my way south, I made a couple stops to look for some ongoing rare birds.

My first stop was the Barrie waterfront, where I was going to look for the putative Glaucous-winged Gull, first found on November 27th by Justin Peter, Peter Mills, Lyndsey Friesen (and I'm not sure who the fourth observer was). This is the second record for Ontario, pending acceptance. Out west, where this bird is from, they hybridize widely with a few species, most notably Western Gull. There is some concern that this bird, a second cycle, may be a hybrid, although several gull experts think it looks within reason for a "good enough" Glaucous-winged. Justin collected a stool sample to sequence the DNA, so we'll see what that turns up. Given the extent of the hybrid mess out west (coming from someone who hasn't been there before), I won't be the least bit surprised if its great-grandmother was a Western Gull.  

I very briefly saw the Glaucous-winged Gull on the docks shortly after I arrived, but as soon as I took my eyes off it to get closer, it disappeared into thin air. I think I may have saw it flying away, but the bird was quite distant, and certainly not getting any closer. No doubt the individual in question, but I sure am bummed not to have gotten any pictures. 

Regardless of what it "turns out to be", it is a gull that came from the west coast, so that's pretty cool! 

A few hours later, I pulled up to a Rufous Hummingbird stakeout in Lambton. Within a few minutes, the bird appeared at the feeder, and I was able to get some photos. With at least three Rufous Hummingbirds in the province this fall, I'm kind of feeling desensitized to this species (even though this is the first one I have seen haha).

I looked in vain for a Cattle Egret on my way home from the hummingbird spot. Would have been a nice county bird, but oh well.

Nice to see some new birds. Its been a pretty great fall for lifers for me. I saw Razorbill in Ottawa, Black-legged Kittiwake in Algonquin, Barrow's Goldeneye and Say's Phoebe in Ottawa again (right place, right time for that phoebe, I was literally right around the corner from where it was found), and of course Glaucous-winged (??) Gull and Rufous Hummingbird, as detailed above. I'm certainly not huge on chasing birds, but its fun when it works out! 

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