Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gulls Galore

Port Huron Lighthouse

I headed north today to Sarnia. A strong NW wind was blowing, so there was the chance things would come in at Point Edward.  Upon arrival, there were hundreds of gulls (Herring and Ring-billed) were milling about.  Later on, a first winter Glaucous Gull appeared and worked the area for a while.  Only a few flocks of Bonaparte's Gulls passed by.
Three Red-necked Grebes were working just off shore.  Most of the ducks around were Long-tailed, but I did see all three merganser species.
Sarnia Harbour

Down around Sarnia Harbour there were lots of ducks and geese.  Highlight was a Brant (juv) that came over from Port Huron.  Here is a link to a photo (by Scott Jennex) of the Brant:  Brant
While there I observed an adult Iceland Gull.  A number of bonies were working the dock area.   Many more gulls were in Sarnia Bay.  Five American Coots were at the marina.  Some attempt to winter here each year, so perhaps they will stay a while.

Lesser Black-backed Gull out there somewhere!

Downriver, I found thousands of gulls at Cathcart Park and near the Detroit Edison Plant.  Not sure how many, but at least 3000!  I did pick out an adult Lesser Black-backed in the mess.  Many of the gulls moved over to the US side just as the Walter J. McCarthy docked.  Perhaps it stirred up some small fish.

Hopefully it will be a good gull winter on the St. Clair River. The last two were virtually gull-less!  The winters need to be colder with lots of ice to bring in the gulls. One of my favourite activities is watching gulls.  That came to a highlight in December 1995 when I found the Ivory Gull.  There was even a segment on the Discovery Channel about it!  So, let us hope many gulls spend the winter here.

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