Saturday, January 29, 2011

Upriver Ducks

Too much snow fell overnight in a short period of time.  At least 12 cm, almost twice what was predicted. Roads were absolutely terrible first thing this morning, but I had to get out.  The easiest thing to do was head upriver and check the St. Clair River.  Lambton Wildlife in Sarnia has their annual Downriver Ducks outing next Sunday, so I jokingly refer it as Upriver Ducks (for me). 
We are in that rut again with practically no sunshine.  I think this winter will go down on record as the one with the least amount of sunshine!
It was a challenge to find places to safely pull off and look, but there was lots to see.  Waterfowl was spread out all along the river north of Sombra, so it was not possible to look at everything.

Harlequin Duck at Point Edward from Dec. 2007

Highlight was a male Harlequin at Port Huron.  I heard that one was found earlier this week, so I specifically looked for it.  It took me over an hour and a half to find it, but there it was off the YMCA building at Port Huron.  It is a predictable location for this species as they like that shoreline.  A few years ago there were three.  Too far away to attempt a photo.  An American Coot was also working that area.  The coot was in Sarnia Bay earlier in the winter.

Long-tailed Ducks were very numerous.  There were even about 100 off Lambton Generating Station which seemed unusual. Perhaps another 300 around Sarnia.
Canvasback numbers seemed to have increased as it was the dominant duck all along from Cathcart Park north.  Redhead were not far behind numbering perhaps 5000.

Common Goldeneye were plentiful off Courtright when earlier in the winter they were lower in numbers.
Even Mallard and Black ducks were in good numbers.  Those were the only puddlers I saw.
A White-winged Scoter off Shell Oil north of Corunna was notable.
Gulls were not too plentiful, but good numbers were off Shell and ICI.  A did note one first basic Iceland off Shell and a few Glaucous in various locations.
Canada Geese are in big numbers this winter, especially off ICI.

I travelled home a few back roads, but nothing is out there.  Land birds are very scarce this year!

At home, I still have a White-throated Sparrow at the feeder (showed up a week ago) and a Tree Sparrow came in overnight.  The Tree Sparrow is not a surprise because every winter when we get a dumping of snow, one or more shows up here in town!


  1. Blake, Nice catch on the Harlequin Duck. Send it down to Lakeview Marina in Windsor!

  2. Dwayne,
    No can do. You've had your limit of good birds there this past week!

  3. sounds like a fun day! I poked along the Lake Erie shoreline today (Port Stanley to Port Dover) with Ken Burrell - and we saw a lot of ice.....