Sunday, February 3, 2013

Glaucous Mayhem on the St. Clair


Today was a day to check out the St. Clair River.  Weather looked nice, and it was for a change.  Hopes of an Ivory Gull were drifting in the air.  It was quite cold, so the water was steamy in spots.
I did not see much until I got to the area north of Stanley Line.  Lots of gulls as usual and a Great Blue Heron.  The heron was, I think, a FOY!

I also noted a Trumpeter Swan, but failed to photograph it.  It was the one with a rusty neck.
At the little park in front of LGS, the mayhem started.  All kinds of birds.
An idea of the view!

Many Glaucous Gulls were here (at least 15) plus a first cycle Iceland as seen the centre of the following photo.



The next insane spot was from the north of Stag Island north of Corunna and up to the Suncour Dock.  Besides thousands of ducks, it was here I really noted Glaucous Gulls. I already had an idea what I had seen to this point, so I attempted to keep track.  From there to where the St. Clair Parkway bends inland at Suncour there was Glaucous after Glaucous among other gulls.  At the end of it all, I estimated 60 Glaucous Gulls!  Some ice floes hosted several birds.
Ice Floe with Multiple Glaucous!

But then, who knows what was off Chemical Valley and other spots I could not view.  There was hardly any gulls off Sarnia, so the ones I saw on Friday were downriver.

I took a lot of photos, so I cannot post them all here.

At the lakewatch spot, I joined the LWI group and headed downriver.  Our first stop was to view a pair of Peregrine Falcons perched on the Bluewater Bridge.
Off Shell there were a couple of Gadwall and a male Northern Pintail.  I had missed the pintail earlier, but it was hunkered down and sleeping.

Next major spot was down at LGS where I noted 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and an apparent hybrid Herring X Great Black-backed adult.  It was more than half way across the river though. Thoughts of Slaty-backed were tossed around, but it just did not have that 'look'.  I find the Slaty-backed Gull has a distinctive 'look' about it.  Perhaps it was the bird I saw a week ago much farther upriver.
apparent hybrid squatting on the ice

An Obvious Lesser Black-backed!

Just as the group was leaving, I noted a second cycle Iceland on an ice flow. Too bad for them as they had not seen one yet!

Inland I drove around quite a bit.  At McKellar Tract I saw a large flock of birds which I thought were redpolls, as the first bird I looked at was a redpoll.  However, the 100+ group was American Tree Sparrows!  Certainly the largest group of them I have seen in some time.


Further inland I only saw two Rough-legged Hawks which are scarce this winter.  Both were of the very dark variety.



1 comment:

Josh Vandermeulen said...

Looks like a solid day! I'll be checking out the river for the first time tomorrow.