Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Birding

Christmas Eve day I was off work just after lunch.  I took advantage of the rare sunny day!  It was quite windy and very bright on the St. Clair River but little was on the river to look at anyway.  Earlier in the day I caught sight of a White-winged Scoter flying north just off Port Lambton.  Although they are annual in the winter on the river, it is a nice bird to see.
I headed inland but could not come up with any owls.  I even checked some coniferous trees at McKeough for Long-eared, but there was no evidence of them.  Just after I came out into the open, a large dark bird caught my attention high in the sky.  TV or eagle?  The bright sun did not help matters, but then I thought eagle.  Expecting nothing other than a Bald, I kept looking and it turned out to be a Golden!  An adult Golden Eagle was working its way westward.  A new bird for the area. My position was not good for photography, but here is a "silhouette".

After I got home, I took a look at the feeder setup and a Red-breasted Nuthatch came in.  For some reason very few birds are at the feeder this year, but this nuthatch was new.  A good bird for here.

This morning I took my usual Christmas jaunt up the St. Clair River.  We now have LOTS of ice in the river.  Perhaps a good thing as it will concentrate birds, especially gulls.  Still not many ducks on the river (lots of Long-tailed though), but certainly more gulls.
The best spot for birds was at Cathcart Park.  A variety of things were there and I sat in the car for some time.  I saw a White-winged Scoter working its way downriver, so I got out and walked over to the breakwall.
Just as I got there, a Double-crested Cormorant flew by!  Would be an excellent bird for the CBC on Saturday.  Another silhouette!

The scoter took off downriver.

I looked downriver, and there was a Horned Grebe!  Another good bird for the river this time of year.  It came in fairly close.

Most of the gulls were off OC Industries, including an adult Glaucous.  I would think gulls will build in numbers from now on.

Inland, I found the Snowy Owl at the Sombra solar farm.  It was on the ground, so could easily be missed.

Not much else of note as I headed home.  A good-sized flock of Snow Buntings was near Becher, and at least one Lapland Longspur was amongst them.

Leading up to the Wallaceburg CBC this Saturday, I will do some checking around.
Christmas nuts:

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