Sunday, January 8, 2017

River Run-St. Clair River January 8

I made a somewhat thorough look at the St. Clair River this morning all the way to Lake Huron. Plus a pond in Sarnia!
I started by looking at the Chenal Ecarte at the north end of Walpole Island.  The Northern Pintails and American Coots were still in place.  They are difficult at times to see as they swim in and out of the phragmites.
There was not a lot of waterfowl to count if one was doing a waterfowl survey, but gulls were the main attraction.
The bright early morning sun plus a strong west wind made viewing difficult.  Most of the gulls were way out first thing and towards the US side.
I did see an Iceland (1st cycle) at Courtright and some Glaucous at Corunna before moving on to Sarnia.
Long-tailed Ducks are in good numbers along the river.  They never used to be, but in the last few years they are common-place.

A good number of ducks, especially Common Mergansers were in Sarnia Bay.
Some ducks were in the harbour as well.  The NE corner is a good spot for puddle ducks.  We have seen Wood Duck here during winter.

At the lakewatch spot at the mouth of Lake Huron (not mouth of St. Clair River as some wrongly say!) there was quite a bit of ice.  However, there were several hundred Long-tailed Ducks riding the current. A few gulls were on the ice.

Glaucous Gull in flight

Off Canatara Park and the yacht club was a good raft of Redhead - 4000+.

Some Greater Scaup were mixed in, but it was 99 % Redhead of several thousand.  I could not see all of them from the lakewatch spot.

While in Sarnia, I got a message about a Snow Goose at Blackwell Trails Park (east-end Sarnia).  I headed over there and the goose was readily visible.  However, it was sound asleep!  It was very cold and windy there and even Anne Goulden braved the elements to see the goose!

There were lots of Canada Geese here as well as Mallards. I also noticed a presumed Mallard X Black.

I went for a walk at Perch Creek and came across a little owl.

I also saw a big owl which is probably what the crows were mobbing. The Great Horned took off though.

I went back to Guthrie Park as the lighting was better and the gulls were closer.  At the Shell dock I spotted a Double-crested Cormorant.  It seems one is here every winter!

The gulls were quite active and I picked out at least 6 Glaucous and one Iceland.

The Iceland seemed rather peculiar as it was very white with a bi-coloured bill.  Some Kumlien's can look like this though.  The first cycle glaucoides, very rare for Ontario, can look similar from what I read and is sometimes indistinguishable from Kumlien's at first glance.

This may look somewhat like a Glaucous but it was Iceland sized and head-shaped.

I cannot remember is this was the same gull or not (!):

In any case, this small white-winged gull stood out.

1 comment:

  1. The second snow goose was in Sarnia on Friday, missing again today as was the white one that was seen yesterday same spot!