Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sombra Scoters to Cathcart Cacklers

Today was a fine day for checking out the St. Clair River.  It was calm and overcast which is good.  Most of the avian activity was around Sombra where one could have spent hours.  Much of the stuff was out in the middle of the river, but with a scope one could pick out various things of interest.

Most notable was the number of White-winged Scoters.  It seems to be a good year for them in these parts as I saw at least 30 at Sombra-certainly the most I have ever seen on the river.  I even picked out a Surf Scoter at Cundick Park!  Rather distant for a photo though.

I have also seen White-winged Scoters at Port Lambton each morning in the past week, as they head upriver.

There are still hundreds of gulls from Sombra to Cathcart Park, but most were of course, Herring.  I did pick out one adult Lesser Black-backed way out from Cundick Park.  Most of the white-winged gulls must have left as I never saw one today.  Some are likely at Sarnia though.

At the village of Sombra, a notable duck has been hanging out.  Some time ago, Mike Bouman (the hybrid specialist !), found an apparent Ring-necked X Redhead.

Photo by Mike Bouman

In sunlight, the colour shows well.
Photo by Mike Bouman
Thanks to Mike Bouman for sending me photos.

I finally saw it today, but I could not get very close.  It was getting close, but as my luck would have it, a Bald Eagle came along and the ducks flushed.

There is also an apparent scaup hybrid hiding among the rafts.

Photo by Mike Bouman

Cathcart Park is another good spot this time of year to check things out.  Today, the bulk of the swans (Mute of course) were there.  Some Tundra Swans were around too, and a flock of about 40 flew over while I was there.
I tried to make one pair into Trumpeters, but it would just not work.  We did have a pair here a few winters ago.  Trumpeter Swans are becoming more regular, so one needs to keep an eye out for them!

Canada Geese also like this spot.  This weekend, up to 8 Cackling have been swimming about.

A drake Northern Pintail was hanging around with some Mallards at Cathcart.

Cathcart Park is where Clay Creek flows out to the St. Clair River.  It has always been a popular spot and was once a Provincial Park.  My father worked there for a couple of summers back in the 1950's!

Pesha photo from early 1900's

Long-tailed Ducks are in good numbers as well all along the river.  For whatever reason, they have become very common in the last many years.  We never used to see them much south of Sarnia/Corunna many years ago.

I checked some spots inland on the way home, but they were virtually devoid of birds.  I guess I will stick to the river!

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