This is an email address that is being displayed as an image to thwart spam programs.

Events

Contact:

Roger or Margaret Higbee at
724-354-3493
bcoriole@windstream.net.

Birding the Niagara Frontier

Fri, November 29, 8:00 am – Mon, December 2, 2013, 8:00 pm
Niagara Frontier
Outing Leader: Roger and Margaret Higbee, bcoriole at windstream dot net

Description

Birding the Niagara Frontier. You must have a passport or a passport card to enter Canada and return to the US. We will bird mostly in Canada. This four-day trip will cover Dunkirk Harbor en route to the Peace Bridge as well as areas along the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. We plan to stay at either the Best Days or the Super 8 near the falls on the Canadian side. You may take part in the entire trip or in only a day or two by meeting us there. If you are interested in going or have questions, please contact the Higbees (724-354-3493).

Last year's Niagara highlights included Brant, King Eider, all three scoters, Purple Sandpiper, Little Gull, Franklin's Gull, Thayer's Gull, Iceland Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, and Northern Saw-whet Owl. For a complete report, go to our web site http://toddbirdclub.org/cgi-bin/events.pl?ACTION=DESCRIPTION&EVENTID=123.

Trip Report


Friday, November 29, 2013 – Ian Haigh arrived promptly at 5:45 this morning to take part in our Niagara trip. We left the driveway around 6:20. The temperature this morning was 24o.

Birds seen en route to Presque Isle, our first birding stop, included:

Mallards
American Crows
Wild Turkey
European Starlings
Red-tailed Hawks
Cooper’s Hawk
Rock Pigeons
House Sparrows.
Mourning Dove
European Starlings
Ring-billed Gull

We reached Presque Isle State Park at exactly 9:00 a.m. Our destination was Beach 11 as we hoped to spot the previously reported Snowy Owl. We made several brief stops along the lake, listing:

3 Downy Woodpeckers
1 Black-capped Chickadee
2 American Robins
Ring-billed Gulls
Bonaparte’s Gulls
American Coots
3 Pied-billed Grebes
6 Horned Grebes 8
European Starlings
1 American Wigeon
Buffleheads
Ruddy Ducks
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Ducks
2 Mallards
20 Canada Geese
1 Northern Cardinal
l 3 Gadwalls
1 Song Sparrow
*1 Snowy Owl
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
25 Common Mergansers
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
7 Redheads
1 Tufted Titmouse
We left the park at 10:14, and not too far outside the park we spotted a Merlin.

In NY at Dunkirk pier:

5 House Sparrows
Hooded Mergansers
Red-breasted Mergansers
1 Common Merganser
American Coots
Bonaparte’s Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls
Herring Gulls
Great Black-backed Gulls
10 Great Blue Herons
40 Double-crested Cormorants
15 Horned Grebes
4 Lesser Scaup
19 Mallards
150 Canada Geese

Our first destination in Ontario was Fort Erie. We headed to the rocks near the source of the Niagara River. Here were:

3 White-winged Scoters
6 Surf Scoters
Lesser Scaup
10 Common Goldeneyes
18 American Black Ducks
Buffleheads
1 Ruddy Duck
Bonaparte’s Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls
Herring Gulls
Long-tailed Ducks

Along the Niagara Parkway, we listed:

Buffleheads
Bonaparte’s Gulls (thousands!)
Common Mergansers
Common Goldeneyes
Mallards
Scaup sp?
Canada Geese
1 Mute Swan
Hooded Mergansers
Red-breasted Mergansers
1 Cooper’s Hawk
1 Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gulls
Herring Gulls
Rock Pigeons
Mourning Doves
2 American Robins
2 Blue Jays
American Crows
European Starlings
House Sparrows

Our next stop was in the greenhouse parking lot. We walked across the road to see the water where we found:

Ring-billed Gulls
Great Black-backed Gulls
Herring Gulls
Bonaparte’s Gulls
1 Glaucous Gull
Canada Geese
Gadwalls
American Wigeons
Mallards
American Black Ducks
Common Goldeneyes
Buffleheads
Common Mergansers
1 Double-crested Cormorant
5 Rock Pigeons
1 Blue Jay

Saturday, November 30, 2013 – We left the Super 8 promptly at 7:00 and drove toward Grimsby. Birds sighted en route were:

European Starlings
Ring-billed Gulls
3 Red-tailed Hawks
American Crows
Rock Pigeons

At the Grimsby Welcome Center where we met Frank and Sandra Horvath, we found Common Loon, Ring-billed Gulls, and Rock Pigeons.

Tenth Road E yielded:

1 Red-tailed Hawk
2 Blue Jays
2 American Kestrels
Northern Shrike
1 Mourning Dove
4 House Sparrows

Along Fifty Road we added:

Northern Mockingbird
Harlequin Duck
White-winged Scoters
Surf Scoters
Red-breasted Mergansers
Mallards
Redheads
Common Goldeneyes
Greater Scaup
Canada Geese
Long-tailed Ducks

We left Fifty Road and drove to Fruitland where we saw the same species but also added Black Scoters and American Robins. DeWitt Road was our next destination, but there were few birds here, just Ring-billed and Herring Gulls. We continued to Millen Road where Roger spotted a Northern Harrier flying far out over the water. It continued to fly toward us and started working the fields to our left.

It was 11:15 by the time we arrived at the Tollgate Ponds. Birds seen here were:

Northern Shovelers
Greater Scaup
Mute Swan
Snowy Owl
Red-breasted Mergansers
Common Goldeneyes

We continued to Windemere Basin which is always a productive stop. We crossed the highway with the traffic lights and found:

Common Mergansers
Buffleheads
3 Black-crowned Night-Herons
Mallards
Double-crested Cormorants
Green-winged Teal
Ring-billed Gulls
1 Northern Pintail

Frank told us of a park near a sewage treatment pond that is harboring a nice variety of late warblers. Sedgewick Park in Oakville was our next stop. Sedgewick yielded:

Yellow-rumped Warblers
3 Northern Cardinals
Downy Woodpecker
Pine Warbler
2 American Robins
1 Song Sparrow
Nashville Warbler
2 Mourning Doves
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Frank also spotted the Orange-crowned Warbler here.

We started heading back to search again for the King Eider. We followed Frank back to Fruitland. We saw quite a few birds at Fruitland, many of the same ones we’d listed earlier. Just as we were making plans to try one of the other roads, I spotted the beautiful female King Eider. What a great ending to a good birding day!

Sunday, December 1, 2014 –Frank and Sandra suggested we go first to Sir Adam Beck this morning as the OFO had an outing planned, and that was their meeting spot. We birded Sir Adam Beck amid the OFO crew, led by Jean Iron and Ron Tozer. We listed:

1 Thayer’s Gull
3 Iceland Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls
Herring Gulls
Great Black-backed Gulls

We walked upriver to the location where we’d had the Franklin’s Gull last year. The same gulls were present here, but we added 3 American Robins and a Northern Mockingbird.

Across from the greenhouse parking lot we saw:

Purple Sandpiper
Red Phalarope
Gadwalls
4 American Wigeons
5 Rock Pigeons
Mallards
Common Goldeneyes
Canada Geese
Green-winged Teal
Peregrine Falcon
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
American Black Ducks
Herring Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls
1 Downy Woodpecker
European Starlings
House Sparrows
Bonaparte’s Gulls

We followed the OFO group to the Horseshoe Falls gorge where we found two Black-legged Kittiwakes flying together toward the fog. Within seconds, they emerged and continued to circle right below us.

We walked back to Dufferin Island Park noting along the way:

House Sparrows
1 Dark-eyed Junco
Rock Pigeons
European Starlings

After lunch in Chippewa, we headed to Fort Erie to search for the Lark Sparrow. As we were riding along the Niagara Parkway not very far from Chippewa at 1:00 p.m., I spotted what appeared to be an owl sitting in a tree right along the river. Roger turned around, explained to Frank and Sandra who were following us what we were doing, and headed back. When we got to the spot, we found a gorgeous Short-eared Owl. Other birds seen along the Niagara Parkway included:

1 Red-tailed Hawk
American Crows
Common Mergansers
Common Goldeneyes
4 Mute Swans
Canada Geese
Mallards
Red-breasted Mergansers
Bonaparte’s Gulls
Herring Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls
Mourning Dove
Blue Jay

When we arrived at the location near Bowen Road Park at least 50 birders were present walking up and down the roads. After about an hour, the Lark Sparrow was located. We hurried to the driveway where birders were being very considerate. The viewing area was very narrow, so only two persons could see the bird at a time. As soon as one saw the Lark Sparrow, he/she immediately exited, allowing the next birder in line a sighting. The bird cooperated till everyone had successfully seen it. At this location we listed:

1 Downy Woodpecker
2 Black-capped Chickadees
~70 House Sparrows
2 Dark-eyed Juncos
1 Lark Sparrow

We left after we all had seen the Lark Sparrow, heading to the control gates. As we were driving along the Niagara Parkway we spotted a Belted Kingfisher in a tree. Several miles farther we found yet another kingfisher. The control gates produced:

Lesser Black-backed Gull
Redheads
Scaup sp?
Glaucous Gull
Ring-billed Gulls
Herring Gulls

We decided to head to Queenston before it got too dark to see. We arrived at 4:05. Here were many fly-by Bonaparte’s Gulls. One *Little Gull was circling over the water farther downstream. We all had excellent views. The only other birds found here were Ring-billed and Herring Gulls plus one Belted Kingfisher.

Monday, December 2, 2013 – We headed toward Niagara-on-the-Lake. Along the way we saw:

12 American Robins
5 Mourning Doves
21 European Starlings
1 Red-tailed Hawk

Our first stop was at the golf course overlook where we arrived at 8:15. Here were:

1 Northern Flicker
8 Long-tailed Ducks
23 Red-breasted Mergansers
6 Mallards
2 Horned Grebes
5 Common Goldeneyes
3 Blue Jays
2 Herring Gulls
2 House Sparrows
2 European Starlings
1 Great Black-backed Gull
6 White-winged Scoters
2 American Robins
1 Common Loon
10 Buffleheads

We next drove to the park overlook. From this vantage point we noted:

1 Carolina Wren
2 American Robins
16 White-winged Scoters
10 Red-breasted Mergansers
1 Common Loon (same bird as seen from golf course)
1 Horned Grebe
36 Long-tailed Ducks
13 Herring Gulls
6 Bonaparte’s Gulls
1 Double-crested Cormorant
1 Little Gull
1 American Goldfinch
3 Mallards + 1 domestic Mallard
2 Buffleheads
6 Ring-billed Gulls
10 Scaup sp?
1 American Crow
3 Great Black-backed Gulls

At the public washrooms near the intersection of Queen and Victoria were:

2 Downy Woodpeckers
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
2 European Starlings
1 American Crow

Our next stop was at the Botanical Gardens near the Butterfly Conservatory. We walked 1.2 miles, finishing up at 10:54 a.m. We sighted:

1 Red-tailed Hawk
4 Blue Jays
3 Dark-eyed Juncos
5 Herring Gulls (overhead)
1 American Crow
2 White-throated Sparrows
1 Winter Wren (heard)
3 American Goldfinches
1 Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 Black-capped Chickadee

We drove to the greenhouse parking lot. Above the falls we noted:

1 Blue Jay
Common Goldeneyes
Gadwalls
Mallards
American Black Ducks
Herring Gulls
Bonaparte’s Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls
Great Black-backed Gulls
Peregrine Falcon
Green-winged Teal
Canada Geese
Hooded Mergansers
Common Mergansers
Rock Pigeons

We spent only 20 minutes here before heading to Chippewa for lunch. After we ate, we started along the Niagara Parkway toward the Peace Bridge. We listed:

Canada Geese
Mute Swans
Buffleheads
Common Goldeneyes
Common Mergansers
Hooded Mergansers
European Starlings
Herring Gulls
Bonaparte’s Gulls
Ring-billed Gulls

We were sitting in line at customs at 1:15. By 1:27 we were back in New York. Birds seen in NY were:

Canada Geese
European Starlings
Great Black-backed Gulls
American Crows
Mallards
Rock Pigeons
Red-tailed Hawks

Along I-90 at the rest area in PA, we spotted a Bald Eagle in flight. On the way home through PA we saw few birds, only the following:

House Sparrows
American Crows
Rock Pigeons
Red-tailed Hawks

Our trip total was 84 species.

Submitted by Margaret Higbee

If you participated in this trip, you may add an outing report.

Willet, Honeymoon Island Causeway, FL, Roger Higbee

Upcoming Events

Todd Bird Club Picnic

  • Sun, August 20, 1:00 pm
  • Marcy and Dan Cunkelman's Home

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, August 22, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, August 29, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, September 5, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, September 12, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, September 19, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, September 26, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, October 3, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, October 10, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, October 17, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, October 24, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office

Tuesday Yellow Creek Outing

  • Tue, October 31, 8:00 am
  • Yellow Creek State Park Office