Sunday, April 7, 2013

Western & Rednecked Grebes and a Little Larus

After reading Kory's Blog this week, I somehow convinced my wife (and myself) to wake up early one day this weekend and visit Col. Sam Smith Park in Etobicoke. Kory had seen Western Grebes, Red necked Grebes, as well as a Harlequin Duck all three of which would be lifers for me. Another great birder, Ken Burrell had Little Gulls at Turkey Point, which was kinda on the way... A possible four life birds. Two extra birds I was hoping to see were Ruffed Grouse and Bohemian Waxwing (which was ontbirded in Etobicoke around the time I was leaving Etobicoke). I dipped on both of these later birds as well as the Harlequin Duck. I did see the Western & Red necked Grebes which were both lifers, as well a a few other goodies, in particular, Long-tailed Ducks (I've only seen Long-tailed ducks once along the Detroit River at great distance).
Two lifers in the same photo? Awesome.
Birds seen at Col. Sam Smith Park:

Western Grebe
Red necked Grebe
Long-tailed Ducks
White winged Scoter
Northern Mockingbird
Eastern Phoebe
Tree Swallows
Ring-necked Ducks
Lesser Scaup
Red-breasted Merganser
Hooded Merganser

Long-tailed Ducks.... Only my second time seeing them ...Rare in SW Ontario.
On the way back from the park, I drove through Hamilton, then Haldimand and Norfolk Counties. What a beautiful drive. It was nice to see that Norfolk County has some forested area preserved.  This site here discusses why they decided to preserve some forest ( . The sandy soil was blowing away without tree cover, which was still apparent as I drive through the agricultural areas in Norfolk Co. I would have liked to have seen Ruffed Grouse in St. Williams Conservation Reserve, but I didn't really have time to so much as get out of my car.  Turkey Point was surprisingly beautiful and natural. The beach (at least where I found the gulls) was like a flooded lagoon, very natural and beautiful. Eastern Phoebe, Song Sparrows, Belted Kingfisher, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Bonapartes, and of course, Little Gulls were all present. Little Gulls are a lifer... I was really excited to see them. The warm air from the latest southern air flow, and the beauty of Turkey Point made this a very nice moment to enjoy.

The smallest gull in the world has black on the bottom of its wings, and the biggest has black on top... Interesting eh?

Birding Backlog...

I birded Point Pelee last weekend but did not see much outside of the expected. A personal highlight was an Eastern Meadowlark. Meadowlarks are very rare and local in Essex. This is my first Eastern Meadowlark I've self found in migration.  Going WAY back (March 20th, 2013), I had two Eurasian Wigeons (Thanks for the help Jeremy Bensette) on "Road E" just outside of the Point Pelee Park Gates.

Eurasian Wigeon & American Wigeon

Good birding!

Eurasian Wigeon - Point Pelee#325
Red necked Grebe #326
Western Grebe #327
Little Gull  #328


  1. How many Little Gulls did you see? I have not seen one yet this year!
    I think a Western Grebe will show up at Pelee in the next week or so....

  2. Blake, I'm not a good counter, but a crude guess would be 300 Bonapartes & 10-15 Little Gulls? Probably not much different than KB's recent posting.

  3. Wow, congrats on all the lifers! Love that you got two in one shot, very nice!

  4. Congrats on the lifers! Sounds like it was well worth the drive!

  5. Glad you made it down to Norfolk for the Little Gulls!

  6. Glad you had such a rewarding trip Dwayne! Awesome shot with the two Grebes together!
    About the Long-tailed Ducks... there are quite a few around Burlington (Spencer Smith Park) and the channel by the Hamilton-Burlington lift bridge in the winter... are they less common by you?

  7. Brian, LT Ducks are common around the Sarnia river, but rarely seen south of that point. Only once have I seen a long tailed duck on the Detroit River near Belle-Isle at great distance.
    Adam, Norfolk was beautiful. I will be back soon. Turkey Point was really nice.
    Thanks for the comments to all.



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