Thursday, November 27, 2008

Some recent stuff

Ok, so I haven't posted for a while. I meant to, just didn't get around to it for some reason. On November 15, I went to WPBO with Ken McIlwrick, and we had a fantastic day for once. It started off with my 200th species for the Point - a Snowy Owl that perched on the beach for a few minutes! After that it was pretty slow, with only a few waterbirds. Ok, so I said it was a fantastic day, where are these fantastic birds you ask?? Well, a bit later in the day Ken Mety, Don Jennette and Chris showed up, so we had almost all the regulars there. Ken got bored pretty quick, and decided to cruise to the harbour to check out the gulls. Right when he got there, they all took off - the culprit being a Bald Eagle - and maybe Ken? Anyway, they all flew up to the point, and started landing on the point and in the water. I spotted a smaller gull in with them - it had black on the wings! Upon closer inspection, it was a 1st-winter Black-legged Kittiwake! A new SSM bird for me! Then I spotted an adult Great Black-backed Gull flying around - a rarity for the Sault. A little later I picked out a 2nd-winter Great Black-back out at the tip. Don said "Since you're so damn hot today, why don't you stay with this?!?!" and handed me his Swarovski HD 80mm scope - top of the line! I checked out the gulls and picked out one that was definitely different. It was a good bit smaller, with a dark eye and a very slender bill, and a slightly darker mantle than the other gulls. Unfortunately we never got a good look at the legs, but it was a perfect candidate for a 1st point record California Gull!!! Since we never saw the yellow legs or got a photo, it wouldn't be accepted...hopefully I can find another one sometime! Tim picked out an adult Thayer's Gull a few minutes later, giving me my 3rd official new Point bird for the day!

The next day I cruised the SSM waterfront looking for anything and everything, managed to find 2 first-winter Great Black-backed Gulls eating salmon at the Locks, a late Red-necked Grebe, and a Surf Scoter - nothing else of much interest.

Other than that, the only thing of interest has been the weather! We're up to around 100 cm (40 inches) of snow already this winter, with 33 cm (13 inches) in a single day! The temperature has also been all over, with the 20º (68ºF) days at the start of the month turning to -17 (1ºF) with the windchill, and now back to around 0 (32ºF)! There has been a bit of rain too, so the snow is all frozen and gross - hopefully we get a batch of fresh stuff soon.

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