Yesterday, Reuven and I went down to Van Wagner's Beach, hoping the NE winds would turn up something good. The radar was lit up like a lightbulb the night before, so our first stop was at Woodland Cemetery where there were a good number of late fall migrants around - Golden-crowned Kinglets, White-crowned Sparrows, Myrtle Warblers, Pine Siskins, etc. After a quick stop at Windermere (Dunlin, Pectoral Sandpiper, Green Heron) we were at the beach and were greeted by...no wind. However, a Franklin's Gull flying away in the distance provided disappointing views but a new year bird. After about an hour of standing around not seeing anything (other than 2 Surf Scoters), we took a walk down the shoreline, searching the sparrow flocks for something rare. Once in a while we stopped to scan the lake and managed to pick up a Pomarine Jaeger that apparently the others missed. Then it was back to the beach for the remainder of the afternoon, where the crowd slowly grew and as the wind picked up, so did the birds! Through the afternoon we had 2 juvenile Pomarine Jaegers, 2 juvenile Long-tailed Jaegers, and a variety of ages and morphs of Parasitic Jaegers, mainly buzzing the zodiac where Brandon and Barb were 'chumming' - thanks guys! The other highlight was getting amazing views of 2 juvenile Sabine's Gulls, one of which flew low over our heads before continuing inland! Thanks to Barb for letting me use her awesome scope for the afternoon - was a considerable help! Three year birds were nice to get, leaving me at 289 for the year - well within striking distance of 300!
On another note, school has picked up (can you tell by the lack of posts here?) so my birding time will be limited... However, Brandon Holden (blog on sidebar) has created a challenge for the fall season (Sept 24-Nov 14, although this may be extended?), called 50 days of rare in which whoever finds the rarest bird wins bragging rights and perhaps some alcoholic beverages. Of course, I couldn't turn down that offer! So far I am nowhere close to the lead, with my rarest 'found' bird being one of the Long-tailed Jaegers yesterday that I followed from waaaaayyy out on the lake until it came close enough to ID. Of course, I am at a bit of a disadvantage given that I'm stuck in school or doing school-related stuff most of the time, but I haven't found any mega-rarities yet this year so I think I am due for one!
Winter Birding at Algonquin Park
8 hours ago