I headed home to Heidelberg on Thursday night which gave me a chance to do some birding around K-W on Friday morning with my Dad and Ken. It was really great outside with lots of new birds!
While waiting outside of the house I had several flocks of Canada Geese and my first Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles for the year fly over in a twenty minute period.
|It's been too long (107 days, since November 16) since I last saw this|
Then the three of us headed "the long way" to drop Ken off at school. As we made our way into Erbsville we continued seeing flocks of Canada Geese going over. We stopped at the main intersection to listen to a singing male Red-winged Blackbird when Ken spotted two Cackling Geese in a flock of Canadas going over. We also had at least one small Canada, presumably an interior subspecies bird (quite possible that many or all of the Canadas going over were interior). We moved on a bit further towards Laurel Creek when we stopped for a hawk - good decision as it turned out to be our first migrant Red-shouldered Hawk of the year, a beautiful adult:
At the same spot while standing on the side of the road we had our first Killdeer fly over and more Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles, plus Horned Lark. Here's the full checklist.
Laurel Creek wasn't too exciting but there was a single adult Glaucous Gull on the ice. After we dropped off Ken it was off to the dump. We had a quick look around and found one of the juvenile Thayer's Gulls that have been present for a while now, plus some other birds. We ran into Brandon Holden as we were leaving who did a much more thorough search of the gulls.
It was then off to my new favourite Waterloo Region birding spot, Hespeler Mill pond. We were greeted by one of the best sounds of spring, Tundra Swans! There were also a few semi-interesting ducks including Northern Pintail, Gadwall (both of which have been present for a while), Hooded Merganser, and a American Black Duck x Mallard hybrid. We also had another Killdeer flyover here. Here's the full checklist.
Our final stop before having to pick up Ken was the confluence of the Speed and Grand Rivers in Cambridge, which is another good spot for waterfowl. On this day there wasn't too much but there were some Northern Pintail. Here's the list.
After that it was off to Ithaca for Ken and I (more on that tomorrow hopefully). On route before we crossed the border we had our first Turkey Vulture of the year in Queenston (no Black Vultures unfortunately).
All in all it was nice to see some new birds back. A lot of them seemed to change their minds on the weekend with the return of the cold weather, but they should be back in force by Wednesday this week!
In other new how about that Heermann's Gull!!? Nice find indeed for Mark Gawn! I had hoped to post a funny picture of my brother as a thirteen year old feeding Ontario first Heermann's Gull from 1999 but couldn't find that picture, so instead here's a boring picture of just the bird itself:
|Ontario's first Heermann's Gull, a long-staying individual (14 November 1999-1 August 2000) in Toronto (and beyond).|