Monday, 25 March 2013

Little Gull Bonanza

On St. Patrick's Day Ken, my Dad and I led our annual swan/waterfowl/early spring migrants trip to Long Point with the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists Club.  It was a very successful outing despite the sometimes wintery weather (in stark contrast to last year's shorts weather!).  We managed 64 species for the day, which is about normal for the trip.

We always start the trip off at Aylmer Wildlife Management Area to have a look for Tundra Swans.  This year, thanks in part to the late spring, there were still a few thousand swans to be had.  From there we make a quick stop at the Aylmer Sewage Lagoons before heading east along the lake shore to Long Point.  The ducks this year at Long Point were really good.  There were about 10,000 ducks in the Inner Bay, mostly divers like Redhead, Scaup, and Canvasback.  Besides the large numbers of diving ducks a nice bonus were the two Greater White-fronted Geese at Lee Browns:

The Greater White-fronted Geese were a Long Point bird for me which made them extra nice. The real highlight of the day however was our last stop of the day at Turkey Point. Here, while scoping from the marina we saw some distant Little Gulls.  We drove down closer and had great looks at at least 25 Little Gulls. The whole group enjoyed great looks at these birds as a nice way to finish the day. 

Ontario birders often take Little Gulls for granted but we are pretty unique in North America to have such good numbers of these tiniest gulls in the world.  Just check out the map on eBird or notice the fact that the ABA ranks them as rare or Code 3 on the ABA Checklist. I managed to snap quite a few photos of 3 ages:

An adult (left) and second basic (right)

First (left), adult (centre) and second (right) basic Little Gulls

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