The gulls on the Niagara River continue to impress. It is the best that I
have seen it in a few years. The adult BLACK-HEADED GULL continues at the
Whirlpool and, although the BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKEs were not seen there when
we were there in the morning, Tom Kerr reported one there at 4:00, quite
late! We also did the flypast at Nelson Park at Niagara-on-the-Lake and had
the KITTIWAKE at 4:30 and the BLACK-HEADED GULL some time before that. We
also had an impressive 16 LITTLE GULLS at the flypast and about 5300
Bonaparte's Gulls. Interestingly, the Little Gulls all came early, before
4:00. One was in first-winter plumage, the rest adults. The lighting at the
flypast from 3:30 to 4:45 or so was ideal - bright overcast. Plus, the
Bonaparte's Gulls came early enough that there was still plenty of light to
appreciate their beauty and pick out the rarities. Most also came through
low over the water, which is the ideal way to see them. Certainly, one of
the nicest flypasts that I have ever experienced, though I have had much
higher numbers. I wish I could say it was always like this but it is quite
changeable, due to unknown factors.


Large gull-watching on the river has also been a lot of fun lately with
numerous ICELAND GULLS at several spots, four GLAUCOUS GULLS above the
falls, and a handful of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS above the falls, including
two in first-winter plumage (perhaps still with a juvenile scapular or two).
We also had the Thayer's form of Iceland Gull above the falls. Ten species
of gulls plus Thayer's - not bad! There were few Bonaparte's Gulls above the
falls and we did not make it to the gorge below the falls but the Whirlpool
and lower Lewiston-Queenston were absolutely loaded with Bonies. We were
unsure of how many Little Gulls we had at Queenston and recorded what we
felt was a fairly accurate and perhaps slightly conservative seven. We did
not see any Little Gulls at the Whirlpool. We did not see the Harlequin Duck


Our group of eight were Jean Iron, Ron Pittaway, Kevin McLaughlin, Declan
Troy, Ross Harris, Celeste Morien, Betsy Potter, and myself.


Good birding!



Willie D'Anna

Wilson, NY




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