Thursday, 5 September 2013

Niagra Falls - 25.8.13

Turkey Vulture, Brown-Headed Cowbird + View from the restaurant.
When we booked our holiday we also booked a trip out to see the famous falls on the US/Canada border. We were picked up in a large blacked out 12 seater vehicle which thankfully had air-con! On the journey Common Grackle and Mourning Dove were seen in the city but just outside of Oakville I saw my first crow of the trip perched on a lamppost. It was an AMERICAN CROW even though we were in Canada! As we drove over a bridge near the eastern end of Lake Ontario a Caspian Tern flew up and alongside the van. As it was a tour bus we were driven around to different vantage points to view the falls. One such vantage point near the bridge/barrage I had a quick scan out over the water and saw a juv American Black Tern flying up and down. Thankfully I'd seen the Farmoor reservoir bird so I knew what I was looking at! Just then a small flock of hirundines flew overhead. Consisting mainly of Swallow and Sand Martin I noticed a plain brown bird with a white belly and undertail feathers which curved around to the top of the tail. It was a NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. Frustratingly we had to get back on to the bus to go around the the top of the falls so I didn't have much time to study it further. At the top of the falls a Song Sparrow was singing from a bush and after visiting the gift shop I wandered past a couple of juv Starling. I then did a double take and realised that Starling doesn't have a thick bill and shiny covert feathers when moulting. Once my brain had ticked into gear I realised they were juv BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS! After an amazing trip on the Maid of the Mist right up to the falls we had lunch then headed off to Niagra-on-the-lake and on the way I counted over 20 TURKEY VULTURES. On the way home a BROAD-WINGED HAWK was seen while we were sat in traffic.

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