Tuesday, 20 December 2011

More of Toronto's waterfront birds

I've really enjoyed my time here in Toronto, with today being our last full day here before we head around Lake Ontario to the natural wonder of Niagara Falls and of course one of the best spots for gulls in North America apparently. So today was a bit of a casual birding affair, with a long walk around the city culminating in a brief stop at Ashbridge's Bay Park. Like all of Toronto's water front, this place was packed full of ducks - the commonest species being Buffleheads, Long-tailed Ducks and Red-breasted Mergansers. And wherever there is food to be had, those ringos sniffle around your feet at literally a few inches distance. I could actually have grabbed one of those crazy mofos today, but Karen didn't want me to. So I didn't.

Anyway, in amongst all the Ring-billed Gulls was a northern beauty - a nice adult Kumlien's Gull. Well, I say nice but I would have loved something looking like that adult a couple of winters back in Galway. All the Kumlien's that I've seen and found have never been anything like approaching thayeri in wing tip colouration, and this boy was the same. Nice dark shafts to P8-P10 with only discernible subterminal bands on P7 and P8. There's a quality Kumlien's vs. Iceland Gull article recently written by Newfoundland gull afficionado Dave Brown here, and he mentions although the iris colour of kumlieni is variable, they all show a bit of dark peppering - just like this bird.
Also at Ashbridge's, amongst the confiding Mallards and Buffleheads (that incidentally did not come to bread), was this hybrid drake Black Duck x Mallard.
Heinz 57

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