My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

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Along the River

Published April 14, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Bonaparte's Gull, Common Tern, Double-crested Cormorant, Eastern Phoebe, Tree Swallow, Field Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Swamp Sparrow, Red-tailed Hawk, Niagara River, Strawberry Island, Rookery

I decided to bird along the Niagara River today, stopping at a few places to see some of the end-of-winter and early spring sights.

My first stop was at the end of Sheridan Drive in Tonawanda to see the heron rookery over on Strawberry Island.  I've seen this several times now, but each time it is still very impressive!  There were nests all over the trees along the shore, occupied by Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and I'm sure Black-crowned Night Herons, although I couldn't discern them.  The heat shimmer was bad and the view from my scope was less than ideal.  I could definitely make out at least 24 Great Egrets - but I bet there were many more.

Along the edge and on the shore were probably close to 100 beautiful Double-crested Cormorants.  I couldn't help but think of Bill Watson, a well known and respected birder that just passed away.  Bill would often report counts of the herons and cormorants at this rookery and I will miss reading his updates. He fought for the proper management of the cormorants during some DEC construction one year, trying to keep nest destruction to a minimum.  Bill would refer to the cormorants as "Beautiful Double-crested Cormorants", an expression that will live on in his memory.
photo of heron rookery
While I was there, I enjoyed my FOY Common Terns and as well as about a dozen Bonaparte's Gulls - a lovely, small gull that is getting its black hood for breeding season now.

Another stop at Times Beach brought my FOS Hermit Thrush and a Swamp Sparrow at the Outer Harbor. I can't quite get enough yet of the Eastern Phoebes with their cute, little cry, "feeBEEE!", and Field Sparrows with those pretty, little eyerings and pink bills.

I was hoping for a Fox Sparrow today, but alas, none were to be found. One was seen later in the day at the naval park, but I missed that guy.  Soon, I'm sure!
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A beautiful Double-crested Cormorant
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Common Tern
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Bonaparte's Gull in breeding plumage
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Bonaparte's Gull - just starting to change plumage
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Ring-billed Gull
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Tree Swallow
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Eastern Phoebe
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Field Sparrow
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Hermit Thrush
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Hermit Thrush
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My FOY Swamp Sparrow peeking out of the reeds
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A Red-tailed Hawk fly-by