Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sault Naturalists Birding Outing

Yesterday, there was a Sault Naturalists outing where the main goal was to see what kinds of birds could be found at Bellevue Park and Whitefish Island in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.  There were 12 members who came out, despite the light drizzle of rain.

We all met at the main parking lot of Bellevue Park, right along to St. Mary's River.  On the left side of Topsail Island, which is part of Bellevue Park, where all the sailboats moor in the summer, was a Lesser Scaup, some Buffleheads, some Hooded Mergansers and a Common Merganser.  We walked along the path onto Topsail Island, seeing some goldfinches and chickadees.

At one point, I was in the front of the group and was the first one to approach a lookout point.  There I was an American Coot, fairly close to shore  I got really excited, because they shouldn't be here this time of the year.  In fact, this sighting is only one of a handful ever made in December in the Algoma District.  The rest of the group hurried over and was able to see it before it swam too far away.  Off in the distance we saw some Common Goldeneyes diving.

After we finished on Topsail Island, we toured the rest of the park.  We managed to find a small flock of Common Redpolls and a Common Grackle, which is uncommon for this time of the year.  In total, we saw 18 different species in a few hours at Bellevue Park.

Next we traveled over to Whitefish Island.  Unfortunately, this spot didn't produce any interesting birds like Bellevue Park did.  We saw the usual Mallards, goldeneyes, gulls chickadees and pigeons that are almost impossible not to see at Whitefish Island.  We ended up with 10 different species here.

My highlight of the day was a few hours after the Sault Naturalists outing ended.  I was leaving my apartment and was turning right onto Pine Street.  As I was looking left to check for traffic, I noticed a bunch of people looking up in the sky at a lamp post.  I figured there must have been something interesting on top of it, so I turned that way instead.  It turned out to be a Snowy Owl sitting on the top of the lamp post.  This was a lifer for me!  I snapped a few pictures then continued on to my original destination.

To see the full list of birds from Bellevue Park, click here
To see the full list of birds from Whitefish Island, click here

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