For the past few months, my dad and I have been planning on going on the Pennsylvania Society of Ornithology’s trip to Ontario, Canada. So, last weekend, we drove up to Scranton, PA to spend the night and join up with the other people who had signed up for the trip.
So we spent the night at a lovely Hampton Inn and headed out in the morning. Our first target bird of the day was the Oswego Harbor tufted duck in Oswego, NY. A car had already gone up ahead to try to find the duck so all we had to do was drive out there and hope they had it. We got there and didn’t see them. So we decided to bird around the harbor a bit. In the harbor, was a glaucous gull, six white-winged scoters, three long-tailed ducks, along with the usual winter waterfowl. The trip leader then received a call from the scouting team who said that they had found the duck. We followed their directions to where they were and found them. The tufted duck was awesome. While not a life bird, (England) I was still great to see this magnificent duck.
We then headed in the general direction of the border. However, we stopped at a rest area maybe twenty minutes from the border. We were about to get on the road again when someone said that he had found pine grosbeaks. We all piled out of the car again and ran towards where they were. Sure enough, three pine grosbeaks! These grosbeaks are one of my favorite birds and it was really nice to be able to see three of these really cool finches.
After that eventful rest stop, we crossed the border and headed towards Amherst Island, to try to find some owls in the legendary Owl Woods. Since you have to take a ferry to the island, we were able to stop and watch the birds for a bit while we waited for it to unload. A couple goldeneye and some ring-billed gulls were seen but not much else. However, we did get this spectacular view of the iced over St. Lawrence.
When we got to the island, we drove around a bit looking for grassland birds. A rough-legged hawk was the highlight. Then, as we neared the shore, we started to see huge rafts of redhead and goldeneye. It was very cool to see. We then preceded to the Owl Woods.
Sadly, we didn’t see any owls while in the woods. We did however see a good number,of common redpolls (and Alex Lamoreaux of Nemesis Bird found a hoary redpoll). However, it was nice to get out and walk around the woods.
It was on the way out though that we did find an owl. A very distant snowy owl was spotted on the way off the island. What a beautiful bird. We then headed up to Ottowa where we collapsed in bed exhausted, but ready for another great day tomorrow.