Sunday 6 March 2011

Ashbridge's Bay Park

I was worried I wouldn't have anything to write about from this weekend after a rainy Saturday and delays with the transit in Toronto today. But I managed to get down to Ashbridge's Bay Park in Toronto this afternoon and found several white-winged Gulls and early migrants along with the regulars.

In this photo alone there are 6 white-winged Gulls (I think they're all Iceland):

Most of the white-winged Gulls were Iceland Gulls (11 was my final count after checking over my photos) with 1 Glaucous Gull and 1 Thayer's Gull (or what I thought was a Thayer's but after closer scrutiny it looks more like an Iceland).

Here's the confusing bird:

The slender bill size and relatively lighter coloured primaries (the wing tips that have a bit of black/grey to them) rule out Herring Gull.

At first I thought that the primaries weren't light enough for Iceland but after consulting my Gull book I'm starting to lean towards Iceland because it seems that Thayer's Gull has relatively dark primaries.

The last photo gives a size comparison with a Ring-billed Gull and a closer look at the eye. To me the eye looked relatively dark but my judgement on that can be questioned. I probably had some bias in thinking that because I wanted this bird to be a Thayer's. I'm about 80% sure it's an Iceland, although I'd be happy if you prove me wrong!

Anyway, I'm no Gull expert by any means and I really haven't spent as much time on Gulls as I probably should have considering my connecting with Newfoundland. If you have an opinion or any more insight please feel free to comment or email me!

Red-winged Blackbirds have started to move back in. I saw at least 6 today, I'm starting ignore them and wish they weren't so noisy already! Just last week I was dreaming of their song and it's association with spring and warmer weather. I always want what I can't have. Where are those Killdeer!?

A male and female Brown-headed Cowbird were nearby, here's the male:

I then practiced some silhouette photography with a Bufflehead as it fed in a small open body of water:

Thanks for reading :)