Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Delivers

As every Ontario birder already knows, yesterday the winds and other weather elements associated with the "Frankenstorm" resulted in some very interesting bird sightings. Along the shores of Lake Ontario from Oshawa west to Hamilton and south to the Niagara Region seemed to be the "vagrant zone". I was able to spend part of the day at Van Wagner's Beach in Hamilton where the big highlight for me was a Leach's Storm-Petrel.

Leach's Storm-Petrel

In addition, there were jaegers and Black-legged Kittiwakes galore, as well as seemingly disoriented flocks of Brant. Some observers in the same area as me were fortunate enough to spot a second species of Storm-Petrel (Wilson's) but I was more than satisfied by my apportionment of birds. Elsewhere along the lakeshore a Razorbill was seen as well as several Red Phalaropes. The storm track of Sandy combined with the weather system from the north was the admixture for some exciting birding!

I suppose the potential was there for even more seabirds to be carried into our region; Black-capped Petrels and Sooty Terms could have been anticipated. However, there could be more to the story and by the end of the week perhaps there will be additional sightings of unusual birds displaced by Sandy.

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