Wintry Niagara

Yesterday, my friend Diane and I went on a birdwatching hike to Niagara Falls. It was a chilly, snowy day, and rather foggy. As we were traveling down the Robert Moses Parkway toward Niagara Falls, it was impossible to see the other side of the Niagara River. It looked as if the water was stopped by the sky, which acted as an impenetrable barrier. That was an amazing sight but we were traveling too fast for photography.

Our destination was Goat Island. It’s a great place to view Niagara Falls. It’s probably the place where you are closest to the actual falls. The falls, by the way, are an impressive sight in the winter, when they are covered by snow and ice. There is something magical about that.

At Goat Island, we joined a group, which was led by Tom Kerr, a naturalist with the Audobon Society.

He guides birdwatching hikes all over Western New York. This is my second birdwatching hike with him.

The first was in November of 2016 in Buckhorn Island State Park.

Diane and Tom D. are fascinated
by a guide to northeastern

I wrote about it in my blog. Here is a link: Bird Friday. Today, we didn’t see anywhere near the diversity of bird species that we saw in November 2016. But it was OK. We were looking for gulls and ducks. Once again, we had the chance to look through the big scope that Tom set up, which was sort of like a super strong pair of binoculars. Through that scope, I saw at least three types of gulls, as well as a bunch of ducks. Most of the ducks that I saw were canvasback ducks.

At Three Sisters Island, which is an amazingly beautiful place that people ought to visit, we were treated to the drama of nature. A peregrine falcon swooped from the sky, looking for a gull to capture. Apparently, at some point, the falcon caught its prey and departed. The gulls and ducks stayed where they were, not scattering too much when the falcon swooped in.

This is the type of gull that
we are accustomed to
seeing. It likes parking
lots and garbage bins. Other gulls
prefer staying closer to water.
Gulls commonly seen
along the Niagara River
include Ross’s Gull,
Slaty Back Gull, Bonaparte’s
Gull, Sabine’s Gull, and the
largest of these gulls, the
California Gull.

We saw a few gulls up close but no ducks. It is still duck hunting season and ducks are skittish from being shot at. I think that I would be skittish, too.

Other birds that we saw included chickadees, who ate birdseed from people’s hands, and robins, who were perched high up on trees. Oh, and as a reminder, if you want to feed birds, give them seeds, which is something that they would normally eat.

People have a habit of feeding birds bread but that is not a normal part of their diet and is not something that they can readily digest.

Note: I am starting a new blogging challenge on January 1st so please come visit me regularly!!!

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