Winter Storms and Winter Birds: 10 November 2018

From Donna Kuhn:

The weather forecast predicted rain or snow flurries, but by the time we reached Headlands State Park there was an inch of snow on the ground and minimal visibility due to rapidly falling snow. Now this is upgraded to a winter storm! The snow belt delivers. There were lots of gulls around, including a few Great Black-backed Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  We did see a few Kinglets close to the ground in the snow.

Great Black-backed Gull by Lisa Phelps

So the developing winter storm led us to the decision to head west, to where the weather was much better.  We made a quick stop at Sims Park, where the lake was a little calmer. We stopped at East 55th, where we saw lots of gulls, but few other birds.

Wendy Park revealed a few birds on the ground including a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and an Eastern Towhee.  Apparently the cold slowed the Kinglet down as it was walking slowly along the edge of the path, not frantically darting about high in a tree as I usually see them. The walkway to the coast guard station was ice covered due to earlier waves washing over it.   The break wall had a lot of the usual gulls and Double-crested Cormorants.

Due to the cold, we decided to go to the Rocky River Nature Center, to observe the pair of Purple Finches. My father used to volunteer here, he walked the trails and reported the birds he saw.

 

As we were heading for home, a report of a Black-legged Kittiwake at Hoover led us to head there. Unfortunately we missed the bird by a few minutes, searched other areas on the reservoir without success. Another report that one was seen at Alum led us to go there, but rapidly declining light foiled our efforts to identify the gulls resting on the water for the night. We did see some Common Loons, and several of us saw the Kittiwake on Sunday.

 

We saw 44 species total for the trip:

Canada Goose
Mallard
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
American Coot
Bonaparte’s Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Tern
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
European Starling
House Finch
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
House Sparrow