Harris's Sparrow - Port Burwell - Mar 24, 2011
With yet another mega-rarity found at Monarch Landing in Port Burwell, I ventured out in that direction in search of birds and good cheer. While I didn't see any super-sized grackles, there was still other rarities in the area. I had seen the Spotted Towhee in town a few weeks ago, so I decided to give the Harris's Sparrow a try. Obviously I picked it up, after 5-10 minutes of waiting, as it appeared in a large tangle to the right of the garage. (Sunning itself and preening). A nearby Purple Finch was singing away, which was also my first of the year.
Most of the morning was spent at Monarch Landing. I talked to Aaron Allensen for a while, and we saw a pile of birds at his incredible property/feeders. Redpolls, Siskins, Rusty Blackbirds, Waxwings etc. were present. American Robins eating Sumac kept me busy with the camera (more pictures later this week). Aaron told me the Spotted Towhee was seen the previous day, but I didn't spend much time looking for it (I heard multiple Towhees, but didnt actually see any).
A quick check of the beach in town yielded a few more birds. My first American Pipits of the year were on the beach (5-6 birds), and there were still a few flocks of Tundra Swans out on the lake. The highlight here was two adult Little Gulls were just offshore. NO Bonaparte's Gulls were anywhere to be seen, which was neat.
I was tempted to go to Long Point (which I did), then promptly decided I wasn't in the mood to scan distant ducks (in the cold wind) in hopes of finding a Blue-winged Teal or Eurasian Wigeon. Besides, outside of Port Burwell I hit the waterfowl jackpot* anyways!
* Swan Goose outside of Port Burwell in a mostly frozen puddle.