24 January 2010

TOC Bird Walks–Gulls and Waterfowl

It was 8 C today.  This is remarkably warm for January, even for Toronto.  It was also windy and it rained with vigour and variety.  Sometimes it tried its very best to sleet, presumably on the assumption that rain is seasonally inappropriate and should be replaced with some other form of precipitation.

The notable bird was a horned grebe, bobbing and swirling in what was very nearly surf.  Also seen were gadwal, bufflehead, redhead, mallard, common merganser, red-throated merganser, common goldeneye, scaup in the several hundreds, long tail, black, and American widgeon ducks.  Trumpter and mute swans, Canada geese, ring-billed, herring, and one Icelandic gull rounded out the list.  (Greater Black-backed gull was reported but I did not see it.)

I had cold hands; the gloves I wore are ok for 20 minutes in the rain, but it turns out not a couple hours holding on to things.  The liners work as warmth retention even when wet so this was not too bad, but I'll use a different outer glove layer next time rain is forecast.  Everything else worked splendidly; MEC Truant jacket and wind pants, the silane poncho, and the muck boots all performed as advertised and I stayed warm and dry despite wandering around in wind and rain for four hours.  So I'm feeling fairly good about that.

I may be starting to develop an appreciation for the term "dedicated birder".  Hopefully this shall not prove it a bad thing!

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