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Loon (FIRST sighted)

Date: 03/24/2018

Submitted by Don Davis:

Expert Ontario ornithologist, Josh Vandermeulen reported the following. The community of Port Weller is now amalgamated with the City of St. Catharines, Ontario this location is the entrance to the famous Welland Canal that allows shipping between Lakes Erie and Ontario by a series of locks, bypassing the Niagara River and Niagara Falls.:

This afternoon Daniel Riley and I counted 51 Red-throated Loons off of the end of the Port Weller east pier, in St. Catharines, Niagara Region. Due to the calm weather the viewing conditions were quite good, making it much easier to count waterbirds than how it has been recently. Many of the loons were relatively close (less than 300 m off shore), though some were quite distant; it would be interesting to know the true number present. Most of the loons were straight out off of the end of the pier, from the entrance to the canal east to the lighthouse off of the eastern tip, and beyond to the east - none were west of the canal entrance. I have been visiting Port Weller at least weekly and so far this year my highest count of Red-throated Loons had been 3, presumably all wintering birds. Most likely these 51 birds today were early spring migrants. Interestingly, not a single Common Loon was present. While high numbers of Red-throated Loons are often seen in western Lake Ontario during autumn migration (generally mid-late November), in the spring large numbers are rarely reported. It was certainly the most I have ever seen on the water at one time in Ontario, and it was a pretty spectacular sight.

St. Catharines, ON

Latitude: 43.2 Longitude: -79.2

Observed by: Donald A.
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