On my way to Squaw Island North, a fellow birder reported that there was a Lapland Longspur spotted with Snow Buntings on the Railroad tracks that cross the border into Canada. What luck! I need that bird for my life list and the tracks are right on Squaw Island. I pulled up with my friend Jim and scoured the entire length of the tracks from both sides and turned up nothing but two Song Sparrows. Unfortunate. I really wanted that Lapland Longspur. I listened to its songs and looked at a couple of pictures on the way there. What a beauty. Jim and I gave up and continued as planned for Gulls on the river. We walked down to the lock where I was greeted by a huge group of Ring-billed Gulls with a Herring Gull for good measure. Just two days ago the entire place was filled with Bonaparte's Gulls. I noted that the river inlet there was frozen over now, and I postulate that might be the reason for the change in birds. There were a few Bonaparte's Gulls around, but nothing like when the area was free of ice. A couple of female Red-breasted Mergansers, American Coots, and a Female Redhead were hanging around the lock there.
I noticed two other birders with scopes down the pier and I made my way over to them in hopes of getting some good information on peculiarities they might have seen. My original intention was to re-spot an adult Black-legged Kittiwake that I discovered a few days prior. It was my first real rare bird alert and come to find out, these two guys were looking for it. They had no luck and I suspect it was because this particular Black-legged Kittiwake was flocking with the Bonaparte's Gulls whenever I saw it. I guess their absence in the area had something to do with it not being there. A birder Named Peter spotted a first year Iceland Gull out in a raft of Ring-billed Gulls and I got it as soon as I looked out. I love the almost pink hues they have. I was able to spot a Bald Eagle near their nest on Strawberry Island while I was standing there enjoying the ice flow down the river. It made a pleasant sound as it was constantly being crushed against itself. I was a little disappointed that the Bonaparte's weren't out in good numbers because I wanted the Kittiwake and a Little Gull for 2014, and their absence meant I wouldn't likely find the other two birds I was really looking forward to. Not all was lost though. You can't beat a Bald Eagle and on our way out I spotted a female American Kestrel carrying a mouse up to a telephone pole. Good stuff indeed. 2014 is going to be a great year.