Back in October 2022, a guy called Gus reached out to me by e-mail. He’d found me via the BritHikesOntario YouTube Channel and wrote some kind words and, after some back and forth, also wondered if he could perhaps join me birding. Well, why not? I was in England at the time and then it was pretty much the Christmas period and so on and so forth. However! We did manage to get out together last weekend, January 8th.

Gus had been getting into birding over the last few months. It’s a hobby he used to enjoy, but life had taken over, and he was looking to get back into it and was looking for some refreshers. I have to say, it was a fairly quiet day. A bit of a chilly one. I’d have liked for him to have seen the same Snowy Owl that I posted about on my 250 Bird Challenge Trip to Colonel Sam Smith Park a few days ago. The owl appeared to have departed, perhaps along with the melting ice and snow following a few warmer days.

Speaking of the 250 Bird Challenge, I did not film on this particular outing so that I could more easily speak to Gus and, besides, it wasn’t a very productive day. We did add one species towards our 250 goal, though. On the remaining floating rafts of ice out on the mariner, were a couple of Herring Gulls. One was an adult, the other a juvenile enjoying its first winter.

This gull, despite being a juvenile, was larger than the surrounding Ring-billed Gulls (the more common gull species in The GTA). The black beak and heavy mottling make this a juvenile. It takes about four years for them to form their full adult appearance.

Myself and The Wife Sara, who also joined us, pointed out some of the winter ducks that were present. Long-tailed, Greater Scaup, American Black Ducks, Goldeneye, Bufflehead… basically all the same species that have been around for the last few days. The Horned Grebe and Red-breasted Mergansers were still present, but no Common Loon. I was able to point out a few American Tree Sparrows to Gus, a winter bird that will leave once we are into Spring. How far away that seems right now…

No video from this trip, but I’ll have news of a rare bird sighting coming soon!

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I’m Stu and I go by the nickname “BritHikesOntario”. I’m a displaced British bloke living in Ontario, Canada. I create videos, write stuff and take photographs that all aim to capture the essence of Ontario. Together with my wife, Sara, I enjoy showcasing the birds, landscape, nature and wildlife of this beautiful province!
I hope that you’ll enjoy discovering Ontario with me!