Wendy Park and into icy Lake Erie. Legions of gulls, roiled aloft by the ship's passage, create a cloud. Gulls are a big part of the allure. Amongst the throngs of Herring and Ring-billed Gulls are rarer species, and picking through the masses to find them is actually fun for some of us.
East 72nd Street. That's the plant on the left; the busy State Route 2/90 expressway is between the plant and your picture-taking narrator, and Lake Erie is on the right. The plant pumps warm water into the lake, and thus keeps a patch open and ice-free. The unfrozen oasis often lures mobs of gulls and other interesting waterbirds.
Note the plant's large stack - the farthest to the left.
CLICK HERE for adult kittiwakes) in the looks department. The bird is an artistic study in patterns of black, gray, and white. The bold W-pattern on the wings is offset by a sooty neck collar and inky tail band, creating an unmistakable appearance.
Black-legged Kittiwake is quite the rarity in Ohio, with a relative handful seen each year. Nearly all are in November and December, and most are non-lingering flybys. Once in a while one tarries into winter, but seldom are they as cooperative as this bird is. Many birders have seen it, and the bird has made for more than a few new checks on life lists. I spent nearly two hours at this spot, in total, and ran into lots of birders, including many seldom seen friends SUCH AS THESE.
After an excited chase, the falcon departed the hot waters sans kittiwake, and rocketed out towards the gulls roosting further out on the ice. Its progressive was marked by clouds of gulls swirling aloft, and eventually the falcon singled out one of the few Bonaparte's Gulls in the area. The raptor harried the small gull and eventually snatched it and headed back to shore. Through our optics, we watched as the gull struggled valiantly, its wings flapping wildly. The wildly struggling gull eventually proved too much for the falcon to grasp, and it dropped it. As if upset by this failure, the falcon raced around the gulls like a fighter jet, creating a massive uproar, before eventually soaring back to its lofty perch atop the power plant's tower.
All in a day's birding on the Cleveland lakefront.