No matter, I spent two hours at the end of the pier watching the avian show. Lots of the true feathered tough guys gamboled about as if on a Floridian spring break. Herring gulls were abundant, having usurped the ring-billed gull's normal rank as commonest gull, as is always the case when true winter sets in. Lots of giant great black-backed gulls were about, looking nearly eaglesque from afar. A few ghostly arctic larids made the scene, a pair of glaucous gulls and an Iceland gull. There were scores of mergansers, both common and red-breasted, and many common goldeneyes. The latter is sometimes known as "whistler" due to the distinctive quavering sound produced by their wings in flight - a sound I was treated to on several occasions. As nearly always, a rogue American coot was toughing it out - world's toughest rail!
Upon arrival to Lorain Harbor, I noticed a sizable elongate dark smudge on the ice, as seen in the above photograph. A polynya - packed with fowl! Aside II: "Polynya" is a Russian word that refers to an open water patch among sea ice. It's a great word that was brought into the birder lexicon when it was discovered in 1995 that spectacled eiders, whose whereabouts in winter was previously a mystery, were overwintering on polynyas in the Bering Sea. I see no reason why it can't be adapted to freshwater conditions.
I spent quite some time watching this amazing frenzy of life in an otherwise frozen landscape. Birds were always coming and going - how do they take off and land in this crowd?! - and I bet the underwater view of the feeding birds would be incredible. There's a challenge for a serious aquatic videographer!