Today is the last day of the year and my last chance to reach my goal of 100 species in 2016. Late last night as I looked over my list to see what birds I might be able to add today, I noticed I had duplicated American Black Duck. Just like that I had dropped from 98 birds to 97 and my goal seemed even harder to reach in one day. As I realized I needed to find three new species today, I decided I needed to go somewhere new and I headed to Hamilton.
My first stop was Windermere Basin. I headed straight to the creek and saw a ton of waterfowl, but most of them flew away and I didn’t see any birds I didn’t know already. There were more birds farther off, so I headed back to my car to grab my scope to get a better view. On the way I nabbed a picture of a Ring-necked Duck, but didn’t know what it was or whether it was a new species. I was there for probably 30 minutes, still wasn’t sure if I had seen any new species and was starting to get discouraged, but then I saw a big bird soaring south of me and got my binoculars on it. I immediately saw a white tail and saw it dive to catch a fish. Shortly after, I saw the white head which confirmed my first new species of the day: Bald Eagle. After knocking out my first species, the others started coming: Northern Shoveler, Redneck, Ruddy Duck, and American Coot. As I headed back to my car I knew I had reached my goal with at least four new species and a possible two extra once I had checked my guide.
On the way home, I stopped at the Burlington Canal. Within moments of getting there, I saw a Peregrine Falcon. I headed to the end of the Canal and ran into another birder who helped me identify the two species from photos I took at Windermere. She also point out the King Eider that was there! By the end of the day, I had eight new species for a total of 105 this year.