Friday, January 15, 2016

Newfoundland Birding January 7-12,2016

Hi Everyone 
If you every have an opportunity to bird watch in Newfoundland during the winter its an amazing time. I spent 6 days birding around St.John's and the Avalon. Lots of interesting birds and great views. Two of the days Bruce Mactavish accompanied us as we birded along the south shore of the Avalon and various locations around St.John's. Definitely the highlight of the trip was the south shore of the Avalon. Below is a post from the Newfoundland birds by Bruce Mactavish. 

What a great winters day birding down the shore. Was with two Ontario birders Bruce Di Labio and Laurie Brown. Dovekie is always a target bird and that bird was scored in Aces. There was some phenomena with large numbers of Dovekies feeding in close to shore at a few locations, with Aquaforte, Portugal Cove South, Biscay Bay and St Vincents Beach being the headliner locations. Dovekies were present in small numbers flying about at Bear Cove, Cape Race, Long Beach, Pt La Haye but not so much on the water.  It was not only Dovekies but other alcids, in fact all six species.  The birds were diving a lot as if getting plenty to eat. Lots of loons at same locations. Conditions were IDEAL, nearly no wind any where and nice overcast light. 

Dovekie - 50 feeding by wharf and ice edge farther up inlet. Lots of chirping and activity. 

Dovekie none where were had 25 feeding last weekend 

a handful of Dovekies in flight, none on the water, no Kings among the few hundred eiders 

CAPE RACE Road,  hardly any Dovekies along the road yet superb viewing conditions. THE DROOK was devoid - just one Red-necked Grebe and two Common Loons. Very odd.  Long Beach was dead. No Dovekies on water here. Cripple Cove a handful of Dovekies on water, 8 Surf Scoters 50 Purple Sandpipers etc. Cape Race pretty quiet, didn't stay too long, there was a light trickle of northward flying Dovekies. Not many eiders. 
Snowy Owl - 1 heavily barred immature west of Long Beach 
American Pipit - 1 at Miners Lettuce Patch 

Dovekie - 120 (lots of chirping) 
Common Murre - 2 
Razorbill - 5 
Atlantic Puffin -2 (one feeding 10 m off beach) 
Black Guillemots - yes 
Red-throated Loon - 1 
Common Loon - 25 
Red-necked Grebe - 3 

Main feeding area half way along beach and within 150 m of shore, many within 50 m, some Dovekies 2 m from beach.  All looking very frisky, healthy, very active and alive, seemed like a feeding frenzy. 

BISCAY BAY (supreme viewing conditions) 
Dovekie - 200+ (mainly in mouth of bay so not close 
Razorbill - 5 
Common Murre - 5 
Black Guillemot - yes 
Horned Grebe - 2 
Red-necked Grebe - 3 
Red-throated Loon - 12 (probably a record high winter count) 
Common Loon - 15+ 
lots of singing Long-tailed Ducks plus 30+ RB Mergansers, 6 Greater Scaup etc. 
Northern Harrier - 1 (same bird for 1+ month?) 

Dovekie - 10 
Razorbill - 2 close to beach 
Common Loons - plenty 

Snowy Owl - 1 near St. Shotts turn off but didn't go to St. Shotts so that we could fit in St Vincents 

ST.VINCENTS BEACH (including Peters River) 
viewing mainly from the bank at west end of guard rail at roughly the half way point of the entire beach. Viewing conditions superb. Loons were scattered everywhere, some kms from shore. We nearly gave up on the Pacific Loon but in the end saw it quite close to our position with an active feeding flock of 8 Common Loons. no good photos yet great scope views 

Common Loon - 30 at most - low 
Dovekie - 200+ 
Atlantic Puffin - 1 
Razorbill - 25+ 
Common Murre - 20 
Thick-billed Murre - 2 
Black Guillemots - yes 
Red-necked Grebe - 2 

tide was rising, a fly by 25 Purple Sandpipers. No other shorebirds. Small eider flock 

It was getting dark. A great day. 


Hard to beat a winter days birding in Newfoundland! 
Good birding,

Bald Eagles are a regular sight over Quidi Vidi Lake. 

The Eurasian Green-winged Teal or Common Teal regularly winters in the St.John's area.  

Dovekies were easy to see along the coast this trip. 

Late lingering birds are regularly found in Newfoundland during January. This Orange-crowned Warbler was one of four species of warblers we observed. 

A Yellow-breasted Chat played hide and seek most of the time. 

Eurasian Wigeons also overwinter on the island. This group was at Spaniard's Bay.

Depending on the berry crop a small number of Northern Flickers can be found in St.John's during the winter months. 

A winter Atlantic Puffin was a nice treat.

Tufted Ducks are easy to find around St. john's during the winter months. up to 40 birds were in the area. 

A Wilson's Warbler along Kellys Brook in St.John's attracted lots of birders and photographers. 

Gull watching can be very exciting in St.John's at Quidi Vidi Lake. A few 1000 gulls regularly roost on the lake during the day. Up to 8 species were observed plus a few hybrids. 

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