Thursday, January 14, 2010

January 13, 14, & 15, 2010 Redwing and more birding in Newfoundland.

Birding on January 13th was again great, the highlight being a REDWING, a European thrush that occasionally reaches Newfoundland during the late fall and winter. It breeds close-by in Greenland and Iceland. The Redwing was spotted by my good friend and fellow birder, Bruce Mactavish, who lives in St. John's. The Redwing was in a flock of 75+ American Robins feeding on Mountain Ash or Dog Berry. Bruce and I have quite a history. We both grew up in Ottawa in the late 60's/early 70's and were part of the legendary "Bike Gang". The "gang" was a group of 8-10 teenage birders who used the only means of transportation available to them, their bikes, to bird the entire Ottawa region. In the early birding days, Bruce was well known for his amazing skills in finding rarities and on this trip, he continued his legacy. The Redwing made a few brief appearances before flying off with the flock of American Robins. The Redwing was located the following 2 days by local birding guide, Dave Brown, and photographed.
Bruce also taught me a new birding technique, called "ditch birding". In winter, ditch birding is regularly checking open creeks, streams and wet areas for rarities. We spent a couple of afternoons "ditch birding", hoping to find an Eurasian Woodcock, Common Snipe or Jack Snipe. We did find 5 Wilson's Snipe.
We also visited a number of feeders on the Avalon Peninsula. Small numbers of Song and White-throated Sparrows and a small flock of Common Grackles were observed. Other birds of note for the day included 4 Horned Grebe, 3 Red-throated Loon, 1 Rough-legged Hawk and a Common Murre. Unfortunately Dovekie's which are usually easy to see, were not cooperating on our tour of the Avalon. The next day we birded in the St. John's area and had great views of a number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. On January 15th we birded the South Shore Road area of the Avalon and had great views of a flock of Purple Sandpipers with a few Ruddy Turnstone. The winds were strong 40+km and the seas were rough making observations on the water difficult.
All in all a wonderful trip to Newfoundland!

One of a number of Purple Sandpipers at Pt. Lay Haye

A winter plumage Ruddy Turnstone having breakfast.

Resting in the wind.

Enjoying a clam.

Both the Ruddy Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper were equally interested in the clams.

Slippery when wet!

Relaxing in the water.

Enjoying a meal.

The Bruce's scanning over Biscay Bay.

A dark morph Rough-legged Hawk near St. Shotts.

Patience was necessary for seeing the Redwing

Bruce Mactavish searching for rarities.

One of 5 Wilson's Snipe seen while " ditch birding".

Is it a Wilson's or a Common Snipe?

A winter plumage Common Murre along the Avalon Peninsula.

A Harp and Harbour Seal sharing a dock.

A close up of the Harbour Seal.

St. John's Harbour

1 comment:

Frode Jacobsen said...

The snipe portrayed in flight looks to me like a Common Snipe, with white underwing coverts and white trailing edge to the secondaries. See here for some comparable flight shots of a Wilson's Snipe from the Azores last fall: