Saturday, May 12, 2018

Purple Gallinule!

 What a treat! Chris Denine spotted and photographed this bird yesterday. Fortunately, he posted it on the Facebook NL Birdwatching Group.
 That led numerous birders to hit the Waterford Bridge area this morning. It was relocated. What a beautiful bird!
 It would be very easy to miss this bird as it tended to move into the tall grass and stay put for periods of time. To watch it walk as it lifted its large yellow feet through the grass was quite the sight.
 Once when it came out it worked its way down to the waters edge and eventually went into the water before re-entering the tall grass.
 Two similar birds to this Purple Gallinule are the American Coot (seen annually at Quidi Vidi Lake and Virginia Lake) and a Common Moorhen (seen most recently at an artificial pond at Bally Haly Golf Course in St. John's.) Pictures of the Coot and Moorhen can be seen by running a search of previous posts located at the top of this page.
 Enough said. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Palm Warblers in Good Numbers

 I set out yesterday morning to have a walk and watch specifically for a Palm Warbler. It turned out better than I expected.
 After only 10 minutes with feet on the ground, a Palm Warbler hopped up out of the trail onto a branch. The trail around Cape Spear was not the place I expected to see one.
 Yet, this great little bird, seeming to be a little tired, stayed around for a good while. Its beautiful yellow glowed in the morning light. Mission accomplished! Now, it was time to do a lot of walking.
 I chose several trails along the side of Blackhead Road. In the distance I saw movement. Not risking losing the bird without an ID, I raised my camera rather than binoculars. It was surprising to see another Palm Warbler sitting on a tree.

While looking at the distant bird, another Palm flew in and landed on a branch near me. Then, another... What? At one point I had all three in my view at the same time confirming the presence of three.  Four Palm Warblers in one day, that is unusual. In addition to these, there have been at least two others reported around St. John's. Nice!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Goulds' Observations

 On a glorious Spring morning this week,  I walked numerous trails in Goulds. Wow! Could this possibly be April? I gradually peeled away the layers of clothing,. Truly my kind of day.
 As I walked around Third Pond, I was surprised by this Mink that slithered into the water too near me for comfort. It swam a short distance and then made eye contact with me.
 After a short standoff, it started toward me again. Uh.....
 It was with relief that I watched as it turned and began to swim away. This creature was a jumbo Mink. I have never seen one quite to large. When I looked up the average size of this fur-bearer, it is typically 24" at adulthood. This one was bigger than that.
 At Bidgood Park, I was interested in this Osprey that was soaring like an eagle, round and round over a field. Why? Puzzled by this fish-eating bird, I watched until it flew off.
 About ten minutes later it appeared on the horizon and flew right over me. Where had it gone?
 When it got close enough, I realized it was carrying something in its talons. Not a fish.... Pictures revealed it to be a piece of plastic. Plastic, plastic everywhere.
As it flew over the park, I could only imagine it had been looking for padding for its nest. No time wasted as this species is just returning to its breeding grounds. There must be a nest somewhere south of the park.

Also seen in Goulds were five Green Comma and one Spring Azure Butterflies. Commas have been out in the area since April 22.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Northern Shoveler at Virginia Lake

 Yesterday morning, I scooted around town to try to see a few birds originally found by others. I was doing pretty good until I reached Lundrigan Marsh.
 I was able to see one Lesser Yellowlegs, but only when it was spooked by the dozen eagles. Every time they shifted position the yellowlegs darted from one spot to another. One yellow legs was missing. Hope it wasn't breakfast for one of those very hungry-looking eagles.
 The ducks at the marsh were flying around all over the marsh and slipping out of sight into the reeds on the edge of the water.
 It was possible I saw a set of shoveler's in the area, but I left unsure.
 Moving on, I decided to check Virginia Lake. The moment I entered the trail to the beach, I spotted this pair of Northern Shovelers. Maybe this was the Lundrigan pair relocated to a quieter place.
 They were abiding, staying in the area, preening and settling in for a nap.
From there I walked Kenny's pond where I got an amazing look at a young eagle in hot pursuit of a Northern Pintail. The duck got away and the eagle left quickly. Birds were moving around enjoying the warm weather just as were residents of the city. Gotta love this warm spell!