Monday, May 10, 2010

Red-necked Phalarope

While the Southern Shore has been teeming with Southern and European species, birding around St. John's hasn't been that great for the last few days. Things are turning around now. Today, I was birding Goulds and added four new birds to my annual list. These include Tree Swallows, Canada Goose, a yet-to-be identified hawk and this little seabird pictured here.

This tiny little seabird is only about 20 cm long. I think I could fit it in the palm of my hand. Typically, they are at sea about 9 months of the year but they clearly do come inland.

This little female Red-necked Phalarope has been sitting in a small puddle of water called the Ruby Line Pond. It is quite tame and not easily flushed. This one swam right over to me and had a good look.

These are the true colors of this bird with no adjustments needed. With this species, the female is the more brightly colored bird which is the reverse of most species.

This little bird is very interesting to watch. It spins in a circle, note the pattern of waves around it, and stirs up aquatic vegetation and other possible food. Once it has stirred the water well, it begins to eat whatever has surfaced.

Some field guides indicate that this bird should not be in Newfoundland, but "The Birds of Newfoundland Field Guide" does list this bird. This suggests that the bird is a frequent visitor to the island. Apparently, this one arrived quite early in the season.

I have heard that this little pond on Ruby Line has a history of special and unusual landings. If you travel in that area, keep an eye out. To see this small bird, it may be necessary to get the binoculars out because it is hard to spot from any distance.

This image makes the Phalarope look much bigger than it is. All the time that I watched it, I kept thinking about how small it is. It was frisky and healthy as it continually moved around the pond to feed.

I think this is one of my favorite little birds so far.

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