A year ago I wouldn't have had an idea what a rare bird sighting was. I really didn't know that so many beautiful and exotic birds make it to Newfoundland on a wing and a prayer, driven by high winds from Europe, Asia, and all points south of us. How do you know if it is a rare bird or not? Ask the birders in the community and the answer is sure to come with the documented dates of previous sightings (when and where) and a story about how it unfolded. In my searches across the WWW, I came across the Avibase - Bird Checklists of the World - http://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/checklist.jsp?region=canl&list=howardmoore and found a checklist that was reportedly last reviewed in August 2009. I can't attest to its accuracy, but it is a handy tool.
Avibase reports that there are 387 species reported in Newfoundland. For sure that is out of date because the list doesn't include the Slaty-backed Gull that was sighted last year and this year. It also provides info on the species introduced to the province, the threatened species as well as rare and accidental species. In 99% of the cases I was able to see the rare species because of the postings on the NL Birds Discussion Group. This has been one of the most effective and most used resources for this province's birdwatchers.
It is funny how some birds will linger and others just pop in for a rest. The Hooded Merganser stayed around four about two weeks and showed very nicely while the Redhead was a "now you see it; now you don't" bird. I was the lucky one that first spotted this bird and documented its visit with a photo.
An October Empidonax at Cape Race, Newfoundland
1 month ago