Sunday, March 4, 2012

Waterfowl in Newfoundland

 I don't think I had anything in mind when I first started compiling this routine bird report, other than having a place to put my pictures. Over time, many benefit and surprises have sprung from it.  For me, it is a "talking out loud" way of learning about the many species that surround us on a daily basis.  I didn't expect it to grow as large as it has, and I certainly didn't anticipate the number of visitors the site would draw, nor the special surprises that have arisen because of it.
The most recent surprise came yesterday afternoon when I opened my e-mail and found a request to put a number of my waterfowl pictures on an album section of the Watervogelbond Waterfowl  Association in Belgium My appreciation goes out to Chris Cornelissen who took the time to look at my pictures and sort them to develop a waterfowl collection that he has posted on his album page:
http://watervogelbond.jalbum.net/ 

His kind remarks are appreciated.
 To welcome any new visitors who may pop into my site as a result of his posting, I have sorted back through a few of my folders for pictures of waterfowl taken from November 2011 to date.
 When out bird watching, I may not have gone to a location to find ducks, but when there, I am so taken by their beauty that I can't help but photograph them. It is because of this fascination that I often have numerous pictures of many species of waterfowl sitting on my hard drive.
 I found Bruce McTavish's Evening Telegram article very interesting this week as he wrote about the abundance of ducks that are sitting comfortably on our ponds and inshore waters.  It seems that the urbanization of the Avalon Peninsula has actually better enabled us to see so many different kinds of waterfowl. 
According to Bruce, the upshot of residential properties has encroached on former fowl hunting areas and has provided a safe haven for numerous species of water birds.
 There are no birders complaining about this. There is one area though in Goulds where hunters haven't quite got the picture that it is dangerous to hunt in populated areas.  It seems that an uncommon pair of Blue-winged Teal fell victim to a bullet in a people-busy area.
In the same area a very large flock of Red-breasted Mergansers dropped in for a two-minute stopover before moving on. It was wonderful to see them, but frankly, I was glad that got away.
Kelly's Brook which is a very small marshy area right in the middle of town seems to draw at least one small rare bird a year but is an annual wintering ground for both Common and Eurasian Teal. Though quite shy, they can be seen on most any day in the same area.
 Burton's Pond, a small pond on the university campus, has been hosting a number of Tufted Ducks this year. When so many of the ponds are frozen, this little one seems to always have an open area when the ducks can gather until the next thaw.
I can't help but think that the university students who take the time to look must really enjoy the ponytail sported by these great little diving ducks.
How fortunate we are to be able to see so many different kinds of waterfowl. Among the rare and uncommon visitors that have dropped  in are the Ruddy Duck, Northern Shoveller, Bufflehead, Pink-footed Goose, Brant Goose, Gadwall, Redhead, and so many more. It is always a good idea to check out the ponds to see if any new species have stopped off for a rest.

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