Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Survivor Newfoundland!

 Winter birding has come to a close in Newfoundland, and my Winter List reached 100, just barely. That was better than last year's 88, but then again, I was working during that time.
Winter has brought us a real mixed bag of weather filled with mounds of snow, high winds and chilling temps, making it hard to get out to look for birds under these conditions.
 Yet, through it all, there were some errant birds that dropped in during Fall migration and never left. These hardy survivors have made Winter a little more interesting for us all.

With nothing new dropping in, except for the IVORY GULL, these survivors have been eyed over and over as we patiently await the Spring migrants to drop in.

 Some of these vagrants have been no ordinary species for us. This Pink-footed Goose really doesn't seem like it is struggling to survive, but rather seems to be spending enjoyable day after enjoyable day at the Bowring Spa, where food is delivered daily and a parade of paparazzi fuels his ego.
All of the species pictured here  (although some of the shots are not the actual bird) have been seen deep into Winter and reported as late as February. The only one known to have met its demise was the Baltimore Oriole that was thriving until it was snatched by a Sharp-shinned Hawk.
The Tree Sparrow, still at Caledonia Place, is becoming more and more visible. Almost each time I drop into the area, I catch sight of him.

 The Northern Mockingbird of Roche Street was recently seen after a long absence. With the shortage of berries and cone crops this year, these rare species for NL are staying close to feeders.
In the absence of the finch we usually see at this time of the year, it has certainly been a breath of fresh air to be able to get out and search for these present species like the Northern Shoveller, the Gadwall, the Yellow-breasted Chat and the Northern Mockingbird that keep moving around from pond to pond and yard to yard.

This morning, I was looking at the Weather Channel web site and saw a video filmed in Clarenville where someone was feeding the ducks. Among them I saw another American Coot and two very small little ducks. I couldn't see them well, but I venture they were Green-winged Teal. When I saw that, I was thinking there are probably a lot of other rare or uncommon birds tucked away in unknown places around the province wishing Spring would come.
Last, but not least is this little Yellow-rumped Warbler - the last known surviving warbler. When first seen, this little bird looked frail and scared. Bruce Mactavish has maintained a steady supply of suet in the area of the Waterford Valley, and as a result, this little bird will likely make it through to welcome his buddies back in the Spring. Nevertheless, just because the official Winter birding season is over, it doesn't mean Winter is over. We are sure to see these special visitors fight through a couple of more storms during March. Most of those who survive will move on when the worst of the weather ends, and we welcome them back any time.


  1. Hi Lisa. Thanks to your hard work and diligence too, we have all shared in a great community spirit in the name of birding Newfoundland. I like your writing and blogging style. In todays world where we are bombarded with information and knowledge overload, we have to weed out so much. Your activities garner an attentive focus from me personally, as we share this common interest. I look forward to your latest finds. WHen I am not reading and gleaning knowledge about birds I am out there trying to find the next rare sighting in order to contribute my own part to this community. Have a great and fortunate day, Lisa.

  2. How kind of you to say. Thank you.