Sunday, June 29, 2014

Power's Road

 While there was nothing rare on Power's Road yesterday, it was not dull.
Most of the songs have faded away as many species are now gathering food for their young. I only saw one female Redstart among numerous males.
 The surprise was seeing two Rusty Blackbirds at Murray's Pond. I would have thought they, too, would be busy child-rearing.
 Many of the birds were tucked away among the branches and leaves. It takes a little extra effort to see the birds these days.
 There was no mistaking that there are young Wilson's Warblers in the nests now. Every Wilson's I saw had its mouth chock full of protein.
I marvel at  how even with their mouth full, these little birds can continue to catch more. Gotta enjoy every stage of the short time these birds are in our midst.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Perils of Birding

 Took the day to spend outdoors, and had an adventure that could have been a misadventure. The Cape was all fogged in this morning, so I spent some time birding the sides of Blackhead Road on my way out from Cape Spear. I parked below a hill and walked back up to see if I could find the birds I heard as I drove by. All was calm as I was enjoying watching and photographing this female Blackpoll Warbler.
 Then, I heard the sound of hooves on pavement. I looked up and there heading right for me was a good-sized, young moose coming full-on. I had about 5 seconds to make a choice - take cover or take a picture.
 Well, I took cover, best I could. I stepped over the guard rail which you can see is only about knee-high. I figured if it did come after me, at least I could duck down and maybe the rail would take the brunt of the force. It galloped down the road, staring at me as it went by. I think it was travelling too fast to detour toward me.
Once I was sure I was not going to be run over, I got brave enough to lift the camera to fire off a few shots before it reached the bottom of the hill and darted into the woods. No fear? Well, just a little.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Capelin are Running!

 A time-honored tradition can't be ignored. I wanted to get some capelin for smoking, drying and frying (outdoors, of course.)
 I really didn't want to take on the evening crowd and parking madness at Middle Cove Beach, so I waited until high tide early the next morning. I live about 7 minutes to Middle Cove. Well, twenty minutes after I left home, I returned with a bucket full of flopping, little fish.
It took longer to clean them up, pat them dry, bag them and brine a few. I am about to go fire up the BBQ to see just how good they are this year.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I just popped into Nature Blog Network's bird blog list. I was surprised to find my site sitting at #40 out of 537 listed blogs. That is the top 7%.

Then, I had a look at Fat Birder's list and found my site is #168 out of 1196 bird blogs. That places it in the top 14% of worldwide bird blogs. I am absolutely astounded.

This says a lot about the world's interest in birding in Newfoundland.

Maybe if I put in a little more work, I can move the blog even more up the list.

Alvan Buckley's encouragement has also elevated the province's profile on eBird. That, too, will serve to increase public interest in birding in this province. Birding individuals and tours coming to this province are treated to top notch guides and great birds. We have some of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic birders in the world living right here.

I find it really remarkable how when a community pulls together, great things can happen.

Pictured above: Margie McMillan's Ruby.

Least Sandpipers

 While this is not a very timely post, it was sitting in the cue. These two Least Sandpipers were found in Goulds in May in a field that was being frequented by our visiting Sandhill Crane. What a contrast in size of those two species.
 Almost like clockwork, Least Sandpipers appear somewhere in Goulds in May and then move on to other grounds.

I have also seen some in Cape Broyle in May, as well. While they are seldom here in great numbers, we will likely see some more in August when the shorebirds come back. The Least Sandpiper kind of marks the beginning of good birding, but when the masses of shorebirds turn up, it is a sure sign that summer birding is winding down.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Quick Trip to Cape Spear - Not!

 "I'm going to take a quick run to Cape Spear. I won't be long." Five hours later I return home. How does that happen, over and over.
 Well, there is just so much to see and to admire. Start with several icebergs floating off Blackhead, add a pod of whales swimming by, a Spring Azure, a Spear-marked Black Moth, a stunning Pine Grosbeak singing its beautiful song, a feisty American Pipit, and a curious Savannah Sparrow.
 And there you have it! No rare birds, but spectacular all the same.
 Captivated by each vision and sound, it is so easy to lose track of the sands through the hour glass.
 The best thing to do when venturing out birding is to leave your watch at home and stay as long as it takes to savoir each moment.,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

American Pipit Story

A pair of American Pipits have returned to Cape Spear, likely, to breed. It was a real pleasure to see the young ones there last year.
 One of the pipits is cool, calm and collected; the other feisty! The relaxed pipit settled in on a rock for its morning grooming and a little sunning on a warm rock.
 The spirited pipit couldn't stand it. It buzzed the carefree pipit, jumped over it, and was generally irritating.
 When nothing else would work, the plucky pipit jumped right in front of the other and began a long harangue that went on for nearly a minute.
Totally unaffected by this behaviour, the composed pipit looked the other way until it just had enough and took flight. It looks like these two will have a rocky relationship in the weeks to come.

Spear-marked Black Moth

Saw a different flying thing yesterday and asked for assistance in identifying it. With a little help from my friends, I now know this is a Spear-marked Black Moth. Note the spears in the pattern.

I thought the body seemed large for a butterfly, but the unique markings seemed strange for a moth.

This moth is only about one-half inch in size, very small. Yet, it can be very destructive to birch trees. Common in all of North America, they appear in abundance about every 17 years and are not particularly welcome. I added this moth to my butterfly page.

Found on Blackhead Road near the village of Blackhead.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Simply Birding

 Even an uneventful day of birding can bring great joy.
 It seems second nature now for me to peer deep into the brush, scan the sky and listen for the unfamiliar - all in search of the rare bird.
 That kind of preoccupation can sometimes cause me to miss the simple pleasure of watching a common bird going about its business.
Yesterday, I slowed my pace and really soaked in the beauty of each bird.
 I suspect nesting is well underway, now, because several times  little birds came out on their own to watch my every move.
 Often they chipped and flitted around me. These are sure signs of protective behaviour.
 None were so obvious as this pair of Yellow Warblers.
 They double-teamed me and were clearly asking me to leave.
 I took a few moments to get these close-up shots of the female and then moved quickly on my way.
 It's a beautiful day out there, making this the third such day over the last seven. That is a record for this Spring!
Now, the quandary: My yard desperately needs my attention, but I feel this strange magnetic-like pull to just go birding instead.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ruby-throated Hummingbird in East End

 On a dark and dingy spring day, it just happened I was in the right place at the right time.
Margie Mcmillan's colorful spring garden lured in an unexpected guest - a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird!
Her garden has hosted several special guests over the years, including Common Redpoll, a possible Hoary Redpoll, a Yellow-throated Warbler and now .... Well, the pictures tell the story.
 With this unseasonably cold spring, will the hummingbird come back seeking an easy meal? Only time will tell.
 Maybe there will be an influx of hummingbirds all over the city! Who knows? After today's high winds, I will put out my feeder and hope for a miracle, too.