Having rejigged my weather benchmarks for birding this winter, I haven't gotten out much. Nevertheless, when the weather offers up a fair day, I jump at the chance to get out. Yesterday was one of those days. With temps hovering around freezing and winds at about 15 clicks, I hit the road for Cape Spear. It has been more than two months since I exited my car at this location, and I was looking forward to a stroll around the grounds.
Very few birds were flying by. Guillemot were plentiful, a few Long-tailed Ducks flew in, the usual cormorants were flying back and forth, but there was no sign of the Purple Sandpiper. Several times along my walk, I thought I heard the sounds of small birds. I scanned and scanned the area to try to locate the sound. Just about to give up, I headed toward the parking lot. It was then, I caught sight of a flash of movement. Excitement! It was really nice and unexpected to see these two Common Redpoll feasting on the seeds in the low growth.
Satisfied, I headed to Quidi Vidi Lake to see if I could get some extended looks at the lingering Redwing Blackbird. It was very cooperative, after the four fishermen finished casting near its zone.
The bird went on about its routine as if I weren't there. Finding food at the ice edge has kept this bird alive for months. It cycled through picking at the water, preening and even singing.
At one point, while preening, it flashed its bright orange patch on the wing. As this bird ages, it will become more back, and the patch will turn a deeper red.
This blackbird was so cooperative, I lingered for a long time watching its cycle. This is an example of one of the nice moments birdwatching has to offer: A good look at a bird that is not always around.
Before leaving, I started to check over the many seagulls sitting on the ice. Just as a spotted one bird with a different gray mantle, this happened! Oh, well....