Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Scarlet Tanager

Alas, the sun popped out. That is prime time to try to take pictures of birds. I decided to check out what I might find in Goulds, particularly in the yard on Petty Harbour Road where the warblers have congregated.

In this yard there are about five huge, 50 foot pine trees, and birds of all sorts have gathered in the tops of these trees. I pulled in to the parking area across the road that backs on Forest Pond and turned off the car. Within a minute I spotted something red at the top of the tree.

At first I thought some trash had blown up in the tree.  With the winds we have been having, that was entirely possible. I grabbed my binos to get a better look and there, much to my surprise and delight, was this great red bird. I didn't waste any time grabbing my camera and jumping out of the car.  Shy or not, I was going to have to go into the driveway to get any pictures. This bird was perched at the top of the tree and I was shooting straight up. The only saving grace was that the sun was shinning. With a bit of patience and luck, this great Scarlet Tanager moved into my viewfinder.

The Scarlet Tanager does not appear in the new "Birds of Newfoundland Field Guide" because it is a rare visitor to this province. Since birds with red on them are my favorite, I was so happy to see and photograph this bird.

This Scarlet Tanager is in its breeding plumage of all red with black wings and tail. Once this period passes, this bird will molt into a mixture of yellow and dull green with some red patches. To get to see this bird in its breeding plumage is very special. I am aware of about three or four sightings reported this year. 

This bird moved around a lot and stayed very high in the trees at all times. I didn't observe it singing at any time during the 30 minutes that I observed it.

I was reading that it may visit feeders that offer bread crumbs, cornmeal and peanut butter. I think I will give this a try.

Even for a casual bird watcher, be sure to have a pair of binoculars in your car or on you. If you see a flash of red, you will definitely want to get a closer look of this great bird.


  1. thats the suprises you remember..beautiful picture

  2. I have one that's been visiting my garden all this week in Bay Robert's. Absolutely beautiful!