The variety of birds showing up in Goulds is increasing. This small, farming community plays host to a number of different species that rarely appear in St. John's proper, making it one of the best places to "bird" during spring migration. Among the earlier birds to return are the swallows. Typically, the Tree Swallows return first (with an average return date of May 7, according to Ken Knowles), followed by the Barn Swallows. One of the best places to see these birds is at the race track.
In the surrounding, swampy area, it is easy to see Song Sparrows and Swamp Sparrows as shown here. While the reeds are thick and high, the song easily gives away its location.
What a difference a day makes! I was at the track one day, and there was no sign of the Swamp Sparrows; the next day, they were all around me.
Of course, I can't visit the track without thoroughly enjoying the horses working out on the track. Due to financial challenges, it is possible the track my have to close. Being from Arkansas, one of the hot spots for thoroughbred racing, I love the races. It would be a great disappointment and a loss to Goulds and the province, if the track were unable to stay open.
This unique venue offers a great day of entertainment for the whole family. I just hope a solution is found to keep the races running.
Back to birding: From Third Pond, race track area, I typically head to Bidgood's Park where there is sure to be some activity. On this particular day, I saw three hares before I even got out of my car. Their size is much larger than I remembered.
Butterflies are putting in an appearance. I saw four of these Mourning Cloak at the park and further up Power's Road. In addition, I heard two singing birds about 2 kms up the road that I could not identify. I was sure they were not the common birds that have recently shown up such as sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Their identity remains a mystery because I never did get a clear look. One flew away from me, and the only feature I could discern was size - small. However, with the song, I don't think it was a kinglet. Weather being what it is, I haven't been back over to Power's Road again to continue the hunt.
In the meantime, there was no trouble finding the boisterous Northern Waterthrush. It was singing full-on, looking quite happy to be back in Newfoundland.
On the day last week that I travelled up Power's Road, it was in good condition, but very dusty. That won't be the case now with all of the RDF going on, but the road will be filled with ATVs and May 2-4 campers. By next week, it would be good to check this area again to see what else may have shown up this week.
On my last stop on Power's Road, this juvenile Bald Eagle appeared just over the tree tops and swooped down toward me. What a fright! However, I clearly wasn't what s/he had in mind as it flew right over the road and disappeared into the distance.
On my way out of the road, just when I thought all the action was over, I heard a very loud band of crows. Taking a moment to stop and look, I found them chasing this adult Northern Goshawk!
It wasn't long ago, I saw a Northern Harrier on this road, as well. I think Power's Road should be renamed - Raptor Alley. It is really quite exciting to experience the quick transition of barren, silent woods into an oasis filled with song.
Not much continunity to this post as I had to start and stop the draft at least ten times.