Sunday, February 23, 2014

Year- Over-Year

 There seems to be a new Mew Gull in town. Over the last several months, I have seen at least three Mew Gulls hanging around Quidi Vidi Lake. Late this last week, I saw one I didn't recognize. This little Mew has very dark streaking and was really skittish compared to the others. I also saw four on the ice at the same time. I wonder....
Actually, it's not the Mew that I wanted to talk about today, but rather the difference of my sightings year-over-year. It seems that I have seen a lot less birds during the first two months of 2014 than in 2013. To verify this, I checked my eBird reports for this period this morning.

While I found there wasn't a great difference (only 8 species), there is a huge difference in sightings of vagrants. Last year, we had a gentler winter enabling numerous vagrants to survive. Among them were the Pink-footed Goose, Brant, Hermit Thrush, Northern Mockingbird, Orange-crowned Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Pine Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Lincoln's Sparrow and Baltimore Oriole. Other birds seen in January-February 2013, not seen during the same period of 2014 include: Gadwall, King Eider, Ruffed Grouse, Merlin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Tree Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Evening Grosbeak, White-winged Scoter, Double-crested Cormorant, American Coot, Common Redpoll and IVORY GULL.

That are a lot birds missing from my 2014 sightings. Hopefully, many of these will show up during the year. Birds seen in the first two months of  2014, not seen in Jan. Feb. 2013, include: Wood Duck, Ring-necked Duck, Black Scoter, Barrow's Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Red-throated Loon, Red-necked Grebe, Ruddy Turnstone, Morning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, White-winged Crossbill, Snowy Owl, COMMON SNIPE and YELLOW-LEGGED GULL.

It is very easy to see the shortage of star-power  so far this year. Yet, we have had winds enough to blow a bird off our east coast 360 degrees around the world and back to the west coast of the province. But where are the birds?

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