Tuesday, March 18, 2014


 Aside from a couple of special birds - the Common Snipe and the Yellow-legged Gull - winter birding around the Avalon Peninsula has been a nonevent. Well, if watching birds transition into breeding plumage is your thing, then that is happening now.
 American Robins have been more plentiful this winter and are clearly becoming more spring-like in their singing and playfulness. Nice to see, but I am wanting for more.
 On the days with the snow is not flying and the wind is not whipping my car all over the road, I have ventured to Cape Spear. On a couple of occasions I wished I hadn't gone because of the unexpected drifting I encountered. What have I found? Birds at the cape are scarce, too, and unpredictable.
 Some days I see scores of Purple Sandpipers. Other days, there is nothing but a handful of Black Guillemots. I did happen upon a Snowy Owl about ten days ago that brightened my day. It is eider I have been searching for, King Eider to be specific. So far, none! I guess "no birds" is as relevant as "lots of birds," but not nearly as much fun.
 You know it is a big bird drought when I find myself distracted by the smokestack at Long Pond....
...or find the freshly fallen snow reminding me of the cotton fields at home. It has been over a month since I have even seen a new year-bird. And, it will not happen today either, with the frigid temps and 60 km winds gusting out there today. Just how long can this dry spell go on?

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