The Alternative Facts Bench in Ferryland is a great story-telling bench for birders like me. When I see something different in a bird, I always think the possibility of "rarity."
For example: There was this tern floating on the fog in Ferryland yesterday. It was smaller than the other terns, and that is what caught my eye. Shooting into very difficult elements, I was able to come up with two pics.
One of them clearly shows a bird with no black on its head. That sent me scrambling to look at the field guide. Best I could tell, an immature Common Tern had some black and had a dark bill. This bird did not. What were the other choices? There was a two-step process: First, remain hopeful; second, consult Bruce MacTavish. I did both, but to no avail. It seems this is an immature Common Tern. Maybe I should go sit on the bench.
Not once, but twice did possible alternative facts creep into my day. In Bear Cove Pit, I had a two-second look at a distant bird high in a fog-shrouded tree. What I saw was a yellow bird with a neckless and streaks (not diamonds) dripping from it. Then, the bird vanished. My hopefulness kicked in again. I had just seen a Magnolia Warbler, and this bird didn't seem dark enough to be one. I didn't see any white on the bird, and so.... again my mind starts racing through other choices. I asked Bruce if a Canada Warbler were a possibility at this time of the year. "Not likely," he said. It took nearly 30 minutes to relocate the bird and determine it was a female Magnolia Warbler. I can see that I should probably warm the bench.
Shortly after that, Catherine Barrett spotted this beautiful Ruffed Grouse standing watch on a side road past Cappahayden. It was solidly planted.
Since Catherine heard rustling in the woods, it is thought this bird was boldly protecting its young. We moved on.