Every now and then a bird that is so good shows up that the "all call" via Google Groups, Facebook, phone calls and private sharing goes out to summons birders to the location. The bird this time was a great Brown Booby.
Recently, there had been a couple of off-shore reports of a Brown Booby landing on vessels. Hope was high one of these birds would make its way to the island. This one did, hitching a ride with a ship from the Grand Banks. The ship came to shore to avoid the Dorian effect. Lucky us.
The ship docked in St. John's Harbour at 2 a.m. September 7. When the crew awoke the next morning, they found this guy sitting atop a light. Once I heard the "call," I rushed to the harbourfront somewhat sceptical the bird would still be there.
To my surprise and delight, there it sat, one of the easiest "twitches" of all time. Numerous birders gathered on the dock to marvel at our latest arrival.
During the short time I was present, the bird hardly opened its eyes. It must have been trying to recover a bit from its long trip. I was only able to capture three shots with its small eyes open. However, as the morning wore on, I did see some photos with its eyes wide open, gathering steam for its departure, perhaps.
It is interesting its reactions to its surroundings must have been based on its auditory senses. It seemed awake turning its head frequently, just too tired to open its eyes. I have had mornings like that ;).
For information about previous records of the Brown Booby in Newfoundland, I encourage you to visit Jared Clarke's site at: https://birdtherock.com/brown-booby/
This is the second extremely rare bird that has shown up within the last week. The Rosette Tern was the other. Who knows what else might be driven in by Dorian? Eyes wide open.
To me, this is the best time of the year to walk and explore. With an open mind and open eyes scanning up and down and all around... all at the same time, any sighting is possible. Bruce M. reported seeing some Cliff Swallows offshore. When I went out last week, I had that in mind. To my delight, I saw two swallows fly over the trail at Virginia River. Fortunately, one of them gave me three chances to get a photo.
A close look at the picture showed I had very unexpectedly snagged a Cliff Swallow. I assume the other one was the same, but I have no proof of that.
I typically begin my migratory search by checking the trails in town to watch for activity. At Quidi Vidi Lake, there were 16 Yellow Warblers and five Song Sparrows, but the special bird seen on this walk was a common Sharp-shinned Hawk.
While on the boardwalk, I spotted a bird sitting on a rail. I stopped and looked to determine the species. Lighting was not good for a picture. That was no problem. This little hawk hopped to the other side of the railing and had a good look at me.
Over the next ten minutes, we got very comfortable with each other. That was surprising, but what was even more surprising was the absence of foot traffic around the trail during this time. I was able to get within ten feet of this bird producing nearly full-frame pictures.
He was keeping an eye on me, the Yellow Warblers behind him and some mystery bird flicking the branches in front of him. It eventually was a walker that spooked the hawk into flight.
A few days later, I happened upon this little Prairie Warbler in Blackhead. I believe it was around the 26th. Seemed early to me.
Now today, I had a great encounter with an immature Goshawk. This huge bird must have been sitting on a tree top just 15 feet from me. I was trying to take a picture of a distant bird to get an ID. When finished, I noticed the hawk so close to me.
The very moment my eyes landed on it, the bird flew. There are the only two pictures I was able to get before it was gone.
Once the hawk left, a few warblers began to show themselves.
Best among them was this Canada Warbler. Again, it seems early for this species. Nevertheless, I am now convinced there are numerous migrating birds hiding away in the woods.
While warbler sightings are few in number, there have been some good ones to enjoy.