Monday 2 January 2012

Newfoundland Summary

I'm sitting in the Toronto airport waiting on a plane towards Korea and then Singapore. I don't think I'm going to be doing as much birding in Singapore as I did in Denmark but who knows! I really have no idea what to expect in terms of pretty much anything. And then I'll be back in Waterloo where life will hopefully return to normal and I can know what to expect.

It's been a busy visit to Newfoundland. I saw plenty of birds, including some new for my NL list and I also met plenty of birders in Newfoundland including two new young birders (ages 20 and 15) which is always nice! There's a good chance that I'll be birding with them when I'm full of wrinkles and the Internet has become redundant... I plan on living for a long time.

The highlights for me were the two CBC's I took part in (St. John's & Ferryland) + finding a Sora at a pond in town which was the first winter record for at least 5 years.

I joined Ian Jones, Mark Maftei and Mira for the Ferryland CBC. We were assigned the Renews area which includes a seawatch in the morning. Ian is a professor at MUN and has done a lot of work with seabirds and Mark is one of his students. So essentially I was seabirding with two very experienced seabirders to say the least. They helped me out a lot with distinguishing Alcid species in flight from 15+ km offshore (something that I can't seem to find much study material about)! It's amazing that it's possible to see those birds let alone identify them. Admittedly many of the large alcid species did go unidentified but we did find a Thick-billed Murre and a Razorbill.

It was also a good morning for Dovekies. We saw hundreds, well we estimated 300. They were literally zipping by wherever you looked. Amazing birds really ... I don't think I could ever get sick of them. Little fluff-balls flying about darting this way and that. We had a handful of Dovekies fly overland throughout the day including a very close fly-by just after our seawatch. Amazing!
Another highlight from the seawatch was a fly-by Red-necked Grebe - my second for NL.

From there the day really died down. We found the Black-bellied Plover that has been over-wintering in Renews harbour for the past several years and also found 3 White-throated Sparrows ... and that's all for the highlights really. We should have kept up the seawatch for the remainder of the day.

I only added 4 new birds for my year list in this visit to NL (Thayer's Gull, Purple Sandpiper, Dovekie and Pine Grosbeak) bringing me to a respectable 447 species for the year! My life list stands at 465 so there are only 18 species I have seen in previous years that I haven't seen this year. Not really sure what they are except for Pink-footed Goose, some shorebird species, White-winged Crossbill and Ivory Gull!

A summary of the year will come eventually, maybe.