Thursday 27 December 2012

St. John's CBC

Did the St. John's CBC on Boxing Day for the 4th year in a row. This was my 3rd year doing the lower Rennies river area which happens to include my neighbourhood. It's a good area for me to do the count because I'm familiar with all the side trails and locations of many of the feeders, which helped manage our group of 5 people to ensure that we covered a fair bit of decent ground...

Within the first couple hours we had cashed in on the known Nashville Warbler, a previously unknown Baltimore Oriole and the Yellow-breasted Chat was in my yard. Feeling pretty good with all these birds we felt we needed something to add to the winter list...

I'm pretty sure that the topic of Mockingbirds on the lower Rennies river comes up on every St. John's CBC I've been on. This year was no different, except that we actually found one!

Our group of 5 had split into 3 separate groups with me on my own. The others were already waiting for me at our regrouping area. As I was approaching I noticed a bird with a long tail sitting on a tree. A quick look and shouted "Mockingbird!" to the others who were standing more or less directly below it!

A neat bird which was a NL lifer for 4 out of the 5 people in my group! Conveniently it was just up the street from where I live.

Further upstream (technically the upper Rennies river area), while we were enjoying our first Boreal Chickadees of the day I noticed a somewhat larger bird fly through the dark undergrowth. Not expecting much, I stuck my head in the bushes and pished a bit. To my surprise a thrush landed within 2 metres of my face right out in the open. It took me a couple seconds to clue in on what I was seeing. Conveniently it turned around and showed off its reddish tail making the identification straightforward.
A pretty exciting winter bird for Newfoundland (last one was in December 2007).

The rest of my group had wonderful looks at this bird as it fed right out in the open!

Here's a photo by local birder Lancy Cheng who was in my group:

Hermit Thrush is actually a new species for any Newfoundland CBC!

Feeling pretty happy about ourselves, we were pretty confident that we had the bird of the day. But we were easily shafted by a Townsend's Warbler found that same day in the Waterford valley... (where else?)
Hopefully I'll get the chance to see that tomorrow!