Saturday 25 January 2014

Late January at the Cape

We thought we'd be lucky to be able to get to Cape Race by late April. Late afternoon January 25 and 3 birders had made it out, the first since about Dec 14.

As everyone probably knows, mid to late December dumped record amounts of snow on Newfoundland so it was reasonable to expect that the 20km dirt road that isn't plowed wouldn't be accessible for several months. But after a prolonged warm spell with a lot of rain, and the dedication of a backhoe driver the road is now free... we just don't know how much longer it'll last (could be another 12 months, could be 12 days)... In Newfoundland you just don't know.

Today I was with Liz Southworth (from Massachusetts), and Barb Carlson (of San Diego birding fame) - their main goals for the day were Willow Ptarmigan, Boreal Chickadee, and Gray Jay. As I've learned before, if you're out looking for ptarmigan you won't see them. Ditto for Gray Jay unless you actually put the effort in - which no one wants to do. But Boreal Chickadee is easy so there were some smiles.

Cape Race news:

The good news is that at least some of the 300+ Snowy Owls have survived what may have been the hardest part of the winter:

3 species of Scoter - 1 photo:

2nd winter male King Eider (95% as satisfying as a full adult):

The Cape Race sentinel - a very similar looking bird was at the exact same spot on Dec 7:

Any ideas on the story that caused these snow prints (ignore my foot prints!)?
I promise an expensive prize if you get it correct:

Tomorrow morning: