Saturday 15 November 2014

Saturday Birding

Spent the morning birding from Cape St. Francis to Quidi Vidi this morning with Sir Ed.

Despite strong winds there were only 3 non-gull seabirds at the cape: Thick-billed Murre, Dovekie, & a getting late Northern Gannet.
Nice sunrise though!

3 eiders today - all of which were close by at the point. 
This male has rounded lobes to the bill - indicating that it's a dresseri/Atlantic Common Eider?
Still need some practice on identifying these sub-species...

A leucistic junco has been hanging out at the cape since late October: 

Later that morning a Great Black-backed Gull caught our attention when it caught a large fish and brought it to the beach. I promptly ran after the bird to get the fish.
An Atlantic Mackerel:

I donated it to this 4th (?) winter Herring Gull: 

At Quidi Vidi we came across the first Common Gull (L. c. canus) of the season:
It had a dark iris, but upon close inspection it appears brown.

The left side of the face had a distinct mark below the eye which may help to identify the individual throughout the winter: 

P10 and P9 still have quite a bit to grow: 
Note the almost complete black band on P5.

The large windows of P10 and P9 are visible from the underside of the wing.
P8 also has a window - albeit a small one - visible in the previous photo.

No day of gulling would be complete in St. John's without seeing the infamous Yellow-legged Gull.
This was my 11th sighting of the bird this year (assuming it's the same one that was here last winter)!
The YLGU was the 11th species of gull I saw between yesterday and today.

Lots of Pine Grosbeaks in the city and other unusual places these last few weeks. Including quite a few that are far away from any notable forest and munching on dogberries in peoples yards.
Similar to Purple Finches, PIGRs don't eat the flesh of dog-berries, but prefer to eat the seeds that are within the berry and wastefully let the fruit fall to the ground once they've extracted the seeds.