Thursday 14 July 2011

Ohhh Newfoundland

I'm heading back for a quickie tomorrow! And there's 5 good reasons why:

5: Cheap flights, can't say no to them!
4: My mothers food! It's good ;)
3: Whales - I have a bit of an obsession with whales... not as much as birds though I suppose
2: Shearwater action - I'm hoping to see/find a seabird feeding frenzy! I've yet to see one and it's just about the perfect time of year for it!
1: I need another dose of Newfoundland - it's been 7 months since I've been there - the longest I've ever gone. I'm craving family and friends!

It'll be a hectic 48 hours and I hope to squeeze a fair bit of birding in during the 2 days. I won't be doing any excessive driving to get to any of the real 'hot spots' like the Southern Shore (Cape Race area). But I'll be watching the sea from Cape Spear - a point that juts out into the ocean just enough to be branded the most easterly point in North America - and it happens to be a mere 15 minute drive from my house!

Lists - being a birder we all love lists:

Species that I haven't yet seen this year and am pretty much guaranteed:
Northern Gannet
Black-legged Kittiwake
Common Murre
Black Guillemot
Atlantic Puffin
Great Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Black-headed Gull

Other species that I hope to see and I will likely see:
Northern Fulmar
Manx Shearwater
Leach's Storm-Petrel
Pomarine Jaeger
Thick-billed Murre
Great Cormorant

And slightly less likely but not unexpected:
Red Phalarope
Parasitic Jaeger
Long-tailed Jaeger

And slightly less likely... (I could keep going on and on - but it's unlikely that it'll keep you interested!)
Cory's Shearwater

There's probably some more I'm missing (Red Crossbill for example) and the order may not be flawless - but those are the ones I'm excited about (notice how they pretty much all are seabirds....). I suppose I'll have to spend sometime near the ocean then.

And the fun stuff:
Common Ringed Plover
Fea's Petrel - had to put a rarity or two in here somewhere!
I've been studying seabirds over the past month or two in preparation for a week stint in NL in August! So this will be a sort of training session!

This is the right time of year for Fea's Petrel with several sightings off of the coast of Eastern USA over the past month - and if I find a large Shearwater gathering (not very likely... I should make an official scale of likely-ness) then it's likely that I might find something interesting - although I'd probably/likely be distracted just trying to take it all in... who knows... all I know is that I'm very likely excited for seabirding and NL in general!

I'm also excited for some different butterflies!

Anyway, after work today I did a quick loop of the Spit (Leslie Street Spit) in Toronto - didn't find anything of real interest. Main highlight was a Spotted Sandpiper calling excessively - it was clearly upset about something - turns out there was a coyote sleeping near its nest/young. It had a tracking collar on it - someone once told me that the coyotes from the Spit regularly walk across Toronto during the night in search of food... literally from the East end to the West end - which is amazing because it has to go right through the core of downtown Toronto.

If you haven't read the blog about Spoon-billed Sandpipers you should! 18 of them just hatched within the last few days: