Sunday 24 November 2013

Blinded by the white

I spent another day scouring around St. John's for unusual birds. The high winds made finding passerines difficult, so I gave that up after a couple hours and checked some of the local ponds.

There has been a male Green-winged Teal at Kelly's Brook with several females for a couple weeks now. Despite having a good look at the bird and seeing it on a few different days I haven't seen any white horizontal or vertical stripes on the birds scapulars or breast. The presence of one of those lines is the easiest way to tell the Eurasian species/subspecies from the American one. I guess it makes sense that a hybrid of the two teal types could have no white lines. The white lines on the face are definitely not conspicuous enough for a Common Teal, but probably fall in the range of an Am. Green-winged Teal.

Later in the morning Richard Thomas and I re-found the Great Egret that has been wandering around town. This time it was at Virginia Lake. Actually another local birder had already found it that morning but I didn't know about that until I got home.

After letting a few locals know about the bird, 2 domestic Mute Swans started chasing it away. The egret finally gave up and flew away not long after the swans started harassing it.

Newfoundland has been experiencing a huge invasion of Snowy Owls over the last 2 weeks. A count of 42 along a 25km stretch of road yesterday is an indication that hundreds and maybe even thousands of these birds are all along the Southern coast of the island. Hatch year birds make up the vast majority of these birds, but a few adults have been seen.

I finally went to see the local Snowy Owls at Cape Spear this afternoon just before sunset:

Interesting cloud formation at Cape Spear this arvo (are these associated with boundaries between air fronts?):