Saturday 23 November 2013

St. John's birding Nov 23

Despite the lack of posts I have been birding a fair bit this month. November is a great month for finding lost travellers in the city and this years star November rarity was a real shocker! On December 14th the tireless Dave Brown found a Virginia's Warbler 2.5 km from my house.

This bird was not on my radar so when I read the text message while trying to listen to a lecture I became very ... well I don't know. All I know is that I saw the bird about 3 hours later after missing a few lectures. And today I saw it for the 3rd time and had my best looks yet.

The yellow undertail coverts and rump are what stand out the most on this bird:

The back looks very blue at times and often reminded me of a blue-gray gnatcatcher. And the white eye-ring is very noticeable:

There is a faint hint of yellow on the breast. Aging and sexing fall birds isn't straightforward unless they have a lot of yellow on the breast. It's probably a 1st year bird - just like many other vagrants that live their last days in this city in late Autumn early Winter.

The Quidi Vidi lake Pied-billed Grebe and Ruddy Duck continue to hang out at the West end of the lake.

1 of 2 Common Gulls seen in town today:

I finally connected with the adult Bonaparte's Gull at Pier 17. I've visited Mundy Pond several times over the last month hoping to see a Bonaparte's Gull. I am always surprised at how much shorter their legs are when compared to a Black-headed Gull:

The best self-found bird of the day was this Clay-colored Sparrow. I'm not totally sure how rare this species in Newfoundland - but I'm guessing that the annual average is about 5 individuals. This one was very confident and patient allowing us to study the bird closely.

The other unusual bird was a young Yellow Warbler. The only evidence I have of its existence is this:

What other vagrants are out there waiting to be found?