Tuesday 31 December 2013

2013 A Year to Remember

This was the first year in many that I spent all 365 days in Canada. Despite this I was able to see 359 species of bird, and submit 2333 eBird checklists while travelling all over the country.
After completing my engineering degree at the University of Waterloo in April I had 4 months to travel across the country before beginning a new degree in St. John's in September.

The year started off well with a Pink-footed Goose in St. John's the day before I left the province:

The next 4 months were largely uneventful. Things got exciting once school ended. In late April/early May I went to Long Point to band birds for a week where I enjoyed great looks at many migrants:

After a couple weeks in the Pelee area I travelled along Lake Superior with the Burrell bros, among the many great birds we saw was this Piping Plover:

In June I volunteered with the CWS to do shorebird-related work for 5 weeks on a small and remote island in the Mackenzie Delta region of the Northwest Territories:

A pair of Gyrfalcons successfully raised 2 chicks less than 500m from my tent:

During the 5 weeks we observed a lot of very neat behaviour:

Then I had 2 weeks to burn before heading back to Ontario. I joined Mira in Alberta and we drove to the Queen Charlotte Islands where we had the opportunity to study many seabirds and shorebirds:

In August I did another volunteer stint with the CWS - this time we were counting shorebirds on their southbound migration:

In late August I moved back to Newfoundland for good. Despite starting a medical degree at the local university (MUN) I've had plenty of time for birding. One of many highlights was finding 4 Northern Wheatears in September & October:

A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was an amazing rarity to see on the island:

And this Virginia's Warbler was even more insane:

A self-found Forster's Tern in early December was fun:

As was this Yellow-legged Gull recently at Quidi Vidi:

All in all a great year, I learned a lot about birds got to see a lot of our country and realize how much more there is to see. I can only hope that it continues in 2014 even though I won't have nearly as much time for crazy travels. So far my plans for 2014 are pretty abysmal, but if the winter continues as it has been for the past few weeks, I may be eager to venture further South for a few days... We'll just have to wait and see.

Happy New Year!