Thursday 27 February 2014

February Sea Ice

Here's a quick gif of sea ice conditions from Feb 8 to Feb 27:

I'm hoping there'll be more in early March. Needs me some eiders.

This is what it actually looked like at Cape Spear this afternoon (looked like more ice in real life):

Some gull pics from recent days:


Tuesday 25 February 2014

Signs of Spring on the Avalon

The first sign of spring is that I'm starting to get excited for spring even though there are no tangible signs that spring is coming. It's still well below freezing here, lakes and ponds are frozen solid, and sidewalks are still snow-covered.

But the birds are excited too, and some hints are starting to show.

Some evidence that Spring is already on its way in Newfoundland:

-most Great Cormorants are sporting spiffy white hip patches, and have been for over a month!

Black-headed Gulls are starting to grow in their 'black' hoods:

-Many of the local Herring Gulls already have pure white heads...

Here are some signs of Spring to watch out for in the coming weeks (if you're in Newfoundland). These predictions are based on reading old nf.birds postings, not based on personal experience as I've never birded this province in March!

-Black-legged Kittiwakes will be a daily occurrence at Cape Spear by the end of the first week, and there should be a report or two of 100s flying North within the next week.

-Fulmars should be back at St. Michael's bird rock by the first week of March

-First migrating geese will be reported in mid-March. Should be about 50 at Coote's pond by the 20th of March.

-Iceland Gull #'s will make a sudden drop somewhere in mid-March, with adults disappearing first

-Black-headed Gulls will have their dark hoods by mid-March

-Black Guillemots will be black by the end of the month, and some will be quite black by mid-March... and may even be on the rocks?

-Owls and woodpeckers will be singing/drumming more frequently, reports should be coming in by mid-March

-Fox Sparrows should be singing by the last week of March, and reports should be coming in around the 3rd week of March

-Spankin' clean Ring-billed Gulls should start showing up by the last week of March, and the few locals that over-wintered will wonder why they ever tortured themselves to stay here

-The first Northern Gannets should be at Cape Spear around March 28th, and as early as March 21.

-Robins will be singing by the end of the Month, and spring migrants should be evident by that time!

-Horned Larks will be reported during the last week of March

I will be keenly making notes of how accurate these predictions are in anticipation for 2015 ;)

Saturday 22 February 2014

Spoiled with Tame Birds

After Bruce found the Yellow-legged Gull on Wednesday at Quidi Vidi, it has been seen every morning since at the same spot!

This morning many birders enjoyed up close looks at it: 

At the same spot are 5 Common Mergansers that are becoming increasingly tame:

This Bald Eagle is also very tame and is often seen at the lake:

Earlier this week we had a freezing rain storm that covered everything in a thin layer of ice: 

Despite the abundance of berries we haven't been seeing as many robins and waxwings as we had hoped for:

Thursday 13 February 2014

Le Sea Ice

It's finally here:

Except that it isn't as thick in real life, this is the view from Cape Spear this morning:

This is the wind forecast for tomorrow around lunch time. Not exactly what I would like to see but maybe it'll bring something in from offshore? ;)


I posted a picture of a wing print a few weeks ago - it was from a grouse. Dave Bell got it right - wouldn't expect anything less from that guy.

But what about this - picture taken yesterday. Could it be a Great Horned Owl?

Wigeon were at Kent's Pond yesterday - including this female Eurasian: 

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Tuesday Birding

Mid-winter birding in Newfoundland involves a lot of dreaming and seeing the same birds over and over again. This morning I was at Cape St. Francis for sunrise dreaming of birds in white, numerous Iceland Gulls and Black Guillemots were the only ones that matched that description but left me unsatisfied.
At least the sunrise was nice:

Although the sea ice is supposedly approaching Cape St. Francis it wasn't visible with my scope. The only ice around was on the rocks:

A few of the local Black-headed Gulls have started molting into their alternate (breeding) plumage:

1 of 3 Ring-necked Ducks over-wintering in St. John's this year:

This Common Merganser has pleased many birders and photographers in town - it's rare to have a Common Merganser be so tame plus the added bonus that open water is very limited to it is forced to feed close to shore:

Here's a quick video of her swimming around:

Sunday 9 February 2014


Boreal Owl (Feb 6)

Peregrine Falcon from this morn

Make sure to put the video on HD if you watch it:

Don't got much to say...