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 ;)