Thursday 12 November 2015

Port-aux-Basques Half Time Update

I've been based out of the Southwest corner of Newfoundland for the past 3-4 weeks, and will be here for another 4 weeks. The birding has been satisfying, but not as thrilling as my daydreams of rare raptors and geese.

There are a lot of birds around wherever I go, not like the barren Avalon peninsula, but there aren't rarities found on every trip like I've come to expect further East.

But how can I complain when there's birds like Harlequin Ducks within 1km of my house:

This adult male Black Scoter has been hanging out in town as well:

Dovekies are found everywhere along the coast and are, as usual, quite tame

My first ever photo of an American Crow?!

The big story has been the huge numbers of redpolls in the last 2 weeks. I started seeing them on Nov 1 and have seen them pretty well everywhere I go since then.

Yesterday, however, was my first time getting a chance to take in good looks at these beautiful birds.
A flock of about 200 was gorging on alder cones allowing me to study the wide variation in their plumage. With so many birds there was bound to be a few that had limited flank streaking, clear white undertails, and no sign of streaking on the rumps. I came across about 4-5 birds that would have easily passed as a Hoary Redpoll on Sibley's character index, but I only saw one bird that I was convinced was frosty enough, and had the punched in bill.

If anything, the huge variation in these "two" species with no obvious boundaries really does lend support to the genetic evidence that they're the same species.

One of 5 Eurasian Wigeon seen yesterday!

A Gadwall was a nice surprise:

I started seeing White-winged Crossbills on Nov 11th. Hoping they become more common over the next few weeks.

Stormy Point on a not so stormy evening: