Saturday 6 August 2016

Cross Island Dash

I'm currently in the Codroy Valley of Newfoundland on route to Port-aux-Basques and the ferry to Nova Scotia and then on to Halifax where I will be for 2 weeks. Over the next 3 months I'll be doing electives in Halifax, Ottawa, and Vancouver before taking some time off in Southern Ontario and then returning to the island.

Today I spent much of the day exploring from the Port-au-port Peninsula to the Codroy Valley - an area rarely visited by birders in August. Here are some highlights.

Adult White-rumped Sandpiper with adult Semipalmated Sandpiper:

Long Point - looking back inland:

There was a great opportunity to photograph Wilson's Snipe at Piccadilly!

2 juvenile Least Sandpipers

2 Caspian Terns

My favourite bird of the day was this breeding plumaged Dunlin - I've only seen one other breeding plumaged Dunlin in Newfoundland. That was in May of 2014 and and ended up being North Americas first record of Schinzii Dunlin.

After reviewing the books and sharing the photos with a few people I'm fairly confident this is the expected N. American sub-species of Dunlin (hudsonia). In the field I thought it had a relatively short bill so I was getting excited that it might be a "Greenland" Dunlin (arctica or schinzii). But the bill length is within range for "our" Dunlin and one key feature is the thin black central streak on the rufous scapulars. In those other sub-species, the centre of these scapulars has much more extensive black.

A Merlin was busy chasing 9 (!) Great Blue Herons from its territory:

Nice to see evidence of breeding by Common Mergansers in this area of the province: