Lest We Forget …

Today, November 11, is an important day here in Canada (and other Commonwealth countries. of course) … Remembrance Day. This is the anniversary of the end of World War I (1918) and the date every year that we stop to honour and remember all those have served, fought and all too often died in the line of military duty – as well as those who continue to do so. The unparalleled freedoms we enjoy, and the continuing fight to extend those same rights, freedoms and securities to people all all over the globe are something we should never take for granted … though we often do. Take a moment today to remember.

On a different (though not totally unrelated) topic, this is also the anniversary of some very special bird records for Newfoundland. I say not totally unrelated since the November 11 “holiday” is probably responsible for increased birding activity on this date over the years, resulting in these birds being found. Most notably, the province’s only Hermit Warbler was discovered on this day in 1989 at Blackhead (near St. John’s), while one of very few Wood Sandpipers ever recorded in eastern North America was found in Renews in 1998. Both of those records were “before my time” as a birder, so I can only hope for a repeat at some point!

Many other important records have occurred in mid-November – including the province’s first Ash-throated Flycatcher on November 14 2009, followed closely by a very intriguing record of Common Shelduck on November 17. And while a few scarce warblers are always highlights of November birding in this province, an amazing spectacle took place on November 16 1983 when a total of FOURTEEN species of warbler were discovered in St. John’s – including three first and one second record for the province!! Even more remarkable was that seven of these species (including two first records) were in the same tree!!

Here’s to a memorable November to come …

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