Rarity Round Up (Archives 2012)



Thursday, December 13

The Pink-footed Goose (8th record for the province) was spotted again today at its usual location in the Goulds. Two adult Common Gulls were spotted together with ~75 Black-headed Gulls in St. John’s harbour on December 11. Otherwise, birds reports have been slow and no new species have been added to the winter list for several days.

Monday, December 10

Much to everyone’s surprise, the Pink-footed Goose (8th record for the province) was relocated yesterday, seen at two fields (including the original location and another not far away) during the afternoon. In addition to the rarity of this species, it is a milestone for Newfoundland’s all-time winter list (read more here). A Common Yellowthroat was spotted in the lower Waterford Valley (near Symes Bridge) of St. John’s – a species that has only been recorded here in December a handful of times.

Saturday, December 8

The winter list is growing and now sits at 111 – an excellent tally after just 8 days. An excellent addition today was a Marsh Wren at St. Mary’s – just the 11th record for Newfoundland and likely just the second one in December. An immature male Rose-breasted Grosbeak on December 4-5 at a private feeder in Middle Pond also provided a rare winter record, with only a handful of December records for the province.

Another good addition was a juvenile Northern Harrier spotted at Mundy Pond in St. John’s. It continues to be a banner season for Pied-billed Grebes, with two reported today from St. Mary’s and Renews. The Nashville Warbler was reported at Kelly’s Brook yesterday, although the other birds recently hanging out there were not.

Tuesday, December 4

“Winter birding” has started since my last update – you can follow along as the list grows by checking in at the Winter List 2012-2013 link above. The current list is at 100 as of this morning.

An American Woodcock was flushed from a well-known vegetable garden in St. Shott’s on December 2 – a first-ever winter record for the island and a major rarity any time of year on the Avalon peninsula. A/the Brant was also spotted in Flatrock on December 2.

The Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler and a Black & White Warbler continue to be seen at Kelly’s Brook, while the Yellow-throated Warbler was spotted as recently as December 1. A Yellow-breasted Chat was spotted on Shea Street in St. John’s on December 1, and a Pine Warbler has been visiting a feeder in Middle Cove yesterday and today.

Thursday, November 22

I am not aware of any reports (positive or negative) of the Pink-footed Goose since Tuesday November 20. In belated news, a Cattle Egret was reported on a farm in Mount Pearl/Kilbride – it had been present for a few days and seen as recently as November 19. A Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, Nashville Warbler and Yellow Warbler continue to be seen at Kelly’s Brook in St. John’s, while a Black & White Warbler was spotted today near Pine Bud Place. That is the tenth warbler species reported so far this November. Two other warblers escaped identification in the tall trees of a cemetery near Old Topsail Road earlier today.

Wednesday, November 21

A Pink-footed Goose (8th record for the province) was discovered on a farm field in the Goulds (St. John’s) on Monday, November 19. It flew off, but was refound at the same general location on November 20. Read more here.

Saturday, November 17

The only new “rarity” reported in the past few days was a Yellow-breasted Chat near Mundy Pond in St. John’s on November 14 and again this morning. The previously reported Yellow-throated, Yellow, Wilson’s and Nashville Warblers have also been reported in the same general areas as before during the week. An adult Common Gull and Bonaparte’s Gull are still frequenting the harbour, while Black-headed Gull numbers have officially climbed over one hundred for the season with a report of 105 at the main sewer outlet on November 15.

Tuesday, November 13

While weekend birding might not have turned up any “mega” November rarities, a few excellent birds were reported. Most intriguing was a probable Least Flycatcher in Renews yesterday – the second latest Empidonax flycatcher ever recorded in the province. Luckily it was photographed so to help dismiss thoughts of more exotic candidates! (For more details and photos, check out Bruce Mactavish’s new blog). A late season Blue Grosbeak was also found yesterday at nearby Bear Cove, while an Indigo Bunting was photographed on the Lower Rennies River in St. John’s. A Yellow-throated Warbler has been visiting a feeder in St. John’s for several days now, while an American Redstart was spotted in the Waterford Valley on November 11 and a Pine Warbler in Trepassey on November 10. The November warbler list is starting to grow!

A Ruddy Duck was reported from Neville’s Pond, Paradise yesterday, while another was possibly seen at Forest Pond (Goulds) – where a Pied-billed Grebe and American Coot have been present for a couple days. A female Northern Shoveler was also in the Goulds, at Second Pond.

Saturday, November 10

The Remembrance Day (Nov 11) weekend has historically been an important one for bird records in this province (read more here) – maybe the increased birding activity associated with the long weekend has lent its hand to a notable list of rarities being discovered over the years. So far, the last few days have resulted in reports of just a few minor rarities – maybe that will change very soon!

A Brant was spotted in Flatrock earlier today – this species is less than annual for the province. A Blue-grey Gnatcatcher was originally discovered near Kelly’s Brook in St. John’s yesterday, and seen again this morning. November warblers have been few and far between so far this year – however individual Yellow, Nashville, Orange-crowned and Wilson’s Warblers were all seen in the Lower Rennies River area yesterday. Surely there’s more out there!

Wednesday, November 7

The Ash-throated Flycatcher (2nd provincial record) continued in Bonavista until at least November 5, but I am unaware of any reports since then. A Great Egret was reported at Virginia Lake, St. John’s this morning, along with three American Coots and three Northern Shovelers. A “large” unidentified tern was spotted at Long Beach (near Cape Race) on November 4, while a late Barn Swallow and another unidentified swallow were at Trepassey the same day.

Saturday, November 3

The Ash-throated Flycatcher (2nd provincial record )continues ot be seen in the same area of Bonavista as of this morning … surprisingly cooperative at times. Ten Tufted Ducks were with a flock of Scaup near Clarenville – an unprecedented number outside St. John’s where they occur in the dozens during winter (a number are already hanging out at city ponds). An American Coot at nearby Shoal Harbour was also notable.

Friday, November 2

OK … I admit I’ve been terribly negligent with this page. But I’m back, and I’ll try harder.

Two key months of fall birding have slipped by, with many “expected” vagrants having been reported – but no “major rarities” have been reported until this past week. Firstly, a Northern Lapwing was spotted flying over a local pond in St. John’s, but hasn’t been relocated (You can read a few more details here). More recently, a long-time bird enthusiast in Bonavista sent photos of a strange flycatcher that had been frequenting his yard on October 30-31 — it turned out to be the province’s second record of Ash-throated Flycatcher!! It was seen again yesterday morning, but no reports yet today. Stay tuned …

November can be an exciting month in Newfoundland … and I’ll do better to keep tabs on the excitement as it unfolds … right here!

Tuesday, August 28

Apologies for a poor job of updates … life is hectic! Birding, however, has been a little slow. The first vagrant songbird of the season, a Yellow-throated Warbler, was spotted along the Virginia River walking trail in St. John’s this morning. A Wilson’s Phalarope was in Trepassey and a Great Blue Heron (unusual on the Avalon)at Renews on August 24. A flock of swallows near Mistaken Point on August 16 contained a number of Cliff Swallows – unusual, especially this early in the season. Shorebird season has been building, but the only notable observations have been good numbers of Red Knot at St. Paul’s Inlet this past week. A Wood Duck continues to be seen in St. John’s.

Friday, August 10

The immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron continues at Biscay Bay as of last evening (August 9) – an unusually long-staying bird for this species, which often disappears after a day or two. An immature Little Blue Heron was spotted in a pond at Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve yesterday – this species is reported less than annually in the province. A female Tufted Duck was spotted at Mundy Pond again this morning, suggesting there may indeed be three individuals in the city.

Monday, August 6

A male American Avocet (8th record for Newfoundland) was spotted at Lamaline, Burin Peninsula on August 5 – and according to locals maybe have been present for more than a week (reportedly along with another). An immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron discovered at Biscay Bay on July 29 was still present as recently as August 3. A South Polar Skua was reported at Daley’s Cove (near Portugal Cove South) on July 29, while two others were spotted at the same location on August 2. Two Tufted Ducks (one male, one female) have been present at Kenny’s Pond, St. John’s since at least August 1 – it is unclear if the female is the same bird reported at Mundy Pond in late June.

Wednesday, July 25

A belated report since I was away on vacation for the past week …

Late summer is heating up with the first reports of migrating shorebirds and some large concentrations of shearwaters, gannets and a few jaegers from around the southeast coast. Rarities included an adult Yellow-crowned Night Heron photographed in New Harbour, Trinity Bay on July 13, and a Glossy Ibis reported from Portugal Cove South on July 16 but not relocated. An adult Laughing Gull was discovered in Conception Bay South on July 21, while a first summer individual was at St. Shott’s on the same date. Butterfly reports have also been intriguing, including a handful of locally rare Question Marks last in mid-July.

Tuesday, July 10

It turns out that TWO Royal Terns (5th record for Newfoundland) were at St. Vincent’s, and were spotted again this morning (after disappearing for several hours late yesterday). Moderate numbers of Sooty, Great and a few Manx Shearwaters were streaming past the same location late afternoon on July 9, and three Pomarine Jaegers put in a brief appearance just offshore.

Monday, July 9

**Hot off the press** – After a couple weeks of relative quiet, a Royal Tern has just been reported from St. Vincent’s Beach on the southern Avalon (5th record for Newfoundland). Several local birders are enroute now … stay tuned for more details. In other news, significant numbers of Sooty, Great and a few Manx Shearwaters are now being reported around the Avalon from Cape Spear and all along the southeast coast, while one Long-tailed Jaeger was spotted at Portugal Cove South on July 7.

Friday, June 29

A female Tufted Duck spotted at Mundy Pond, St. John’s on June 26 was likely one of our regular wintering flock that managed to stick around for the summer. No other rarities have been reported recently, however moderate numbers of Sooty, Great and a few Manx Shearwaters are being reported around the Avalon and capelin are clearly around. Southwesterly winds over the next few days could bring in a few new birds – maybe southern terns or other mid-summer notables.

Wednesday, June 20

A House Wren was found singing along a small portion of the lower Rennies River in St. John’s yesterday – this species is rare (less than annual) in Newfoundland and more often reported in fall or early winter. A Laughing Gull was reported from Portugal Cove South on June 15, while a Gray Catbird was reported in nearby Trepassey as recently as June 17. An Eastern Kingbird and a pair of Northern Shovelers were at Lundrigan’s Marsh, St. John’s on June 17.

Tuesday, June 12

No recent reports of the American White Pelican (3rd or 4th for Newfoundland). I just received photos of an immature Snow Goose in St. Lawrence yesterday (June 11). It is reportedly still present today, grazing on a local ballfield. There was a Snowy Egret at the Codroy estuary from June 6-9 – the only report this spring. Other interesting reports from that area over the past few days were of three pairs of Wood Duck and as many as eight Northern Shovelers. Most exciting, one pair had a brood — I know of very few confirmed breeding records for Newfoundland. Two drake Northern Shovelers were also reported from Rocky Harbour. At least one American Woodcock was still displaying near St. Andrew’s.

Monday, June 4

The American White Pelican (3rd or 4th for Newfoundland) has been spotted again – this time in Lamaline, Burin Peninsula where it has apparently been hanging around for “the past couple days” and entertaining local residents. Two photos were posted on the CBC NL website. Four drake Hooded Mergansers were also reported from Plum Point – an intriguing report considering there are few (if any) confirmed nesting records of this species in Newfoundland.

Friday, June 1

The American White Pelican (4th or 5th for Newfoundland) was photographed this morning (June 1) near the beach at Come By Chance. A White-winged Dove was also photographed at Trepassey – this species is rare in Newfoundland, but has become annual in recent years.

Thursday, May 31

News of another American White Pelican discovered at Biscay Bay (southeast Avalon) on May 30-31 marks the fifth record for Newfoundland and the second this month (see below). Since there have been no sightings of the previous bird at its original location since May 22, this may be the same individual. A Great Egret was apparently present at Tilting, Fogo Island from ~May 13-23. While there have been no other true rarities reported recently, notable spring sightings included several Eastern Kingbirds, a Rose-breatsed Grosbeak (Trepassey, May 22), a Cliff Swallow (Goulds, May 23-30), and a White-crowned Sparrow (Goulds, May 28). Two Blue-winged Teal and a drake Hooded Merganser were at Lundrigan’s Marsh, St. John’s on May 28.

Tuesday, May 22

New migrants have been arriving daily, and spring is gracing nice weather upon us. The biggest rarity news was Newfoundland’s fourth American White Pelican photographed at Roddickton during the weekend and still present today. Northern Shovelers have been reported at several locations spanning the island – from St. John’s to the Codroy to the Great Northern Peninsula. Not surprisingly with persistent southerly winds the past few days, reports of Indigo Buntings and a few Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have been coming in. Also of note were three American Woodcock found displaying near St. Andrew’s (Codroy Valley) on May 19-20 .. this is the only known breeding area for this species in Newfoundland. Three South Polar Skuas have been spotted from a ship in a small patch of the Grand Banks over the past little while.

Monday, May 13

Regular migrant have been trickling in, though many have been late arriving. Latest reports include the first spring reports of Northern Waterthrush, Ovenbird, Barn and Tree Swallows. Most birds should be arriving over the next two weeks. While there have ben no real rarities, Rusty Blackbirds (a species of concern in Newfoundland) have been reported from several locations. Several Long-tailed Jaegers have been reported both from the Grand Banks and from shore, including a stunning adult milling about a small field at Portugal Cove South on May 12. A single South Polar Skua flew past a seismic ship about 260 km east of St. John’s on May 13.

Monday, May 7

No rarities to report in the past few days, but the winds have been E/NE for a few days now and are currently blowing directly across the Atlantic. These are the winds that typically bring European/Icelandic migrants such as European Golden Plover and Northern Wheatear our way in late April/early May … expect a report any time now. I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 2

Finally, the first hint of rarities this spring. An Upland Sandpiper reported at Broad Cove, CBN from April 29 – May 2  marks ~7th record for Newfoundland. A winter-plumaged American Golden Plover near Portugal Cove South was just the third spring record for eastern Newfoundland. There were two unconfirmed reports of “egrets” on May 1 – one flying between ponds in the Goulds, and another over Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John’s. An Indigo Bunting was reported at a feeder in Stephenville Crossing.

Saturday, April 28

Migration is trickling along, but so far no surprises. Some very early Arctic Terns at several locations this weekend were likely enroute to Iceland, where they typically arrive several weeks earlier than here. The same goes for several Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers reported. The Red-bellied Woodpecker (9th for Newfoundland) has not been seen for about ten days now …

Saturday, April 21

Rarities are … well, rare so far this spring. Despite the warm winds, nothing unexpected has been reported. A few migrants have been arriving early – including Barn Swallows and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, while other new birds in the past few days (Snipe, White-throated Sparrow, Greater Yellowlegs) are pretty much right on schedule. The first rarity of the season is right around the corner …

Monday, April 16

The Red-bellied Woodpecker (9th for Newfoundland) continues to be seen in Bannerman Park on an almost daily basis. Seabirds are arriving at their colonies right on schedule. A few birds have been reported well ahead of schedule, including a Barn Swallow at Ferryland (2-3 weeks early) and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Point Lance, Placentia Bay (~10 day early) – a result of the warm southerly winds that have been prevailing much of the past week.

Monday, April 9

A female Gadwall was reported from Ferryland on April 7. A few Tufted Ducks and Eurasian Wigeon were spotted around St. John’s over the weekend, while there was a notable decrease in the number of Black-headed Gulls. The Red-bellied Woodpecker (9th for Newfoundland) continues to be seen in Bannerman Park on an almost daily basis.

Wednesday, April 4

Flocks of Common Eider are beginning to show up in numbers along the northeast coast with advancing ice floes … invariably, a few King Eiders are being spotted in their midst. A female Wood Duck in St. John’s on the weekend was the first reported in several months, while a handful of Tufted Ducks and Eurasian Wigeon continue in city ponds. The Red-bellied Woodpecker (9th for Newfoundland) continues in Bannerman Park.

Friday, March 30

A Snowy Owl has been reported hanging around in east St. John’s, while others have been observed near Cape Race in recent days. Some local waterfowl migration has been noted.

Friday, March 23

Early trickles of spring migration have been noted over the past two days, with the arrival of Ring-billed Gulls, Fox Sparrow and Song Sparrows. A Snowy Owl was reported near Cape Race.

Monday, March 19

The Red-bellied Woodpecker (9th for Newfoundland) continues at Bannerman Park (St. John’s). Tufted Ducks (ABA Code 3) are still present around St. John’s in numbers but have spread out a little since more ponds have opened up. Dozens of Black-headed Gulls (ABA Code 3) are still present in St. John’s and other outlying communities, along with at least one Common (European Mew) Gull. A probable Great Blue Heron was reported in St. John’s on March 17.

Friday, March 16

A Red-bellied Woodpecker (9th for Newfoundland) has been seen regularly on the west side of Bannerman Park (St. John’s), often visiting a suet feeder overhanging the fence. Two rare gull species, Yellow-legged Gull and Slaty-backed Gull have not been seen since mid-January.

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