Summer (June – August) 2010
Summer was relatively low-key in the province this year, with few major highlights. Overall, June was cool while July and August were more seasonal. Undoubtedly the best and most exciting bird of the season was a very unexpected Violet-Green Swallow in St. John’s – not surprisingly, a provincial first. Newfoundland’s second Pacific Golden Plover spent a few days at Cape Race – another very unexpected record.
A Gadwall was present in the Torngat Mountain National Park during July & August – an exceptional record for the area. Blue-winged Teal continue to make a resurgence in eastern Newfoundland, with a male at Kenny’s Pond on June 3, a pair at Stick Pond on June 6 and three individuals in Middle Cove on August 31. Drake Northern Shovelers were recorded in Renews and Codroy in mid-June. A female Wood Duck was observed in Traytown on June 30 while two showed up in Middle Cove on August 31. Two drake Eurasian Wigeon were also discovered in the Codroy, while a pair of Tufted Duck in St. John’s on June 17 adds to evidence that potential breeding may not be too far in the future. A female-plumaged Hooded Merganser graced Forest Pond, Goulds on August 3-4.
A Pied-billed Grebe was observed with 5 chicks at Loch Lomond, Codroy Valley in mid-June … this has been the only known breeding location in Newfoundland for a number of years. Two reliable but undocumented reports of Cory’s Shearwater surfaced this summer – one at the mouth of Placentia Bay in mid-July and another at Daley’s Cove (near Portugal Cove South) on July 25.
An adult Little Blue Heron was reported from a St. John’s golf course on August 10 but was not found again. Incredibly, a Great Blue Heron was photographed at the very unlikely location of Rose Island, Saglek Fjord, Labrador on August 15. Two juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Herons were seen and photographed this summer – one at Cripple Cove (near Cape Race) on July 29 and another at St. Shott’s on August 13.
Rough-legged Hawks were absent in many of their regular breeding areas on the island this season, with the only reports coming from Terra Nova National Park and Grate’s Cove (Trinity Bay). A lone Sora heard calling at Lundrigan’s Marsh, St. John’s on June 20 was the only report of this species for the season.
A “golden plover” hanging out near the Cape Race interpretation centre from June 5-8 proved to be the province’s second Pacific Golden Plover. An adult Common Ringed Plover was observed and photographed at St. Shott’s on August 7, while a potential juvenile was described from the same location on August 26.
A breeding plumaged Sanderling was an unusual find at Codroy on June 14. A juvenile Baird’s Sandpiper at Biscay Bay on August 29 and a Solitary Sandpiper hanging out in Goulds on July 25-26 were the only report of these species for the period. Willets successfully bred at Renews and were observed with 4 chicks on July 20. After summering at the location for several consecutive summers, this pair provides only the second confirmed breeding record for the species outside of SW Newfoundland.
Summer reports of Black-headed Gulls in eastern Newfoundland are on the rise, with as many as 24 reported from Gambo on August 3 & 18 and 10 at Bellevue on August 3. A pair was spotted in Witless Bay several times during June, and a juvenile showed up at Cape Broyle on July 26. Four adult Bonaparte’s Gulls were also recorded at Bellevue on August 3, while Laughing Gulls showed up in St. John’s June 20-22 and the surprisingly inland location of Grand Falls-Windsor from June 24-30. Another unsubstantiated report came from Witless Bay on June 20. A juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull in St. John’s was notable on August 28, while an adult Yellow-legged Gull was photographed at the “usual” ballfield location near Quidi Vidi Lake on August 30.
An adult Black Tern at Foxtrap, CBS on June 1 was the only report of this surprisingly rare species. Caspian Terns were reported from numerous locations, including a pair in Traytown and successful breeding in Plum Point.
An unidentified Skua flew past Daley’s Cove on August 11. A breeding-plumaged Dovekie was spotted from a seismic vessel ~115 km south of Burgeo on July 5, while seven more were reported from a cruise ship circumnavigating Newfoundland during the same time period.
An adult male Snowy Owl spotted just north of Daniel’s Harbour on June 17 provided a rare summer record for this arctic breeder. A Common Nighthawk, surprisingly rare in the province, was seen briefly in the Upper Ferry (Codroy Valley) on June 5.
An Eastern Phoebe was recorded in Thompkins, Codroy Valley on June 6, while an Eastern Wood-Peewee was photographed near Cape Race on June 5. Several Eastern Wood-Pewees were observed in the Codroy region in June. One Eastern Kingbird was reported in Plum Point on June 13, while four were recorded in the Codroy Valley – including a pair up to at least June 20. It appeared to be an excellent year for Olive-sided Flycatcher, which was recently listed as threatened in this province – there were numerous reports from around the island and more than 20 observed in the Codroy Valley region during June.
A swallow with an apparently “white rump” that was originally seen near Virginia Lake, St. John’s on May 28 was relocated and identified as the province’s first Violet-green Swallow on June 3. Fortunately, many birders were able to enjoy this unexpected gem over the next 24 hours – after which it was not seen again.
A Northern Wheatear was discovered at Cape Race on June 5, while a lingering Grey Catbird was still in the tuckamore near Cripple Cove on June 8. A juvenile Grey Catbird spotted on the Rennies Mill River on August 17 is suggestive of successful breeding in that area, where a pair was present the previous summer. A total of 5 Northern Mockingbirds were recorded in the Codroy Valley region during June – surely they are becoming established in that area, although no breeding has been documented.
Chestnut-sided Warblers were recorded in numbers in the Codroy Valley for the second consecutive summer – five individuals were discovered in June, including four males that appeared to be on territory. Breeding records are now likely just a formality. A singing Orange-crowned Warbler singing in Codroy on June 8 was a rare occurrence for the island, although they are known to breed regularly in Labrador. A Canada Warbler was an unexpected discovery on a woods road in Goulds on June 20, while another observed near Renews on August 29 was among the first highlights of fall songbird migration.
A male Scarlet Tanager was reported in St. John’s on June 1. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak visited a feeder in Goulds on June 6 – the only summer report, raising the question of where the record number of individuals that arrived this past spring may have went. An Indigo Bunting frequented yard in Maddox Cove for several days in early June. A Baltimore Oriole made a brief appearance at a feeder in St. Andrew’s on June 26, while a Yellow-headed Blackbird was photographed on a lawn in Cape Ray a month later on July 26.