Winter 2008-2009

Newfoundland Winter List (2008-2009)

Overall, the winter of 2008-2009 was par for the course. A total of 138 species recorded in Newfoundland, and one additional species (Hoary Redpoll) in Labrador, included a few rarities and notable winter records along with most of the usual suspects. Remarkable was the overwhelming lack of finches and berry-eating birds (robins and waxwings), at least partly due to the poor crop of primary food sources for these species (especially spruce cones and mountain ash, respectively). However, it turned out to be a good winter for ducks and gulls – the primary source of enjoyment for local birders this year.

Winter duck numbers seemed particularly healthy throughout the province, especially in well-birded St. John’s where a season high count of 67 aythya included record numbers of Lesser Scaup (7) and Tufted Duck (20). Two other Tufted Ducks were recorded in the province – one at Clarenville and one in Conception Bay South. A Blue-winged Teal in St. John’s on Dec 17 was just the 2nd winter record for the province, while overwintering Northern Shoveler (2) and Ruddy Duck (1-2) in St. John’s were unusual. Barrow’s Goldeneye were reported from three locations – Corner Brook (m/f), Rocky Harbour (m/f) and Spaniard’s Bay (2m).

A Northern Lapwing arrived in Portugal Cove South in late November, entertaining birders until it disappeared on Dec 6. A Greater Yellowlegs in Biscay Bay on Dec 4 furnished the 1st winter record for this otherwise common species. Late records of White-rumped Sandpiper (Dec 20), Killdeer (Dec 28) and Black-bellied Plover (Jan 31) added to the winter shorebird tally.

Arguably, gulls were the story of the winter this year. Two Yellow-legged Gulls in St. John’s, although annual now, were still a huge rarity on the North American scale. A total of three adult Slaty-backed Gulls (two in St. John’s, one in Corner Brook) marked the 12th record for the province (likely of ~10 individuals) in the last four winters! A Franklin’s Gull (Dec 1-7) was a winter rarity in St. John’s, and an invasion of Ivory Gulls across the province in January made for lots of excitement. A Forster’s Tern observed at Long Beach on Dec 14 was fleeting but thrilling.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker visiting feeders in Bishop’s Falls throughout the winter was the 5th provincial record. A late report of a Brown Thrasher overwintering in Bellburns on the Great Northern Peninsula was confirmed by photographs. A cold snap in late November appears to have decreased the number of lingering warblers to be recorded this winter – in fact only three species were reported, including a very late Ovenbird on the St. John’s Christmas Bird Count (Dec 26). A late report of a female Summer Tanager visiting a feeder in St. Lawrence (Nov 18 – Dec 18) provided the 2nd winter record.

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Wood Duck
  3. Gadwall
  4. Eurasian Wigeon
  5. American Wigeon
  6. American Black Duck
  7. Mallard
  8. Northern Pintail
  9. Blue-winged Teal
  10. Green-winged Teal (American & Eurasian)
  11. Northern Shoveller
  12. Tufted Duck
  13. Ring-necked Duck
  14. Greater Scaup
  15. Lesser Scaup
  16. Common Eider
  17. King Eider
  18. Harlequin Duck
  19. White-winged Scoter
  20. Black Scoter
  21. Surf Scoter
  22. Long-tailed Duck
  23. Bufflehead
  24. Common Goldeneye
  25. Barrow’s Goldeneye
  26. Hooded Merganser
  27. Red-breasted Merganser
  28. Common Merganser
  29. Ruddy Duck
  30. American Coot
  31. Willow Ptarmigan
  32. Rock Ptarmigan
  33. Spruce Grouse
  34. Ruffed Grouse
  35. Common Loon
  36. Red-throated Loon
  37. Pied-billed Grebe
  38. Red-necked Grebe
  39. Horned Grebe
  40. Northern Fulmar
  41. Northern Gannet
  42. Great Cormorant
  43. Double-crested Cormorant
  44. Bald Eagle
  45. Rough-legged Hawk
  46. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  47. Northern Goshawk
  48. Gyrfalcon
  49. Peregrine Falcon
  50. Merlin
  51. Black-bellied Plover
  52. Killdeer
  54. Greater Yellowlegs
  55. Ruddy Turnstone
  56. Sanderling
  57. White-rumped Sandpiper
  58. Purple Sandpiper
  59. Wilson’s Snipe
  60. Pomarine Jaeger 
  61. Black-headed Gull
  62. Bonaparte’s Gull
  63. Franklin’s Gull 
  64. Common Gull 
  65. Ring-billed Gull
  66. Herring Gull
  67. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  69. Iceland Gull
  70. Glaucous Gull
  71. Great Black-backed Gull
  73. Ivory Gull
  74. Black-legged Kittiwake
  75. Forster’s Tern
  76. Dovekie
  77. Razorbill
  78. Common Murre
  79. Thick-billed Murre
  80. Black Guillemot
  81. Atlantic Puffin
  82. Rock Pigeon
  83. Mourning Dove
  84. Great Horned Owl
  85. Snowy Owl
  86. Boreal Owl
  87. Belted Kingfisher
  88. Black-backed Woodpecker
  89. Hairy Woodpecker
  90. Downy Woodpecker
  91. Northern Flicker
  93. Blue Jay
  94. Grey Jay
  95. Northern Shrike
  96. American Crow
  97. Common Raven
  98. Black-capped Chickadee
  99. Boreal Chickadee
  100. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  101. Brown Creeper
  102. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  103. Blue-grey Gnatcatcher
  104. American Robin
  105. Brown Thrasher
  106. European Starling
  107. American Pipit
  108. Cedar Waxwing
  109. Bohemian Waxwing
  110. Yellow-throated Warbler
  111. Orange-crowned Warbler
  112. Ovenbird
  113. Summer Tanager
  114. American Tree Sparrow
  115. Chipping Sparrow
  116. Savannah Sparrow
  117. White-throated Sparrow
  118. Fox Sparrow
  119. Song Sparrow
  120. Swamp Sparrow
  121. Lincoln’s Sparrow
  122. Dark-eyed Junco
  123. Lapland Longspur
  124. Snow Bunting
  125. Common Grackle
  126. Red-winged Blackbird
  127. Brown-headed Cowbird
  128. Baltimore Oriole
  129. Dickcissel
  130. Pine Grosbeak
  131. Purple Finch
  132. Red Crossbill
  133. White-winged Crossbill
  134. Common Redpoll
  135. Pine Siskin
  136. American Goldfinch
  137. Evening Grosbeak
  138. House Sparrow

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