Saturday, December 31, 2011
Over the year my pictures have improved, my knowledge has increased and so has the mileage on my car. This photo of the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (my favorite photo of the year) reminds me of the many quiet moments that I had over the year with a single bird, just the two of us.
And so another year comes to its end. Last year which was really my first year of birding I was able to see 151 species. This year I have made great progress. At the end of 2010 my Newfoundland Life List stood at 152. As of today I have now seen 220 species. That means that I saw 68 life birds this year! I would never have thought that was possible. There were many days during the year that I didn't see any new birds but was able to better study many birds. Then there were days that I saw as many as three life birds in one day. It left me shaking my head in wonder. What will 2010 bring? Well, I'm sure that I will never match the number that I had this year but I will very likely top up my knowledge of many species. I will be taking on a project for about three months that will surely hamper my ability to go birding this winter. I will post as much as I can and work hard to keep the blog current.
Today, is the last day of the year and the gale force winds have subsided. I will be heading out soon in pursuit of bird number 200 for my yearly list! I will be looking high and low, far and close in an effort to find one more bird! Maybe there will be a King Eider sitting in the water at Cape Spear:) Post Script: I spent a great day looking but was unable to find any new birds today so for me, 2011 stands at 199 species.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Given the black around the base of the bill the dark brown head with a black line down the middle and the distinct bright white lines on the back, I think that this is a male. I tried to find information about the cinnamon color on the under tail but most pictures show it to be white as well as written descriptions report it to be white. Is this a juvenile?
Note: Click on the pictures to enlarge them.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Yesterday morning Margie McMillan and I set out to see the Sora that was found by Alvan Buckley at Kent's Pond. I was pretty sure that finding it was a sure thing and I was right. As soon as we arrived three other birders had their telephoto lens trained right on the bird. That is a story in itself for an upcoming post.
At last I got the face with some light on it. Yeah! You see, in this kind of situation the bird is the master and it is my job to be ready in case it offers a moment to see a good view of it. The rush of the moment is really invigorating and is particularly satisfying when I come away with an identifiable shot of a bird that is known to be very secretive. There was a report that two Orange-crowned Warblers were seen in the area. We only saw this one.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
At last everything is ready for departure.
We met a Tim Horton's to have a SMALL coffee (tissues - check!) and plan our day. We decided to take the early morning to try to locate several rare birds known to be in the city. No luck there, so we rushed to our designated areas. We started this year with the White Hills. Given the time of the day and the way the birds were moving around in other areas we had our hopes up that there were going to be plenty of birds. Well, the long and short of that is that the woods around the parking lot offered up more birds than the 2 km. of trails filled with snow that we managed to slip and slide UP! The number of steps we took were not rewarded with an equal number of birds by any means.
We moved on to Virginia River where we scanned the waters and hiked the trail down to a known feeder. The feeder was the only area on the trail that was hopping but there were only the typical Juncos and Black-capped Chickadees. Then it was off to Bally Haly Golf Course. Up to our knees in snow in some places and slipping on bare ice in others we worked our way around the edge of the woods. We did find one nice little pocket of small birds but again nothing to write home about.
On a beautifully sunny, cold day Catherine and I had a wonderful day breathing clean, fresh air and drinking in the snow-covered scenery around us. We noted all birds that we saw and reported our data to the compiler. While we didn't bring any great new find to the table, we did a small part in covering a region that, too, is important to understanding the overall distribution and quantity of birds on that particular day.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Yet, the sight of a beautiful bird in winter is often enough to warm you up! Any way, this will be a welcome change after all of the holiday flurry.
I will provide an update in tomorrow's post.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
December and has been putting on quite a show. Extra suet feeders have been put up in the area and he still seems to be doing very well. This is a first record of this bird in St. John's.
Snipe also caused quite a stir this year. Two Common Snipe appeared and with the photos and knowledge of Dave Brown they were confirmed Commons. For more info about this you can link to Dave Brown's site through a link on the right of this page. Also documented this year was a Jack Snipe found by Paul Linegar. I missed that one.