Monday, December 30, 2013
the year. Actually, the first one was this Ivory Gull that showed up at QV Lake on February 27. This one was my find. I chased a lot of other great birds found by others, but there is nothing quite to satisfying as locating a really good bird on my own. This bird also set off a good chase by the birding community who were able to locate more at Topsail Beach and around.
While not a new species for me, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the extreme influx of Snowy Owls this year. Anyone who wanted to see one had many opportunities.
According to eBird there were 18 less species reported across Newfoundland and Labrador in 2013 than in 2012. I think this is a result of sweeping up birds seen by birders who don't use e-bird and reporting them in the 2012 count. It would be really good if all species were reported on eBird by the birder who found it during the coming year. E-bird has the capacity to be a great reference tool, easily accessible and usable, to document the many species seen throughout all time. It is never too late to start using it.
What does 2014 hold in store for us? So many of the rarities that appeared this year were totally off the chart. Is it possible that could happen again? I really hope so.
Oh yes, I experienced my first night owling trip this year. While I came up empty-handed, I loved the experience will try again this year.
Notable: There are some locations like Renews, Portugal Cove South and Trepassey that just keep on giving. Then, there are many little, unexpected areas of this province where a good number of rare birds just appear. (Check Bruce Mactavish's weekend report in The Telegram.) Credit is also warranted for the many non-birders who have reported sightings of unusual birds. With their help, we have been able to enjoy so many exciting birds.
The new year is only a few hours away, and I can hardly wait to get out there to see what I can find!
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
It was actually the scoters and an odd incident that led me to get and walk around. I was sitting in the car in the parking lot scanning the area when I first spotted the scoters. I was contemplating whether to get out to make the walk.
While sitting there, a man drove up, got out of his car, donned his hat and gloves and reached into the car to pull out a long, sling-back case to throw over his shoulder. The case wasn't a typical gun case, but the shape was. "Uh-oh," I thought. Those scoters might be doomed. In an effort to prevent what I feared might be about to unfold, I got out and walked the lower trail while he walked the upper trail. When I reached the first look-out, I was stunned by the mournful, wailing sound coming from up above. The man was near the signs on the upper look-out blowing some type of horned instrument. What was that sound? If I had to compare it to anything it would be similar to an eerie whale song. What was going on? Not wanting to be too invasive, I didn't put my binoculars on him, but continued my walk toward his location. Then, without any further fanfare, the haunting sound ended. When I reached the upper deck, he was gone. What was that all about? I have long since given up trying to understand what I see and hear at Cape Spear. Nevertheless, I always find it engaging.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Saturday, December 7, 2013
I was enjoying my walk so much that I headed to the trail. There was not a bird to be seen in the area. Exhilarated by my walk, I decided to go back down the trail to the lookout once again. There, I was met by a third Snowy Owl. Totally unexpected, I missed the best photo opportunity ever as that bird that flew all around before heading to the barrens below the lighthouse. Wow! Wow!
Going to look for birds certainly brings its rewards, but when amazing birds like Snowy Owls just land at my feet, seemingly out of nowhere, the feeling is indescribable.