Part of the fun injected into winter birding is winter listing. This is a list of species seen during the three month period Dec-Feb. The game adds new value to late birds or winter rarities. It gets one out a little more and birding places you might not be checking otherwise. The end result is more rare birds get found. I have been playing the game.
The first ten days of the winter list season have been interesting. The mild weather means the late warblers are surviving. I usually carry a camera at all times while birding just in case. I take record shots of any rarity I come across. Some the shots below are the definition of a record shot and far from a National Geographic cover shot.
The best bird of the season on the Avalon Peninsula was the EARED GREBE found by Chris Brown at Peters River on the southern Avalon. This was the first record for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Today an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Cape Spear was just as mind blowing.
This EARED GREBE at present at Peters River on 1st, 2nd and 4th of December was a first record for the province. The partial breeding plumage was unusual for December and may indicate the bird has been under stress and/or not feeding well in recent months.
This juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was a big surprise at Cape Spear today 10 December. It is the latest provincial record by at least three weeks. It appeared during an intense weather system with far reaching southerly winds and an abnormal temperature of +18C. It appeared healthy. The four, just about five, primaries extending beyond tertials is right for American GP. It should be only three for Pacific. Coincidentally exactly one year ago there was a juvenile PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER at Pt La Haye, Avalon Peninsula, NF.
This Forster's Tern first found in late October at Trepassey remained into December. It is less than annual in the province.
This Clay-coloured Sparrow at Ferryland was keeping company with a Song Sparrow when found on 1st Dec but a couple days later, out of the blue, three more Clay-coloured Sparrows appeared making a record size flock of 4 CCSP in Newfoundland and in December to boot. Krazy.
A Lincoln's Sparrows joins a Song Sparrow in scolding a pisher at Renews on 1 Dec.
More often than not there is a lingering Prairie Warbler for the ticking in early December. This one at the famous Kelly's Brook micro-habitat in east St. John's.
Orange-crowned Warblers have never been so numerous in December. I've seen eight this month myself, more than I see in most entire fall seasons Oct-Dec.
It is easy to go an entire year without seeing a Nashville Warbler in Newfoundland. December birds do happen.. This one at Cappahayden on 9 Dec was photographed early in the morning under heavy overcast skies at a distance using ISO 10,000. It worked, just barely.
Common Yellowthroat is surprisingly rare in December. It is far easier to see a Yellow-throated Warbler than this species in December. I think this is only the fourth Common Yellowthroat I have seen in December. Also unusual is that it is an adult male, a plumage we rarely see after the end of August. This was along the road north of Cappahayden.