Tuesday 25 December 2012

Xmas Day Birding

Christmas tradition says I get a couple hours birding around town before the 1 pm turkey feast. It is the only day of the year when St. John's is a ghost town and empty of cars.  Checked on my personal Pied-billed Grebe at the boat basin on the south side of the harbour. It looks perfectly content and should be there for the Boxing Day CBC.  Checked the Great Cormorant resting sites in The Narrows, The Battery and Harvey Wharf looking for a winter DC Shag, but none so far.  The Pier 17 sewer outflow was thriving with gulls.  The light was a little too dark to spend time taking photos plus the security guard was lurking nearby so I didn't tarry.  No sign of a Common Gull though I saw one yesterday.  There were good numbers of Black-headeds with 120 counted yesterday during the heavy winds.
Gulls and ducks looking for their Christmas turkey at Pier 17 sewer outflow.
On to Quidi Vidi Lake.  Noticed the Ruddy Duck was resting by the beach among the domestic and tamed wild ducks.  Decided with the lack of people & dogs about this was a good time for a close shot of the RUDU.  Got out with the big 500mm in hand.  I expected to get very close but first stopped by a tree for support and a couple of test shots on the light. The Ruddy was staring to mid pond. A GBBG screamed.  Then 200 pigeons and 200 ducks exploded around me.. Took a frustratingly long time to see what was causing the panic.  It was a Peregrine Falcon.  Took a couple of snaps against the dull gray-white sky as it passed over and headed toward the harbour scattering pigeons along the way.  This is the first winter sighting of a Peregrine at the lake this winter as far as I know.  Typically there is one every winter. 
With time running low, I went to Kelly's Brook with a suet block to place in the feeder.  Didn't have much time to look for the warblers and didn't see much action at all.  At least four male Common Teal sleeping among the regular teal. 
The Ruddy Duck was fixated on something out in mid lake.
It was an immature Peregrine Falcon looking for Xmas dinner that created panic among the gulls and ducks at Quidi Vidi Lake
The St. John's CBC is tomorrow. The weather will be excellent, i.e. no rain storm, blizzard or gale.

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