Wednesday 9 January 2013

Cape Spear Lapland Longspur

Got out to Cape Spear before sunrise hoping to scope over a large flock of eiders recently reported there.  On the path from the parking lot to the point in the pre-sunrise light I was surprised to see a sparrow-like bird fly toward me and land in the grass near my feet.  It was a Lapland Longspur.  I remembered that a few weeks ago Alvan Buckley reported a very tame longspur from Cape Spear.  It had to be the same bird but had somehow gone undetected since then.  Longspurs are on the rare side in winter on the Avalon Peninsula and then usually at places like Cape Race or Point Lance beach.  The bird fed at close range like a mouse in the grass. It seemed nearly fearless of me.  I had no choice but to shoot it - with my camera even though the sun wasn't even up and we were in the shadow of a hill.  Once again it was ISO3200 to the rescue. The Canon EOS1D MarkIV is a great camera in many ways but one of the most useful attributes is usable high ISOs in desperate situations. The pictures aren't calendar quality but good enough record shots. 
The Lapland Longspur fed on grass seeds beside the paved path at Cape Spear completely ignoring me.
Out at the Cape there were no pans of eiders sitting on the water. Saw just three Common Eider fly by.  Large swells were rolling in from the northeast and crashing spectacularly on the rocks in the pink light of the sunrise..  Felt like there should have been a professional there taking scenics but I was the only person there.  Not much you can do with a 300 mm lense and waves.   Lots of gulls were feeding in the surf including a Lesser Black-backed Gull.
Monster swells caved in the tip of Cape Spear. No wonder there were no Purple Sandpipers in sight.


1 comment:

  1. Love the first wave picture!
    And great that you re-found that bird.
    You must have broken your personal winter list record by now?


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