Tuesday 13 May 2014

Last Photos of Icelandic Birds

I am off to jail within 24 hours. My annual summer sentence to the oil & gas industry vessels in the offshore regions of eastern Newfoundland begins tomorrow. I leave behind the land part of Newfoundland and all it's Icelandic birds.  While no new birds are showing up many of the birds that arrived during the two weeks of NE winds 25 April - 8 May 2014 are still with us. Not sure why more of them have not left and headed back to Iceland. I lost track of the numbers. It is still possible to add them up but totals for the influx are something like this:

European Golden Plover - 225+ (2nd highest spring total ever)
Black-tailed Godwit - 12 (record smashing beating previous record of two, maybe three in a spring)
Common Redshank - 2 (falling short of the five in 1995 but brings the total individuals seen in Newfoundland and North America to just eight)
Northern Wheatear - three dozen, four dozen, more? I lost track. Biggest influx ever.
European Whimbrel - 1 (low)
European Dunlin - 1 (the first)

Did not find time to go through all the photos taken. Here are some from the last few days from the Goulds on the outskirts of St. John's.

A flock of 43 European Golden Plover sleeping off an overnight snowfall on Cochrane Pond Rd, Goulds on 7 May was flushed by a crow but they circled just once before landing and resuming energy conservation mode.

On the same day in a field not far away on Cox's Lane this flock of 47 Golden Plovers wheels about for 20 minutes over these fields at noon after the snow had melted.  These birds joined the Cochrane Pd road flock where a Newfoundland record high flock of 90 assembled. At least 2/3 of the flock is still present today on 13 May.

The discovery of three Black-tailed Godwits on the river delta at Third Pond, Goulds on 6 May was exciting local news. The birds were far out on the delta and getting more than two in the same photo was a challenge. They regularly flew to a farm field across the pond to feed. Only one has been seen over the last few days. 
A large crop shows the white underwings characteristic of the Black-tailed Godwit.

The closest thing to a Willet wing stripe in Newfoundland this spring is the Black-tailed Godwit.

If there was one regret about the Icelandic Influx 2014 it was not capitalizing on the photo opportunities for Northern Wheatear.  You never get tired of seeing the bright Greenland/Iceland/eastern North American race of Northern Wheatear. Most were wary and executed their patented Houdini disappearing acts at will but there were a few tame ones like this one at Renews beach. Time was limited during this visit, the bird was strongly back lit and I forgot my camera was still set at ISO 1600 from the day before. There is always an excuse for not getting the perfect picture!

For those remaining on land  for the rest of this month - BE GENTLE. Try not to see anything too great while I serve the first term my 2014 offshore sentence. I will return the favour.

1 comment:

  1. I'm dropping out of school.
    Main targets for this weekend are Meadow Pipit and Say's Phoebe.

    have fun on da boat m8


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