Monday 9 June 2014

Eurasian Whimbrel - A Jinx Broken

My first Newfoundland Eurasian Whimbrel was one in late May 1980 flying out to an island in L'Anse-aux-Meadows harbour.  I could see it feeding on the island for some time but it was too far away to enjoy. My next Eurasian Whimbrel was some 20 years later. It was late July at Long Beach on the Cape Race road. It was among a good size flock of brown rumped Whimbrel. Nice, but our attention was diverted by the three species of jaeger, a Laughing Gull, a Franklin's Gull and a swarm of shearwaters feeding on spawning capelin in the cove.  A few years ago in early May John Wells and I found a Whimbrel on the beach at Renews. Anticipating a great view of Eurasian Whimbrel it turned out to be the first spring record of a brown rumped North American Whimbrel for Newfoundland.  It was just part of my general bad luck for seeing Euro Whimbrels which are relatively regular in Newfoundland.

It took five tries over three days to finally connect with the Eurasian Whimbrel that Dave Brown found at Cape Spear on 4 June. It turned into an hour long leisurely observation. Just what the doctor ordered. Got to see and photograph the white rump as it preened. Took notice of the general pale edged wing coverts and scapulars, pale undertone base of the body compared to the North American Whimbrel. The bill also seemed unusually long for even adult Whimbrels that arrive in Newfoundland in early July (just over three weeks from now!).

Here are some photos of the bird taken on 9 June 2014 at Cape Spear, Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland

Spectacularly Bad Pixs: N. Gannet & Herring Gull

Since the days of slide photography I've imposed a ban on taking scenery shots to cut down on the cost of film. In the digital era the ban on scenics cuts down the sheer volume of photos.  Scenics includes icebergs. You see plenty of icebergs most springs in eastern Newfoundland.  We whine about the hordes of tourist and iceberg gawkers crowding out Cape Spear on weekends but when I saw the lines of cars along the road at at Cape Spear and saw what they were looking like, even I had the urge to snap a scenic.  I didn't actually have to circumnavigate the anti-scenic rule. If you look close you can seen birds in each photo.
Note the line of gannets flying above the spectacular tunnel in this iceberg.
The next day. Note how the tunnel has become larger and importantly note the adult Herring Gull flying in the foreground.
Trust me, there are kittiwakes flying by in this photo.