Thursday 11 September 2014

For The Love of Alders ! !

The best part about September on the Avalon Peninsula is hunting for southern warblers in the coastal alders. People go to Pt Pelee in May to see southern warblers in Canada. In Newfoundland we get 'em in the fall.  I always seem to be away working on a seismic ship or somewhere during September and miss out on September warblering scene.  During this past week I find myself at home. In the last week I've taken two days off work and one Saturday for alder bashing.  The Kentucky Warbler at Trepassey on 6 Sept being the one southern warbler discovery so far but that is a very nice one.  Seeing how good the weather was going to be on 10 Sept and with renewed fear of another sea sentenced coming up, it was time use up another holiday in the alders.  Alvan Buckley didn't need any convincing to skip classes at MUN.  

We ended up with one of the best days ever in the Bear Cove to Cappahayden alders.  The only unusual weather event was a slow moving large oval shaped High Pressure area with plenty of clear weather from here to the NE states, but the winds were not directly blowing from that direction. Maybe strong SW winds on Sunday caused it. Those winds were blowing direct from Cape Hatteras to the Avalon. Whatever the reason we ended up with one day record of FIVE Prairie Warblers, a rare September Yellow-throated Warbler (most are November), a more routine but always flashy Yellow-breasted Chat and the real star was a WORM-EATING WARBLER.  This is the rarest southern warbler on the Newfoundland list. It is rarer than Ceruelan, Golden-winged, Blue-winged, Prothontary, Hooded, Kentucky, Yellow-throated... we still don't have Swainson's Warbler or Louisiana Waterthrush.  This was the 6 or 7th record of Worm-eating Warbler for the province.  

I pished it in under the alders on The Cappahayden Track.  Had some killer views and was lucky to get some snaps.  Took 20 minutes to get Alvan back to the spot and miraculously we pished it in view again. 
The Worm-eating Warbler was shy and managed to stay behind sticks and leaves most of the time. For two seconds it sat still totally in the open where I got five identical shots like this.  More than a record shot this is a Trophy Shot in Newfoundland. Only one of the previous six Newfoundland records was photographed and poorly.

Cropped shot of above.

This is a particularly attractive Yellow-throated Warbler with a large yellow throat patch and bold black flank streaking. No matter how many you see they always look great in Newfoundland. 
Prairie Warblers are confiding friendly little warblers.  It is almost sad thinking how many end up in Newfoundland every autumn. It can't be good for their population.

1 comment:

  1. Great finds Bruce. We've been getting a few southern warblers here in NS. 4 Blue-winged Warblers, a Kentucky Warbler, and a bunch of Prairie Warblers. We also got some more good birds like Townsend's Warbler, White-eyed Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Connecticut Warbler.

    I know that NFLD is known for its records of Northern Wheatear but I had my first in Yarmouth on Sept. 3.

    Like you, I also work so I tend to miss out on the best birding times in the morning but this weekend looks like it could be somewhat nice. Good luck aldering!


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