Thursday 9 October 2014

Canvasback is Rarest in Newfoundland

Without too much research it is probably safe to say that Canvasback is rarer in Newfoundland than any province or state in North America. With the first record in November 1973 and the second today 9 October 2014 it is the rarest duck on the Newfoundland list. Right in there with Common Shelduck tentatively on the list with two records in last five years. Even Garganey is more routine with four records. So it is easy to understand why every birder in town descended on Kenny's Pond behind the St.John's Holiday Inn after I stumbled across an immature CANVASBACK there.  I was using the cell phone outside in the wind when phone calls were met with periods of confused scepticism and silence when I said CANVASBACK at Kenny's Pd.  Some people thought I was saying "Ken is back".  As if  Ken was even away. One person responded with " a Canada-what?"  It was difficult news to swallow I know. THERE IS A !!#&%&^#!! CANVASBACK DUCK AT KENNY'S POND NOW !!! Once the messages got through the common response was " I am on the way".

The rest is history. And we expect a long history with this bird as it looks settled down with the 35 other aythya ducks present (4 species including nine Tufted Ducks).  Kenny's Pond is a favourite among St. John's aythya until freeze up in December.

Whoops, looks like I've been detected. I was thinking it was the slightly more regular but still very rare Redhead duck before it whipped out the bill.

No confusing that one of a kind profile especially among some smaller Tufted Ducks.

Already tamed and associating with the human desensitized wild ducks (Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, Tufted Ducks, American Black Ducks), I wonder how this would have affected our thoughts on its provenance if it had been say a Common Pochard!? 

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