Sunday 29 May 2016


Alvan Buckley discovered a CAVE SWALLOW at Quidi Vidi lake, St. John's, Avalon Peninsula Newfoundland today. It was present for at least five hours feeding mainly in the middle of the lake far from shore. Views were distant and photography tough but for a five minute period in early afternoon when it fed with some Tree Swallows over the grass along the shoreline and over the Virginia River mouth parking lot practically flying in between a half dozen people watching. It was almost touchable. Very difficult for cameras to auto focus on the fast moving bird at close range.  Below are some pictures from that five minutes.  

The bird had a dark chestnut rump which is a feature indicating, but not confirming, the West Indies race of Cave Swallow.  Further investigation may follow. This might be the more expected source of a spring vagrant.  Spring records of cave Swallow for eastern North America are few. Nova Scotia has some old records. New Jersey gets them occasionally in spring. Late fall Cave Swallows are much more routine in the northeast and are suspected of originating from Texas and Mexico. The only previous Newfoundland Cave Swallow was from Long Beach, near Cape Race 12-14 Nov 2008 (found by Cliff Doran).

Below is Newfoundland's first Cave Swallow at Long Beach, Cape Race 12-14 Nov 2008. The rump was paler on this bird than today's Cave Swallow.

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