Sorry again that there has been some along time between posts, at least the interval has been reduced! Anyway,things have really gotten exciting on the Newfoundland birding scene over the last week,with a combination of mini fallout of southern vagrants and a mini European invasion, as odd combination that would never happen anywhere else on earth! This odd combination of vagrant birds is what makes Newfoundland such a unique and exciting birding destination. We may not have 300+ breeding species,but when things are"happening" in Newfoundland, there is really no place I would rather be birding.
The events that I speak of above were likely precipitated by a couple of weather events. One a nice low pressure system sitting south of Iceland that generated winds directly to Newfoundland and a series of low pressure systems that quickly moved up the eastern seaboard that generated offshore winds from the Carolinas directly to southern Newfoundland. Below are a series of images showing the surface pressure maps for April 27th-May 3rd.
Birds likely started arriving in Newfoundland on Thursday April 29th. On that day there were a few Veeries reported from Cape Race and Trepassey and a Cattle Egret from nearby Portugal Cove South. Over the following days the true breadth of the event would be realized,when reports of southern vagrants poured in from all over the Avalon Peninsula and the entire south coast of the province. it is interesting to note that there have not been similar reports in other parts of Atlantic Canada and the NE US,indicating that the winds that blew offshore from the Carolinas carried birds from there or points south,directly to the shores of Newfoundland. The bird that has been reported the most has been Rose-breasted Grosbeak. This species beeds in the Canadian Martimes,but is still considered a vagrant in Newfoundland. There are a few reports each spring,but nothing like the influx of the last week. So far there have been over the 30+ reports of this species from birders and feeder watchers. One can only guess how many have gone unseen,perhaps hundreds! Other birds included in this even are Indigo Buntings, a few Scarlet Tanagers, A few Baltimore Orioles, Veeries, Swainson's Thrush, Grey Cheeked Thrush( a month early!!),Gray Catbird,Purple Martin,Eastern Phoebe,HOODED WARBLER,PROTHONOTARY WARBLER,Snowy Egret, Great Egret(several) and Cattle Egret. Who knows what else is lurking out there waiting to be discovered.
Well, if the above even was not extraordinary enough, we managed to find a few "decent" European birds to round out the week. The juxtaposition of the European and North American rarities is what makes Newfoundland bird so great and yet so unique. Where else in the world could you see a Garganey, Ruff and Hooded Warbler in the same day? What about Northern Lapwing and Cattle Egret?Yes, in the past Newfoundland had been referred ot as Attu east and it is times like this that the name is so rightly deserved.
I mentioned in the my previous post that Euro Golden Plovers might be on the way,due to a nice weather system that was generating winds from Iceland to Newfounldand. Well, we didn;t quite get an influx of Euro Golden Plovers,but we have gotten two this week, which is more than the rest of North American can say ;)Along with the Plovers,are the aforementioned Northern Lapwing,Garganey, Ruff and throw in a Northern Wheatear and you have yourself a nice little mix of European birds,not bad for a weeks birding in North America's most easterly province.
So what's next? Well spring is just getting started. There is still plenty of time for more European bird and southern US vagrants,not to mention that our own breeding birds will be arriving en masse over the next month. This is an exciting time to be a birder in Newfoundland and not a bad time to visiting birder on our shores either!
The songbird workshop starts this Saturday- still some room left,details in the workshops section of my blog. Also, I will be leaving for the Codroy valley in SW Newfoundland ina few weeks. I hope to be there for a minimum of three weeks. This is the most bird rich area of our province,but can be difficult to bird if you don't know your way around. If your planning on birding in the area, I'm booking day trips ( and more) now. Why waste time stumbling around trying to find the best birding spots when you can have an experienced birder,out you on the great birds? If you into photography,this is even more important. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your day trip or vacation today. I'm only allowing a small percentage of my time there for guiding so space is limited.