Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Rarity Round up July 1st- July 10th

We are starting to get into the dog days of summer now. Birds are actively feeding young and birdsong is beginning to diminish. The birding calendar is starting to turn from songbirds to seabirds as we anticipate the arrival of capelin and the hordes of birds that feed on them. Already there have been reports of significant gatherings of Gannets and Shearwaters on the SW Avalon and increasing whale and Gannet action on the SE Avalon Peninsula suggests that the Shearwaters cannot be far away.

In the last edition of rarity round up, I noted that July was a good month to find rare Terns on the Avalon Peninsula in summer. John Williams and Dave Hawklins proved this to be true by finding an exceptional Roseate Tern in Bear Cove on July 9th. This is just the 3 record of this rare, endangered Tern for Newfoundland, so quite an amazing find. Both John and Dave are more than adept bird photographers so they did a great job of documenting the rarity!

Roseate Tern, Bear Cove, Newfoundland
Note the long black bill and extremely long tail, extending well beyond the wing tips
PHOTO : John Williams
Comparison of Common and Roseate Tern Newfoundland
Comparison with Common Tern- note differences in structure and bill colour
PHOTO: John Williams

The other exciting birds of the week are continuing and possibly a new Little Egret. Earlier this Spring Newfoundland experienced an influx of Great Egrets and it seems that a few of them are hanging on into the summer. Also present is a continuing Little Egret Spaniard's Bay that was first found and report by Lois Clarke. Due to some investigative journalism by local birders Shawn Fitzpatrick it was found that the bird had actually been present since at least June 18th. I suspect it is likely this this bird found its way to Newfoundland even earlier in the Spring, which would be a more likely time of arrival for this rare European Egret.

Also in Little Egret news a second (or the same?) individual was reported from Pond Rd in Kelligrews on July 10th! It's not yet clear if this represents a second bird or if the Spaniard's bay bird has switched locations.
The Spaniard's Bay Little Egret with prey
PHOTO: John Williams

Spaniard's Bay Little Egret taking flight.
Note the two long head plumes and bluish lore, which help to separate it from the very similar Snowy Egret, which has more bushy, shorter head plumes and yellow lores
PHOTO: John Williams

In the future I think I will write these articles 3 times monthly, with each one covering 10 days. I would like to thank John Williams for allowing me to use his images for this article and I would also like to thank everyone else who has supported the page, offered suggestions, donated photos etc. It really does mean a lot! 

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