Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Woodcocks Await..errr Maybe

One of the great things about doing a big year is it motivates, or perhaps forces one to do things that they might otherwise deem to be..well.. stupid!I found out a while ago that I would have the opportunity to go to Corner Brook
(600km W of St.John's) to participate in discussions about protecting some of Newfoundland's more vulnerable bird species. While that in itself is pretty cool, I immediately realized that trip trip would have a huge fringe benefit. It would put me within 190 km's of the Codroy Valley, the only place in Newfoundland where the elusive American Woodcock can be reliably seen..check that heard, they're almost never seen. Now the issue is I will have only a single evening to hear Woodcock. This might not seem like such a Herculean task if it weren't for the fact that A) Woodcock is a rare bird in Newfoundland and B) the weather forecast is horrible!! So, it seems the odds are definitely stacked against me, but the plans are made and I'm going to give it a try anyway.

So,I'll be attending a meeting on Wednesday until about 4:30, then bolting for the Codroy Valley asap, hopefully in time to orient myself,do some very quick scouting and then get set up and ready to hear a Woodcock during the small window of time when they display after sunset. Thankfully, I won't be alone during all of this. Fellow intrepid birder, Jared Clarke, has agreed to join me. He has yet to see American Woodcock in Newfoundland, so it wasn't that hard to convince him to take part in my misadventure!

I've just taken an opportunity to check the forecast for the Codroy area and it looks like we can expect winds between 20-50 km/hr along with up to 5 cm of snow and some rain, sounds great- NOT! Nevertheless, trips like this are part of doing big years. There are species you just must have and Woodcock is one of these. So in spite of snow, or rain, or hail, or wind, Jared and I will be out tomorrow night straining our ears, bracing against the wind, listening for that distinctive peent, peent. So think of us when your relaxing in nice warm homes and maybe even wish us some luck, because I think we'll need it.

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