Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rarity Round Up- June 15-21

I've been trying to think of regular content for the blog to ensure that I am able to continue to post daily. I've decided to add a new article in the mix called Rarity Round Up. This is essentially a compilation of the rarer birds that have been seen in Newfoundland during the previous seven day period. This is not meant to be an RBA, though you are welcome to contact me for updates if you wish. This is a discussion of the various rarities.I will highlight some of the more special birds, and add a little context to the record, in terms of the birds history or lack there of in Newfoundland.

**Note** If I miss something or make an error please feel free to correct, or remind me!

** Note** These posts will be organized taxonomically, rather than by date.

Rarity Round Up June 15-21

There is a continuing Gadwall at Virginia Lake in St.John's, while on the west coast t(Deer Lake- Codroy Valley)there have been a rash of reports of Northern Shovelers, who are likely rare breeders on the island. There is also a continuing Tufted Duck in St.John's which has been seen at Burtons Pd, on the Memorial University Campus.

The star of the last week has been the Sandhill Crane in the Goulds. A genuine rarity on the island of Newfoundland, you are quite lucky if you have an opportunity to see one of these every few years, but if you are going to see one in Newfoundland, the Goulds has been a good spot over the years.

Not quite as rare but every bit as cool was a Long-tailed Jaegerthat was seen and photographed in St.Anthony. While primarily a pelagic species that comes ashore to nest on the Arctic tundra, Long-tailed Jaeger are occasionally seen grazing on berries on the barrens at coastal locations in Newfoundland. In Spring it is often the sleek looking adults, while in fall the birds seen ashore are often immatures, which present a bit more of a ID challenge.

It's nice to see several reports of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds this week. While it is known that Ruby-throats breed in small numbers in the Codroy Valley, pairs seen in Renews and St.Georges are very interesting!

In Flycatcher news there have been a few reports of Eastern Kingbirds, which isn't too out of the ordinary for the season, as well there were several reports of Olive-sided Flycatchers. There was a also an Eastern Wood Pewee photographed in Gander, where it is extremely rare. The majority of records for Eastern Wood Pewee in Newfoundland are from the SW coast and the Avalon Peninsula.

There was a Philadelphia reported and photographed near Murphy's Pond in the Goulds, where there is also a continuing Gray Catbird. A second Philadelphia Vireo was see in Bishops Fall in central. where a couple of Red-eyed Vireo's were reported as well.

It was a good week for Black-billed Cuckoo sightings with two, one in Trepassey and another photographed on a lawn in Cape Ray. This is a solid rarity in the province, but when we do get records they are often in the latter half of June. Seeing one in the open on a lawn is especially fortuitous, since they are generally quite a reclusive species.

As for Warblers, there were a few reports each of Cape May, Blackburnian and Bay-breasted. This has been a decent year for these three species of 'Budworm" warblers, whose populations seem to ebb and flow in the SW and W portions of the province. The good work of Vernon Buckle in Forteau Labrador, shows that area should not be overlooked, with a pair of Cape May's this week. There was also a Nashville Warbler reported in the Codroy Valley- not too surprising since there are probably small numbers of them there annually in Spring.

Saving the best for last the long staying Purple Gallinule still continues in the Waterford River area of St.John's. The bird is one of about 30 provincial records, but it was the first 'countable' bird that any birder has seen. Previous records of moribund individuals, birds on ships, bird in boxes and specimens, don't make it to your life list.

Hope you enjoyed this quick read, please let me know if this is something you would be interested in having me continue in the comments.


  1. A great and auspicious start, Dave - keep up the good work and I look forward to reading your future postings (and hopefully contributing to some of them!)

  2. Thanks for the comments. Hopefully, there are lots of interesting birds to write about each week!


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