Saturday, June 23, 2018

What's Next!

In this segment I will attempt to predict new birds that could possibly be added to the Newfoundland list. Some of these will be total long shots, but most will have at least some basis in reality. I will attempt to provide justification based on species migration habits, proximity of other records to Newfoundland as well as, changing weather patters and habitat etc.

I am omitting Labrador for now, now because I have some kind of grudge against Labrador and it's fantastic people, more so because I don't know know about what's possible in Labrador to comment. To put it another way, anything seems to be possible in Newfoundland. In the number of few yeas they've had Yellow-breasted Bunting, Western Tanager and Lewis' Woodpecker!

The last three birds added to the Newfoundland list were Eared Grebe, Willow Flycatcher and Western Meadowlark. Two of these birds presented enormous ID challenges, with extensive analysis of calls (via sonagram) used to finally clinch the Willow Flycatcher. None of these birds were necessarily unexpected. There is a previous record for Eared Grebe from St.Pierre et Miquelon and previous records from elsewhere in Atlantic Canada. Willow Flycatcher has been know to breed occasionally in the southern Martimes. Since it is essentially identical in every way to Alder Flycatcher (aside from song and call) it may be overlooked on occasion. I don't have a lot of information on Western Meadowlark. Considering Eastern Meadowlark is extremely rare in Newfoundland, Western was a bit of a surprise, though not shocking. Again, this can be a very difficult ID, not only because Eastern and Western Meadowlark are extremely similar, but they can also be very secretive, often only allowing brief looks after being flushed (unless they are perched up singing)

So what's next? The Newfoundland list currently stands at 404 species, what might be 405? Well considering we are well into the the breeding season with shorebird migration starting in the next month, I will go with a shorebird. Newfoundland already has a nice shorebird lists with some exciting birds from, North America, Europe and Asia. We've had Marbled Godwit, American Avocet and Black-necked Stilt from Western North America, Northern lapwing, European Golden Plover and Common Redshank from Europe and our most recent shorebird added to the Newfoundland list was Little Stint likely of Asian origin.

This might be a bit of a long shot, but I'l going to go with Long-billed Curlew as the next bird to be added to he Newfoundland list (if a new bird is added between now and October). Long-billed Curlew has been recorded in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and there was a Long-billed Curlew shot in St.Pierre et Miquelon maybe 10+ years ago. This is a bird I see happening at Cape Race or maybe St.Shotts. It would be a thrill to find standing near the Cape Race lighthouse or walking the fields at the St.Shotts Sod farm. This is a species I've predicting would happen for a while and it still hasn't happened yet, so who knows.

This may become a regular series, depending on how people like it. In future posts like this I will be a bit more prepared and will try to gain access to photos of the various rarities that I mention, since it's always fun to see photos of rarities from the past.
Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Curlew-plates from Sibley Guide


  1. Dave, does your 404 include Cackling Goose? It's not on the latest NF checklist. I saw a perfectly valid, well described and researched bird at Biscay Bay some 10 years ago now, but Bruce doesn't believe it's a valid species (although the AOU do!) You may be looking for #406. We can discuss. Dave Shepherd

  2. Bruce also had a Cackling Goose in the Codroy this year. I don't know if my list includes it or not. I went with the list as it is on eBird. I guess we kind of have to follow the AOU. I think Euro Herring Gull is a good species, so do the BOU, but the AOU doesn't agree!


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