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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dirty Duck

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 It is easy to gaze out over all the diving ducks and overlook the unusual. After more than 30 minutes of looking, I spotted this odd Tufted Duck.
 It has all the markings of a male, but it has quite a brown chest. What? Even the duck is perplexed...
After a consultation, I agree it is most likely this is just a dirty duck. It is the only one like this. I can't help but wonder where it got all of this mess on its breast.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Celebrity Visitor

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A rare Bearded Seal showed up in Quidi Vidi this week. It took a couple of days for the news to get out, but when it did, people hurried over to have a look.
 On January 12, 2015 a Bearded Seal was reported near Triton. Is this the same seal that has worked its way around the shoreline? Looking at the photos posted by Dennis Smeaton on Nature NL, I don't think so. The Triton seal seems to be much bigger than the QV seal.
 This arctic species most likely came in with the ice that is moving into the waters off Newfoundland.
 The white whiskers for which it is named seem to have a coating of ice on them. Being unfamiliar with this species, it is possible they are just that coarse.
 It was very comfortable in the area as it dove into the water and repeatedly climbed back up on the ice.
This one chose to languish dangerously close to a high-end restaurant that has seal on the menu:)

 Lurking along the edge of far-side rock was this super-sized Mink. It is the largest I have ever seen. I watched as it tripped its way across the thin ice next to the rock edge.
It also had a great winter coat which is also a first for me. I have only seen mink in the summer. This creature was large enough to ensure I would not want to approach it for better photos.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Banded Gulls

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Numerous banded and tagged gulls have been seen and reported around St. John's. Most of the reports show up on the Discussion Group. Others do not. I don't think there is any local, centralized location that summarizes the sightings and details about the bird. This page is a start to try to maintain an accessible and thorough record of our reports. If anyone would care to submit a photo to be used where I don't have any available or have additional information about any of the banded gulls, please use the contact form on the right column of this site. I will add the information to the chart.
Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Mew Gull: # 794-25822 silver tagSeen by LdL at QV Lake, St. John's, NL on March 10, 2015.
This bird was tagged as a first-winter Mew on February 11, 2011 at QV Lake. Another banded Mew Gull was seen on Nov. 21, 2013 by L. Chang.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Herring Gull: # Wing Tag X29 - Leg Band #24Seen by LdL at QV Lake, St. John's, NL on March 7, 2014.
This bird breeds in Witless Bay and was banded in July 2012

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Herring Gull: # Leg Band #29Seen by LdL at QV Lake, St. John's, NL on March 10, 2015.
HATCHED IN 2010 OR EARLIER, Banded 11/23/2011.

This bird was also seen on Feb. March 15, 2014 at QV Lake by L. Chang.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Herring Gull: # Leg Band 2ASeen by LdL at QV Lake, St. John's, NL on March 8, 2015 with an injured right leg.


Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Herring Gull: # Leg Band GVImage provided by Lancy Chang. Seen by Lancy Chang at QV Lake, St. John's, NL in early March 2015 and reported to look healthy.
Hatched in 2000, banded in 2003 and is 2nd oldest record in Canada and 7th oldest in North America.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Herring Gull: # Leg Band ZMNo Image. Banded in 2012 and last seen at QV Lake, St. John's, NL in 2013.
Was originally banded in 1998, making it about 15 years old.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band A4Seen by LdL on Nov. 1, 2013 and again on March 10, 2015.
Was originally banded at Quidi Vidi Lake in November 2011.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band A8Seen by Les Sweetapple at Mundy Pond on Dec. 22, 2012 and by Lancy Chang on December 18, 2012.
HATCHED IN 2011, Banded 01/06/2012.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band C8Image by Les Sweetaple. Seen by Les Sweetapple at Mundy Pond on Dec. 3, 2014.
Banded on February 2, 2012 at QV Lake.


Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band E6Image provided by Lancy Chang. Seen by LdL at QV Lake on Feb 3, 2013 and by Lancy Chang on January 27, 2014

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band F5No image. Seen by Gene Herzberg at QV Lake on January 7, 2014.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band F6 Seen by LdL at QV Lake on December 18, 2013 and again on January 15, 2015.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band H1Seen by LdL on January 1, 2015 at QV Lake.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band H6Seen by LdL on January 1, 2015 at QV Lake.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band J1Seen by LdL on January 1, 2014 at QV Lake.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band K6Seen by LdL at QV Lake on March 10, 2015.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band L0Seen by LdL on March 10, 2015 at QV Lake.
Birds banded in the L series = L0, L1 and L2 were banded in St. John's in January 2014.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band CZSeen by LdL on March 10, 2015 at QV Lake.

Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Iceland Gull: # Leg Band M5Seen by LdL on March 11, 2015 at QV Lake.


Banded/Tagged BirdDetails
Great Black-backed Gull: # Leg Band HEImage provided by Lancy Chang, seen on February 19, 2014. Later seen by LdL on March 22, 2014 at QV Lake.
Bird was banded in St. John's in 2011.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Tagging Up

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 Birding around St. John's takes on something of a Winter pattern. By now, all birders know where our unusual birds are. In fact, they have become more like our Winter pets than vagrant birds. Making a visit to see these birds like this Pine Warbler, the Red-winged Blackbird (pictured below) and the Brown Thrasher has become a birding routine. You can't go to Cape Spear everyday...
 Today while visiting the Bowring Park mixed flock, I got a rare bonus. Pippin (the Pine Warbler) has made a lot of friends who come to his buffet regularly. (I have showcased many of little ones in a previous post.)
 The latest addition to the gang is a terrific, peanut butter-loving Brown Creeper. It showed up shortly after I arrived at the viewing station, which has actually become quite slippery from all of the viewers standing for long periods of time.
 There it was in full view! Who gets to look at a creeper like this? I am used to tracking them through thick cover all around and up and down a tree, never really getting a good chance to look at it.
 This bark-colored bird didn't mind four of us standing nearby. It was savoring every morsel of peanut butter it could lick off the tree.
 He was so happy he squealed!
 Having an "eye" that has a predisposition to horizontal rather than vertical, I have rotated two images to be able to study the pattern of this bird in a more familiar position.
 The longer he ate, the bigger the chunks of peanut butter he took.
 Grabbing a large piece for "take-out," it flew off toward the washrooms, leaving four birders very happy for the visit.
 Continuing my "tagging up," I headed to Cochrane Pond to have a look at the Red-winged Blackbird that has wintered there. It was in the same area, except on the opposite side of the road. Seeds had been spread there, and it seemed like a safer, more protected location.
 What do our Winter birds have in common? They eat... a lot. They have to in order to stave off the cold winter temperatures and winds. All of our visitors have received a lot of help from local birders to survive the harsh conditions to which they are unaccustomed.
Leaving Goulds, I headed to Long Pond to see the Brown Thrasher. I didn't stay very long. As a result, I didn't see it today, but it has been seen by others and seems to be thriving.  And ...so it goes...the need to see woodland birds has been fulfilled...for a while at least.