I don't always see a new bird when I make routine stops at "giving" locations, but I often see irregularities. When I pulled off on the side of the road at Quidi Vidi Lake, I spotted a small gull with a lot of color on its forehead. I had to get out to check it out. It turned out to be a pink-bellied Black-headed Gull with what might be a bit of oil on its head. The feathers appear to be somewhat matted.
Nearby, I found a Black-headed gull that is further along than most in the transition to Spring plumage. Looking over all of the small gulls, it is really remarkable how varied the head markings are.
While enjoying the sights at the lake, the calm was shattered by this bully Iceland Gull who for no reason at all jumped up and grabbed the wing of a Black-headed Gull. He hung on to the little bird for about 30 seconds before it freed itself. What was that all about?
At the Virginia River outlet, I was surprised to find FIVE Song Sparrows picking at the seed in the parking lot. Two immature Bald Eagles were at the far side of the lake working on a late breakfast, and the usual flurry of gulls and ducks were bathing in the small swatch of open water. Nope, no rarities were present, but plenty of enjoyment was derived from watching and experiences the little, unexpected surprises unfolding before me.
With a little help of this juvenile Bald Eagle, I was able to see just how many Purple Sandpipers there really are at Cape Spear. Driving them out of the crevices, this eagle dislodged three separate flocks that joined to create one huge flock.
In one of my photos I counted 96 individual, and there were still a few stragglers not photographed.
It is always a sight to behold as they weave along the edge of the rocks, eventually coming in for a landing. These birds were first seen below the main lookout and below the canon. It is very hard to count them on the rocks, because of the many hiding places and constant movement.
Flight shots always give a better count.
It is also quite easy to pick out the odd ones. In this case, a Sanderling has joined the group. I looked the photos over closely and saw no other different species. If you haven't been to Cape Spear to see this natural show, it is worth standing in the freezing temps and high winds to experience it first hand.
While at the Cape for about an hour and a half, this lone duck flew by. I watched it come in from the distance and was able to get a few shots as it drew nearer. It turned out to be yet another female King Eider. In both cases when I have seen Kings over the last month, the female King was alone. It worth keeping a close eye out for any and everything flying and for single birds sitting in the distance..