Monday, 16 May 2016

Gull, Flatfish, Lichen, & Caribou

Some randoms from this past weekend in Terra Nova:

First up, the Great Black-backed Gull and flatfish (flounder) fiasco.
Barry Day and I were walking along Buckley Trail (I didn't name it!!) when we noticed this GBBG perched up on a rock preparing its lunch. It didn't take long for it to finish its meal:

In the old burn site in the park the ground was covered in Labrador Tea plants and these matchstick-like lichen:

Turns out that they're called Cladonia cristatella - also known as British Soldiers.

They're an important food source for woodland caribou of Newfoundland.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Weekend in Terra Nova

Some photos from this past weekend in Terra Nova National Park (3hr drive West of St. John's).

Gray Jay:

My lifer Newfoundland Spruce Grouse (they aren't found on the Avalon peninsula): 

One spot I've been eyeing for a while in the park is a section of previously burned forest. Apparently the fire burned about 15 years ago. It didn't take us long to find a Black-backed Woodpecker working the trees for grub:

These fungi were covering the ground in the burned area. I've seen them before, but not this widespread. I'll have to try to figure out what species they are.

This Great Black-backed Gull swallowed a flounder (flatfish) whole after stabbing it repeatedly. I'll get the video uploaded soon!

Another Black-backed Woodpecker in another are of the park:

Hermit Thrushes are widespread breeders on the island:

Their flute-like song is one of my favourites:

I had about 10 Palm Warblers over the weekend in the park. Despite being so common in this area I've yet to find any singing on the Avalon:

Shorebird migration barely exists in the Spring in Newfoundland (unless you count vagrants from Europe!) - so seeing a small flock of 8 Least Sandpipers was nice:

Red-breasted Merganser:

Another Spruce Grouse - I had 5 in total over the weekend! All of them were very tame.

Only my second warbler species so far this year:

This Yellow-rumped Warbler stood out with its golden hues over the back. I assume this is a second year bird (hatched last year) based on these brownish feathers:

2 Redheads found just over a week ago in nearby Gander were still around so I stopped by to have a look at them myself. These are only the 9th record for the island!

The other highlight was a minimum of 3, probably up to 6, Northern Saw-whet Owls singing in the park. Here is a recording from one of them:

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Twillicks - 2016 Birdathon

In just under a few weeks time Catherine Barrett and I will be participating in the "Great Canadian Birdathon". Our team, "The Twillicks" will do the birdathon on the last weekend of May in an effort to see as many bird species as possible in 24 hours on the Avalon peninsula. The event is a way to promote awareness about our environment and help raise money to conserve birds and biodiversity across our country!

Please help us reach our fundraising goals. You can click on this link and then click the name of the person you would like to support to see our personal fundraising pages and make a donation.

Donations can be made as a flat fee (e.g. $20), or you can donate per species! We already have commitments of $2 for each species we see - which gives us extra incentive to make every effort to see as many species as possible :)

A tax receipt will be generated automatically via email. If you prefer you can give your donation to Catherine or myself directly (cash or cheque) and we will forward it to Bird Studies Canada.

A portion of the funds we raise will be returned to this province to Nature NL.

Thank you for your support!

"Twillicks" is a name used by Newfoundlanders for Greater Yellowlegs - a species I will guarantee that we see on the birdathon!

Surely there'll be some surprises, but what will it be this year?