It seems odd but I have never seen a shearwater before. Most people probably are in the same boat as me, although probably more apathetic to the issue than I am. However, I want to see shearwaters and have had ample opportunities. Despite living in and visiting Nova Scotia and despite several trips to Newfoundland, shearwaters never made it into my field of view. Or maybe they did and I couldn't ID them. Whatever the reason, the recent family visit to Newfoundland held promise to break this streak.
In fact I came away with three species of shearwater: SOOTY, GREATER and MANX.
Here are the locales where I had success:
Little Catalina: |This small commnity is typical of small-town Newfoundland and it provided me with my best look at a shearwater flock. And if you haven't seen a shearwater flock in action, I will tell yo that it is an impressive sight and slightly vertigo inducing. The birds seem to flow back and forth, swarming with all the structure of bees defending a hive. The birds fly very low to the water, seeming like they play chicken with the waves. SOOTY SHEARWATERS dominated this flock. A couple of GREATER SHEARWATERS and a MANX SHEARWATER were also seen although there is no doubt that there had to be other representatives of these species in the cyclone of birds. I also picked out a couple of NORTHERN FULMARS and closer to shorre some BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES.
Bonavista: On a visit to the Bonavista lighthouse, I was able to get the scope out and found another decent flock of shearwaters. Most of the flock was floating on the water. Again, tons of SOOTY SHEARWATERS bt it was also easy to find GREATER and MANX. This place was great for viewing puffins ( I'll eventually get around to writing about places to see puffins ).
Cape Spear: Cape Spear is a must-see whenever one visits Newfoundland. It is a site for the whole family, the easten most point in North America. Ideally one can see great scenery, pelagic birds, land birds and whales. I didn't get out to Cape Spear on an ideal day. Still, I had my best views of GREAT SHEARWATERS. NORTHERN GANNETS and gulls are relatively easy to find.
Four pelagic life birds was excellent for me as pelagics have never been my specialty. Given the number of sites, not to mention whale-watching tours, pelagic birds can be seen by a birding parent.
Things I am Thinking About Right Now...
- 1. Finally Updated; A busy ( and not-so-birdy fall ) fall
- 2. A smew in Ontario ??? And I got to see it !
- 3. Thinking about summer vacation...
- 4. And Sping trips too !
- 5. Quite a few Winter rarities around. May try to add a few more to the list
- 6. Still no snow on the ground...
- 7. Project FeederWatch is going strong. Two eports submitted...
- 8. I think I have convinced my wife to visit Cape May next summer !
- 9. The Elephant Pepper Development Trust ( Check out their site ! )
- 10. Tying to decide how to spend my remaining gift certificates !