Blog Birding #301

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It’s an ambitious attempt, to try to break the record for species of gulls seen in one day at one site, but Brandon Holden of Peregrine Prints if going to try for it around the Niagara Falls region of Ontario. He lays out his strategy here. Check back to see how successful he was.

This Thursday, Ken Burrell and I are going to attempt a world record…

15 species of gull in a single region/day!

It will take 14 to tie… Which has happened before along the Niagara River and also in St. John’s, Newfoundland… Old-school blog readers will know that I have broken this down before, but never fully succeeded in getting the record.

And speaking of gulls, it looks like the western hemisphere added a new species this past week. Jame Smith at Pioneer Birding has the scoop on the Audouin’s Gull discovered in Trinidad.

It’s been quite a few years since I’ve seen Audouin’s Gull in the field (The Gambia in December 2007 to be exact), but the gull in the images appeared to have a striking resemblance to that species, so much so, that I wouldn’t want to repeat my immediate reaction to Martyn’s query, at least in public. As it happened, Martyn had independently arrived at the same conclusion, though had been understandably reserved given the potential scale of the record – a new bird to South America no less.

What’s in a bird name? Quite a lot according to Laura Erickson, as she breaks down the state of onomatopoetic names.

 One of my California birding friends, Jennifer Rycenga, just posted an intriguing thought on Facebook. She wrote, “You know what’s kind of weird? Trumpeter Swans sound like trumpets with their mutes in, which would really make them Muted Trumpeter Swans, except that would be too confusing, since there’s a species called Mute Swan.”

Wintertime is time for plumage oddities, as birds congregate together more and make the unusual individuals stand out more. Mia McPherson, of On the Wing Photography, had a chance encounter with a very strange goose.

Despite the cruddy light I scoped out the birds on the pond and spotted a white-headed goose. I knew that any images I took of it were going to be just for the purpose of documentation but I wanted photos of that white-headed goose to look at on my monitor at home so I fired away when it started to lift off from the pond.

I hope this first weekend of CBC-ing was an enjoyable one for those reading this post. Much of the continent say difficult conditions for at least half of the weekend, and Cape Sable Island in Nova Scotia was no different, as reported by Mark Dennis at Cape Sable Birding.

Anyway, last year it blew cold and rained and then blew even colder some more, it was not that much fun. This year winter called, bringing driving snow and a strong but not profoundly evil south-west wind that blew throughout making observation at range quite difficult. Mike MacDonald and I did the top-end of Cape Sable Island count although the west side is something of a mystery, access is hard in good weather, a folly in bad such as snow. I think we thought the task required optimism2 when we set out but, in the end it didn’t turn out too bad.

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