Atlantic: Fall 2023

Fall 2023: 1 Aug–30 Nov

David Seeler
dseeler@eastlink.ca

Recommended citation:

Seeler, D. 2024. Fall 2023: Atlantic. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-h14> North American Birds.

Overall, temperatures eventually moderated to near normal for most of the Region, while precipitation was near normal for the season. By mid-season, the Jet Stream pattern that was in effect approached the Region from the south eastern United States. This pattern moderated to a westerly flow across Canada later within the season. Hurricane Lee downgraded to a tropical storm as it entered the Bay of Fundy on 16 September. It quickly downgraded to a post-tropical storm and continued in a north easterly direction into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On its initial approach into Canadian waters, the tropical storm winds extended up to 290 miles from the centre of the storm contributing to the presence of storm vagrants to the Region.

This season saw the acquisition of numerous records to the Region and numerous species invading the Region. Of note was the presence of Tundra Bean-Goose, Eared Grebe, Limpkin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Dunlin (ssp. arctica), Franklin’s Gull, Sooty Tern, Swallow-tailed Kite, Crested Caracara, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Bell’s Vireo, and MacGillivray’s Warbler amongst others.

Waterfowl through Skimmer

An immature Tundra Bean-Goose at Milford, Halifax Co NS 14-18 Nov (ph. Ray Wershler, ph. David Currie, ph. Mary Kennedy, m.ob.) provided the province with its second record for that species. Pink-footed Goose is casual to Nova Scotia where individuals were reported at Snide’s Lake, Hants Co 1 Oct (ph. Natalie Barkhouse-Bishop et al.), on the Second Peninsula, Lunenburg Co 14 Oct+ (ph. James Hirtle, m. ob.), while two Pink-footed Geese were at Glace Bay, Cape Breton Island 27 Oct (ph. Ronnie Howell). A Pink-footed Goose in the Bible Hill area, Truro NS 23 Oct+ (ph. Mary Kennedy, ph. Ross Hall et al.) was joined for the day by a second individual on 27 Oct (ph. Paolo Matteucci). The last Pink-footed Goose to be reported in Nova Scotia was at Derbert, Colchester Co NS 14 Nov (Ray Wershler, David Currie). An immature Tundra Swan, a casual vagrant to Nova Scotia, was also in the Milford area 14 Nov+ (ph. Ray Wershler, ph. David Currie, m. ob.). Two Horned Grebes, casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon, were at Anse de Ynachi, Langlade 14 Nov (ph. Laurent Jackman).

Accidental to Nova Scotia, an Eared Grebe at Amherst Point Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Cumberland Co 22-31 Oct (ph. Shawn Chapman, m. ob.) provided the province with its third well documented record of the species (fide Alex d’Entremont). The White-winged Dove at Renews, Avalon Peninsula NL 23-26 Sep (ph. Charles Fitzpatrick, ph. Alison Mews et al) provided that province with its ninth record. Erratic Visitors to Prince Edward Island, tow yellow-billed cuckoos were reported: one, deceased, was found along Union Road, Queens Co 12 Oct (ph. Lyndsay MacWilliams), while the other was at South Lake, Kings Co 15 Oct (ph. Hélène Blanchet). On insular Newfoundland individual Yellow-billed Cuckoos, casual to that province, were at Bear Cove Point, Avalon Peninsula 19 Oct (ph. Ethel Dempsey, ph. John Brattey) and in the Rocky Pond area, Lumsden 27 Oct (ph. Barry Day). Individual Common Nighthawks, casual to Newfoundland and Labrador, were at Birch Island Creek, Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay 12 Aug (Jacques Lavallée), and at Red Rock, South Coast-Channel-Port aux Basques 27 Sep (Tina Randell. Randolph White, Mike House). A Chimney Swift at Cape St. Mary’s Avalon Peninsula NL 17 Aug (Reid Hildebrand), and two observed in flight at Bear Cove Point, Avalon Peninsula 3 Sep (ph. Denise McIsaac, ph. Clarissa McIsaac et al.). A casual vagrant to St. Pierre et Miquelon, a Chimney Swift was at Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island 21-22 Sep (ph. Patrick Hacala). A Limpkin, accidental to Nova Scotia, lingered at the Crosby’s Garden Centre, Bristol, Queens Co 16-18 Oct (Ivan Crosby, ph. Mark and Sandra Dennis, Mike MacDonald, m. ob.) providing the province with its third record for the species. Casual to Newfoundland and Labrador, five Sandhill Cranes were reported on insular Newfoundland this season. Prince Edward Island now considers Sandhill Crane as a rare visitor to the province, where five individuals were also reported.

An American Avocet, casual to New Brunswick, lingered along the Dieppe Marsh Trail, Westmorland Co 10-23 Oct (ph. Rhonda and Paul Langelaan, m. ob.). Casual to Nova Scotia, an American Avocet was present at the Guzzle, Cape Sable Island, Shelburne Co 3 Nov (ph. Mark Dennis et al.). A Common-ringed Plover—casual to Newfoundland and Labrador—was discovered at Trepassey, Lower Coast, Avalon Peninsula 9-16 Sep (ph. Bruce Mactavish, ph. Alison Mews et al.). More surprising was the Common Ringed Plover along the western coast of insular Newfoundland at Codroy Valley Provincial Park, St. George’s-Stephenville 22 Sep (ph. Denise McIsaac, ph. Kathy Marche, Alvan Buckley). A Bar-tailed Godwit—accidental to Nova Scotia—initially located 30 Jul at Louis Head, Shelburne Co lingered through 2 Aug (ph. Bill Crosby, ph. Jason Dain, ph. Mike MacDonald et al.) provided the province with its sixth record. Casual in New Brunswick, Marbled Godwit rested briefly in Red Head Marsh, St. John 15 Aug (ph. Paul Clark, ph. vt. John and Therese Carroll, ph. Shari Foley). A Ruff at Stephenville Crossing, St. George’s-Stephenville NL 19-23 Oct (ph. Alison Mews, ph. Bruce Mactavish et al.) where unexpected. Another Ruff was in St. John’s NL 15 Nov+ (ph. Bruce Mactavish, ph. Jared Clarke et al.).  The Curlew Sandpiper, a casual vagrant to New Brunswick, was observed at Waterside Beach, Albert Co 15 Sep (ph. Barbara Curlew) was the sole report of that species for the region. An exceptional find at an unexpected location, was the Dunlin (ssp. arctica) at Shoal Point, Port-au-port Peninsula, St. George’s-Stephenville NL 17 Aug (ph. Denise McIsaac) which provided the province with its third record for the subspecies (fide Alvan Buckley). A Baird’s Sandpiper, a casual visitor to St. Pierre et Miquelon, at Marcadet, St. Pierre Island 28 Aug—20 Sep (ph. Joël Detcheverry, ph. Patrick Hacala, ph. Laurent Jackman) was joined by a second individual 12-14 Sep (ph. Joël Detcheverry).

Buff-breasted Sandpiper is uncommon to insular Newfoundland, but are considered casual vagrants to Labrador, where an individual was at Dry Pond, Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay 26 Aug (ph. Vernon Buckle, ph. Sara Pence Meijerink). This individual was likely the same Buff-breasted Sandpiper observed at nearby Point Amour, Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay 7 Sep (fide Vernon Buckle). The previous report of Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Labrador was in 1994. Nova Scotia observed its largest fall influx of Western Sandpipers to date this season with at least 22 individuals being reported—an unprecedented number (fide Alex d’Entremont). Two Western Sandpipers were reported in New Brunswick, one at Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Centre, Westmoreland Co 6 Sep (ph. Alain Clavette, Gilles Belliveau, ph. Felix Messer), and the other was in the Migratory Bird Sanctuary Reserve, Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co 6 Sep (ph. Mitch Doucet). A Long-billed Dowitcher—accidental to St. Pierre et Miquelon—was present on Isthme de Miquelon-Langlade 15 Oct (ph. Laurent Jackman), and  provided the French Isles with their  second record of that species. A Willet (ssp. inornata) at Point Armour, Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay 16 Sep (ph. Vernon Buckle), provided the first record for Labrador, and the second record for Newfoundland and Labrador. Later, a Willet (ssp. inornata) was located at Trepassey, Avalon Peninsula 27 Nov (ph. John Brattey, ph. Alison Mews, ph. Ethel Dempsey, ph. Bruce Mactavish), providing insular Newfoundland with its second record, or the province’s third record. The first record for Newfoundland and Labrador was established at Argentia, Avalon Peninsula NL 21 Jul 2022 (ph. Glenn Mitchell).

Casual to New Brunswick’s waters, three South Polar Skuas were reported during Pelagic Trips in the Bay of Fundy, Charlotte Co, with one being observed during the same trip south of Grand Manan Island 10 Aug (ph. Mitch Doucet, m.ob.), while two were reported in the Bay of Fundy, Charlotte Co 17 Aug (Dominic Cormier et al). Long-tailed Jaeger is accidental to New Brunswick waters. This season four were observed during one pelagic tour in the Bay of Fundy, south of Grand Manan Island NB 10 August (ph. Mitch Doucet, ph. Denise Boudreau, m. ob.) providing that province with its fifth through eighth records of that species. There is increasing concern over the health of the Atlantic Puffin colonies offshore of Newfoundland. This past breeding season it was discovered that many Atlantic Puffin chicks had perished in their nests, and those which were found alive were seriously underweight. Tests for Avian Flu ruled out that infectious disease, but inspection of the chicks showed that they were simply “skin and bones” (fide Sabina Wilhem). It appears that the lack of Capelin in the waters surrounding Newfoundland at the time of juveniles’ fledging, led to their demise. Currently, the breeding population is currently at least 300,000 nesting pairs at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, it is believe that the population remains robust at this time (fide Sabina Wilhelm). Professor Ian Jones, a Marine Biologist at Memorial University, St. John’s linked his concerns in respect to the marine ecosystem—“The effects of fishing a forage species, a rapidly warming ocean due to climate change, increasing amounts of artificial light, seabird hunting and monofilament fishing nets are cumulatively stacked against seabirds’ long-term survival”.  Professor Jones further noted the decline in population of the Leach’s Storm-Petrel of 50 percent in recent years in regional waters.

A Sabine’s Gull at Head Harbour Passage, Charlotte Co NB 17 Aug—9 Sep (ph. Chris Bartlett, ph. Dave Hitchcox, m. ob.) was a casual visitor to that province.  Casual to Prince Edward Island, a Little Gull was observed at East Point, Kings Co 23 Sep (ph. Natalie Barkhouse-Bishop, ph. Wayne Greene). The Franklin’s Gull at East Point, Kings Co PE 19 Sep (ph. Roberta Palmer) provided the province with its third record. Accidental to Nova Scotia, two Sooty Terns—an adult, and an immature—were storm vagrants discovered at Yarmouth Harbour, Yarmouth Co 16 Sep (ph. Andrew Markel, ph. Billy Weber) provided the province with its seventh and eighth records for the species (fide Alex d’Entremont). On the same day, two Sooty Terns, again an adult and immature, were observed at Western Head, Scott’s Bay, Queens Co NS (ph. Alvan Buckley, ph. Dominic Cormier) providing the province with its ninth and 10th records. Alex d’Entremont noted that “Sooty and Bridled Tern records in the Atlantic provinces are almost exclusively associated with hurricane/storm events and seem to be brief observations during the peak of the storm before disappearing. Interestingly, many of the previous records were associated with the eye of the storm. When we observed these terns we were ~ 200 km northwest of the eye (where the winds are the strongest and were directly onshore)”. Two Gull-billed Terns, likely displaced casual vagrants from Hurricane Lee were reported in Nova Scotia: one was at Baccaro Peninsula, Shelburne Co 17 Sep (Bruce DiLabio), while the other was in the Grand Pré area, Kings Co 17-25 Sep (ph. Guy Stevens, m. ob.).

BEGIN SA

Leach’s Storm-petrel in Newfoundland is at grave risk due to light pollution.

This bird, recently the most abundant breeding seabird in Newfoundland and Labrador, is currently at grave risk of extirpation, with a precipitous population decline by half or more in the last 25 years, making it one of the most endangered and rapidly disappearing bird species in Canada. Its status as a dominant bird of the Northwest Atlantic should direct concern about its conservation—it is one of our most important Atlantic Canadian seabirds. Millions of these birds have vanished. Metaphorically, Leach’s Storm-petrels are our marine Passenger Pigeon, whose fate is linked to viability of a marine ecosystem and regulation of industrial activity in it. Storm-petrels, not to be confused with petrels (Procellariidae) that are in a different family, are so-named because of their tendency to wreck in large numbers (especially recently-fledged juveniles) after windstorms. This type of wreck is not a conservation issue, but does provide spectacles for birders.

Endangerment of bird species seldom relates to a single cause, and this is true for Leach’s Storm-petrels, that are likely being harmed by unfavourable ocean climate related to anthropogenic climate change, and by invasion of their breeding colony sites by predatory Herring and Great Black-backed Gull populations subsidised for many decades by urban and fisheries waste. Further, Leach’s Storm-Petrel colonies have been wiped out by introduced mammals at several sites in Atlantic Canada, a grave threat to many seabird species globally. Nevertheless, the overwhelming cause of this species’ destruction in Newfoundland is not likely any of these factors—it is certainly due to light  pollution related to offshore industrial activity and onshore development near their breeding colony sites, causing fatal light attraction.

What exactly is this phenomenon? Leach’s Storm-petrels are seabirds active by day and night. Their ‘lunarphobic’ activity over breeding colonies is restricted to dark nights to avoid predatory gulls, so they are sometimes referred to as ‘nocturnal’, but this is misleading as most of their movement and foraging activity at sea in Newfoundland takes place in broad daylight. On very dark nights with no visible stars, moon or horizon, and often with rain, drizzle, and  fog, storm-petrels (and petrels, auklets, murrelets, eiders and other species) lose situational awareness and fly into or closely circle artificial light point sources (like moths attracted to outside lighting in summer). For Leach’s Storm-Petrels, this occurs throughout spring, summer and fall (May–November), mostly offshore as these are pelagic seabirds, but also occurs at coastal locations including brightly lit wharves, shore facilities and lighthouses. The result is frequently catastrophic, with disoriented birds striking lights and nearby structures including windows, masts, bulkheads, railings, hot exhausts stacks, whip antennae, power lines, guy wires, radio antenna wires and vessel superstructure. In the largest events, referred to as ‘bird-storms’ by Alaskan fishermen, thousands or even tens of thousands of light-attracted birds (typically storm-petrels) die in a few hours.

What needs to be done? First, we need to recognize that Leach’s Storm-petrels are not ‘avoiding’ the offshore oilfield’, nor is there any doubt about whether ‘light is the problem’, nor is there any doubt about the main cause of this species’ demise. A catastrophe is underway that requires immediate action—Professor IL Jones.

END SA

Loon through Larks

Accidental to New Brunswick, a Brown Booby was a great find at Quaco Head, St. John Co 18 Sep (ph. Donna DeJong) providing the province with its fourth record. Insular Newfoundland hosted another Gray Heron this season at Frenchman’s Cove, Burin Peninsula NL mid Sep—26 Sep (ph. Brenda Bungay et al). Great Egret is casual to Prince Edward Island where two individuals were at South Lake, Kings Co 7–13 Aug (Roberta Palmer et al.), two (possibly the same individuals) were reported at Little Harbour Beach, Kings Co 22 August (Mitch Boyer). One Great Egret lingered in the marshes of the Prince Edward Island National Park from Stanhope through Brackley, Queens Co 23 Aug–12 Oct (David Seeler, m. ob.), and was joined by a second individual on 29 Aug (ph. Cindy Esau, Danielle Banville). Also casual to Newfoundland and Labrador, individual Great Egrets were reported at Renews, Avalon Peninsula 17–19 Oct (Clara Dunne, ph. Glenn Mitchell et al.), at Salt Pond, Marystown, Burin Peninsula 20–21 Oct (ph. Lillian Walsh, ph. Brenda Bungay), in Burgeo, South Coast-Channel-Port aux Basques Co 10 Nov (ph. Norm Strickland), at Grand Bay West, South Coast-Channel-Port aux Basques Co 12 Nov (ph. Yvonne Patricia), and lastly, a Great Egret was at Cape Broyle, Avalon Peninsula 15–18 Nov (ph. Charles Fitzpatrick et al.). The Little Blue Heron that wandered St. Pierre Island SPM 1–17 Sep (ph. Valérie Jackman, ph. Laurent Jackman, ph. Patrick Hacala et al.) was a casual vagrant to the French Isles. Little Blue Heron is a casual visitor to Newfoundland and Labrador where individuals were present in Stephenville, St. George’s-Stephenville 6–12 Sep (ph. Denise McIsaac et al.), while another was reported at Salt Pond, Marystown, Burin Peninsula 20 Oct–4 Nov (ph. Lillian Walsh et al.).

Western Cattle Egret is a rare visitor to Nova Scotia where 13 individuals were reported during the season. On insular Newfoundland, Western Cattle Egret is a casual visitor, with individuals reported at Trepassey, Avalon Peninsula 25 Sep–7 Oct (John Brattey, ph. Glenn Mitchell, m. ob.), at Point La Hay, Avalon Peninsula 23 Nov (ph. Virginia Connors), and in St. John’s 10–25 Nov (Edmund Hayden, m. ob.). Western Cattle Egret is now considered rare in fall to Prince Edward Island with individuals being reported along the Souris River, Kings Co 15 Oct Brett McKenna), and in Bothwell, Kings Co 5–7 Nov (ph. Hélène Blanchet et al.). A Green Heron along the Waterford River, St. John’s NL 30–31 Oct (Frank and Colleen Wood et al.) was a casual visitor to the province. Casual to Nova Scotia, five Black Vultures were reported: two were observed in flight over Chezzetcook, Halifax Co 14 Oct (Tim Wershler), one was photographed on Cape Sable Island, Shelburne Co 18 Oct (ph. Logan Moore et al.), and two were reported in the Cape North area, Victoria Co, Cape Breton Island 28 Oct (John Grainer). Exceptional, was the presence of a Swallow-tailed Kite in the Friston Road area, Queens Co PE 12–22 Aug (ph. Mike Kelly, ph. Donna Martin, m. ob.) which provided that province with its first record of the species. Curiously, a second Swallow-tailed Kite was found in the Crapaud area, southern Queens Co PE 14–22 Aug (ph. David Wake et al.) providing the province with its second record for the species. As luck would have it, Roberta Palmer was able to photograph a Golden Eagle in flight over the Community of East Point, Kings Co PE 27 Nov (ph. Roberta Palmer) securing the fifth record of the species for the province.

The Steller’s Sea-Eagle was again reported continuing its stay in the Trinity Bay area, Avalon Peninsula NL 3 Aug–24 Sep (Jared Clarke et al., ph. Fred and Colleen Wood, m. ob.). It was later relocated at Little Passage, South Coast-Channel-Port aux Basques, NL 3 Nov (vt. Semper Fear), and at Codroy Crossroads, St. George’s-Stephenville 25 Nov (ph., vt. Ayla Moore). Now rare to Prince Edward Island, a Red-bellied Woodpecker attended feeders along Horne Cross Road, Queens Co 17 Nov+ (ph. Vanessa Bonnyman et al.). Casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon in fall, individual Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were at Rue de Ravenel, St. Pierre Island 30 Sep–2 Oct (ph. Valérie Jackman), and in the Village of St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 5–7 Oct (ph. Joël Detcheverry, ph. Laurent Jackman, ph. Valérie Jackman). The Crested Caracara on Prince Edward Island continued into the season—initially at East Point, Kings Co 2 Aug (Thomas Bruce), after which it relocated to the Mount Vernon area, Queens Co 1–9 Sep (ph. Cindy Esau, m. ob.). It then made an appearance at the Charlottetown Airport, Queens Co 3 Oct (ph. April Adams), and was reported in the Mermaid area, Queens Co 27 Oct (Heather Molyneaux). An Ash-throated Flycatcher at Miner’s Marsh, Kings Co NS 9 Nov (ph. Sally Rose) provided the province with its 11th record for the species and was the sole report for the Region. Casual to Newfoundland and Labrador, a Great Crested Flycatcher was at The Block, St. George’s-Stephenville NL 15 Oct (ph. Alison Mews, ph. Bruce Mactavish et al.). A Tropical Kingbird, accidental to New Brunswick, was photographed at Quaco Head, St. John Co 23 Oct (ph. Donna DeJong) providing the province with its fifth record. Casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon, an Alder Flycatcher was at Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island 18–25 Sep (ph. Patrick Hacala et al.).

Western Kingbird is a rare visitor to Nova Scotia where 4 individuals were reported, and similarly rare to New Brunswick, which reported one Western Kingbird. However, the Western Kingbird found at North Cape Point, Prince Co PE 24 Sep (ph. Donna Martin) provided that province with its third record for that species. In Newfoundland and Labrador, where Western Kingbird is a casual visitor, one was reported at Trepassey, Avalon Peninsula 11–12 Oct (ph. Sheldon Anthony, ph. Charles Fitzpatrick et al.). A Fork-tailed Flycatcher at Sackville, Westmorland Co NB 26–30 Oct (Don Pellerin, ph. Zack Wile, ph. Jim and Therese Carroll, m. ob.) was a casual vagrant to that province. A Hammond’s Flycatcher, discovered at Black River, Saint John NB 22 Sep (ph. Therese and Jim Carroll) provided the second record for that province. Casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon in fall, three Eastern Phoebes were reported: one at Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island 26 Oct (Laurent Jackman), and two were at Petit Barachois, Langlade 26 Oct (ph. Patrick Hacala). A Say’s Phoebe at Quaco Head, Saint John Co 18–19 Sep (Brian Stone, ph. Jim Carroll, ph. Mitch and Irene Doucet, m. ob.) was a casual visitor to the province.  Accidental to Nova Scotia, a Vermilion Flycatcher which lingered along the Chebogue Road, Yarmouth Co 28 Oct–24 Nov (ph. Angie and Tony Millard, ph. Ray Wershler, Kathleen MacAulay, m. ob.) provided that province with its fourth record of the species. Alex d’Entremont speculated that the Vermilion Flycatcher’s presence on Nova Scotia was weather related: ”Fairly consistent winds at 850 hPa (~1500m elevation) from Texas to Atlantic Canada occurred from October 24–27. These winds were strongest on Oct 25. This could have pushed a SW US or Mexican bird that was already headed in the wrong direction towards Nova Scotia. It is also possible that a member of the migratory South American population may have gone north instead of south (like the Fork-tailed Flycatcher currently being seen in NB)”.

Individual White-eyed Vireos—casual to Newfoundland and Labrador—were reported at Cape Anguille, St. George’s-Stephenville, 13–20 Oct (ph. Alison Mews, ph. Bruce Mactavish et al.),  and along the Codroy River, St. George’s-Stephenville 15 Oct (ph. Alison Mews, ph. Bruce Mactavish),  at Bear Cove, Avalon Peninsula, 18 Oct (ph. Ethel Dempsey, ph. John Brattey, ph. Glen Mitchell), and at Bear Cove Point, Avalon Peninsula 30 Oct (ph. John Brattey, ph. Ethel Dempsey, ph. Alison Mews). A White-eyed Vireo, casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon, was at Petit Barachois, Langlade 26 Oct (ph. Patrick Hacala). A Bell’s Vireo at Truro, Colchester Co NS 13–22 Nov (ph. Jeff and Katherine Ogden, m. ob.) provided that province with its 10th record (fide Alix d’Entremont). A Bell’s Vireo discovered on Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co NB 28 Sep–2 Oct (Karen Miller, ph. Mark Morse) provided the province with its first record of that species. Yellow-throated Vireo is casual to New Brunswick where three individuals were reported: one at Tracadie, Gloucester Co 21 Sep–9 Oct (Robert Doiron, Frank Branch, ph. Pierrette Breau), while two individuals were reported on Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co—Long Eddy Point 28 Aug (Eric Sorenson), and at South Head 7 Sep (ph. Mitch Doucet). A Philadelphia Vireo found along East Point Road, Kings Co PE 18 Sep (ph. Roberta Palmer) provided the province with its 11th record. Warbling Vireo is casual to Newfoundland and Labrador, where 15 individuals were reported on insular Newfoundland over the season. Accidental to Prince Edward Island, a Warbling Vireo was found along the Bubbling Springs Trail, Prince Edward Island National Park 24 Aug (ph. Wes Slauenwhite) providing the province with its third record of the species. Accidental to St. Pierre et Miquelon, individual Warbling Vireos were reported at: Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island 19 and 21 Sep (ph. Joël Detcheverry, ph. Laurent Jackman), at Pointe à Henri, St. Pierre Island 21 Sep (ph. Joël Detcheverry), and at La Réserve, St. Pierre Island 11 Oct (ph. Joël Detcheverry). These documented reports provided the fourth through sixth records of the species for the French Isles (fide Roger Etcheberry). The belated report of the first breeding record of Northern Shrike for mainland Newfoundland was established when two juveniles were discovered being fed by two adults near Corner Brook, Humber District-Corner Brook Co 7 July (ph. Courtney Cameron).

Swallows through Buntings

A Purple Martin, casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon was found in the vicinity of the Aérodrome, St. Pierre Island 12 Sep (Joël Detcheverry). Cliff Swallows staged a significant incursion into the region this season. In Nova Scotia, where Cliff Swallow is considered rare in fall, 114 individuals were reported for the season. On St. Pierre et Miquelon, where they are casual visitors in fall, eight were reported: four were at the Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island 21 Aug (ph. Patrick Hacala), one at Marcadet, St. Pierre Island 28 Aug (Joël Detcheverry), one at the Grande Barachois, Miquelon Island 2 Sep (Joël Detcheverry, Patrick Hacala), one in the Village of St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 26 Oct (Valérie Jackman), and the last one was observed at Étang Boulot, St. Pierre Island 18–20 Nov (ph. Valérie Jackman et al.). Insular Newfoundland was overrun this season within excess of 1,000s of Cliff Swallows being reported at various locations along the eastern coast. Interestingly, weather conditions were also instrumental in at least 30 Cliff Swallows arriving on Iceland, while one Cliff Swallow was discovered at North Foreland, County Kent, England 27 Sep (ph. Alex Perry). Casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon, individual Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were reported in the Village of St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 26 Oct (Valérie Jackman), in the Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island 31 Oct (ph. Patrick Hacala), and Étang Boulot, St. Pierre Island 29 Nov (ph. Valérie Jackman). Carolina Wren is casual to Nova Scotia in fall where three were reported through the season. Similarly, seven House Wrens, rare visitors to Nova Scotia were reported this fall. The Sedge Wren that lingered into the season at Kelly’s Cove, Yarmouth Co NS to 12 Aug (Mark Dennis, Kathleen MacAulay) was a casual visitor to the province. Eight Marsh Wrens, rare autumn migrants to Nova Scotia were reported. Casual to Newfoundland and Labrador, a Marsh Wren lingered at Mundy Pond, St. John’s 25 Nov+ (ph. Ethel Dempsey, m. ob.) while another was observed at Fermeuse, Avalon Peninsula (ph. Linda Cutler Kenny).

Individual Northern Wheatears, casual visitors to Newfoundland and Labrador, were reported  at Cape Race, Avalon Peninsula 23 Sep (ph. Jared Clarke, ph. Bruce Mactavish et al.), at Black Harbour, Twillingate, Notre Dame Bay-Lewisporte 2 Oct (ph. Doug Clark), and at Grand Bay West, South Coast-Channel-Port aux Basques 17 Oct (ph. Alison Mews, ph. Bruce Mactavish). Individual Northern Wheatears reported at Étang de Mirande, Miquelon Island 23 Oct (ph. Laurent Jackman), and at Cote est de Miquelon (ph. Laurent Jackman) were casual visitors to the French Isles. Individual Lark Sparrows, casual to Newfoundland and Labrador, were present at Shalloway, Northeast Coast, Notre Dame Bay-Lewisporte 6–9 Sep (ph. John Brattey, ph. Barry Day), in Trepassey, Avalon Peninsula 23 Sep (Jared Clarke, Bruce Mactavish), at Greenspond, Bonavista/Trinity-Clarenville 9 Oct (ph. Linda Parsons), and in Indian Bay, Bonavista/Trinity-Clarenville 27 Oct (ph. Linda Cutler Kenny). Eight Clay-colored Sparrows, casual to Newfoundland and Labrador were reported this season. A Clay-colored Sparrow, casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon, was at Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island 5 Oct (ph. Valérie Jackman, Ph. Joël Detcheverry, ph. Laurent Jackman, ph. Patrick Hacala). The Harris’s Sparrow at Bridgetown, Annapolis Co NS 18–27 Nov (Maggie Rice, ph. Larry Neily, m. ob.) provided the province with its 14th record. Unusually late, a Nelson’s Sparrow at Renews, Avalon Peninsula 1–2 Oct (Bruce Mactavish, ph. John Brattey, ph. Ethel Dempsey et al.) is considered a casual visitor to that province in fall.

Yellow-breasted Chat is casual to Newfoundland and Labrador where individuals were present at Bear Cove Point, Avalon Peninsula, 23 Sep (ph. Alison Mews, John Brattey, ph. Ethel Dempsey), and in Upper Ferry, St. George’s-Stephenville 18–20 Nov (Mike House, Tina Randell, ph. Kathy March et al.). Yellow-breasted Chat is a casual visitor to St. Pierre et Miquelon, where individuals were reported at Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island 30 Sep (ph. Joël Detcheverry), and along Route de Mirande, Miquelon Island 27 Oct (Laurent Jackman). Orchard Oriole is casual to Newfoundland and Labrador, where four were reported on insular Newfoundland this season—two in Renews, Avalon Peninsula 24–25 Aug (Clara Dunne, ph. Alison Mews, Bruce Mactavish, Ethel Dempsey), in St. John’s 26 Aug (ph. Ethel Dempsey), and at Bear Cove Point 9 Sep (ph. Sheldon Anthony). Orchard Oriole is a casual vagrant to St. Pierre et Miquelon, where one was observed at Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island 13 Sep (ph. Joël Detcheverry). Two Golden-winged Warblers, casual to Nova Scotia, were on Brier Island, Digby Co 17–18 Sep (ph. Jason Dain), while individuas were noted along the Harvest Moon Trail, Kings Co (12 Oct), at Cornwallis Ave., Kings Co 12 Oct (ph. Sarah Foote), and in Chaswood, Halifax Co 10 Nov (Blaine MacDonald). Individual Blue-winged Warblers were reported along Bear Cove Point Road 21 Oct (ph. Sheldon Anthony, Todd Boland), at Cape Anguille, St. George’s-Stephenville 13–20 Oct (ph. Alison Mews, ph. Bruce Mactavish et al.), and along Powles Head Road, Avalon Peninsula 18 Oct (Ethel Dempsey, John Brattey, Glen Mitchell et al), where casual in fall. A Prothonotary Warbler at Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island SPM 14 Sep (ph. Patrick Hacala) provided the French Isles with their ninth record for that species. Casual in fall to St. Pierre et Miquelon, a Nashville Warbler was found at Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island 11 Oct (ph. Patrick Hacala, ph. Joël Detcheverry).

A MacGillivray’s Warbler was an excellent find at Beaver Pond, Bay Roberts, Avalon Peninsula NL 27 Nov (Brenda Dalley, ph. Jared Clarke et al.), that provided that province with its first record. Kentucky Warblers, casual vagrants to insular Newfoundland, were observed at Marystown, Burin Peninsula, 7 Sep (ph. John Brattey), and at Tors Cove, Avalon Peninsula 8 Oct (Todd Boland, ph. John Alexander et al.). A good find was the Hooded Warbler in Upper Ferry, St. George’s-Stephenville NL 15–20 Oct (ph. Bruce Mactavish, ph. Alison Mews, ph. Tina Randell et al.)—another warbler classed as a casual vagrant to that province. Two Cape May Warblers, casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon in fall, were at Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island 25 Aug–25 Sep (ph. Valérie Jackman, ph. Joël Detcheverry), while one was at Pointe à Henry St Pierre Island (ph. Joël Detcheverry). A Cerulean Warbler at Cappahayden, Avalon Peninsula 30 Sep–4 Oct (ph. Bruce Mactavish, Glenn Mitchell, m. ob.) was an unexpected visitor to the province. Unexpectedly late, and casual to insular Newfoundland, Black-throated Blue Warblers were reported at Powles Head, Avalon Peninsula 18 Sep (Bruce Mactavish), at Bear Cove Point 5 Oct (ph. Sheldon Anthony), in the Rocky Pond area, Lumsden, Avalon Peninsula 12 Oct (ph. Barry Day, ph. John Brattey, ph. Glen Mitchell, and in Cappahayden, Avalon Peninsula 27 Oct (ph. Jared Clarke). A Black-throated Blue Warbler was an unexpected find at Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island 25 Sep–27 Oct (ph. Joël Detcheverry, ph. Patrick Hacala et al.) where it is a casual vagrant in fall. Pine Warblers are casual in fall to Newfoundland and Labrador where seven were reported this fall. The two Pine Warblers in the Village of St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island SPM—one on 26 Oct (Valérie Jackson) and the other on 3 Nov (Joël Detcheverry)—were casual vagrants to the French Isles.

On Prince Edward Island, Pine Warbler is now considered a casual vagrant in fall. This season two Pine Warblers were at East Point, Kings Co 18 Oct (Ray Cooke), another was observed at the same location 6 Nov (Roberta Palmer), and one was in Stratford, Queens Co 22–30 Nov (ph. Melanie McCarthy). An individual Yellow-throated Warbler, casual to Newfoundland and Labrador, was reported at Cappahayden, Avalon Peninsula 18 Aug (ph. Clara Dunne), two were at Bear Cove Point, Avalon Peninsula 16 Sep (ph. John Brattey, ph. Alison Mews), while one was in Fortune, Burin Peninsula 16 Nov (ph. Brenda Bungay). A Prairie Warbler at East Point, Kings Co PE 18 Sep (ph. Roberta Palmer) provided the province with its second record for the species. Elsewhere, insular Newfoundland had 24 Prairie Warblers, which are considered a casual vagrant. One was located in Charlottetown, Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay 27 Oct (Effie Roberts). On St. Pierre et Miquelon, Prairie Warbler is a casual vagrant, where this season three were reported on St. Pierre Island. A Townsend’s Warbler discovered at Seal Cove, Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co NB 11 Sep (ph. Rhonda and Paul Langelaan) provided that province with its fourth record for that species. Further to the north east, three Townsend’s Warblers, casual to Newfoundland and Labrador, were reported with individuals at Ferryland, Avalon Peninsula, 23 Sep (ph. Alison Mews, ph. John Brattey, ph. Ethel Dempsey), on Cape Broyle, Avalon Peninsula 3–20 Nov (ph. Jared Clarke, m. ob.), and at Petty Harbour, Avalon Peninsula 26 Nov (ph. Charles Fitzpatrick et al.). Canada Warblers were well represented on insular Newfoundland this season where they are casual visitors with seven being reported. On St. Pierre et Miquelon, only one Canada Warbler—casual to the French Isles in fall—was found at Coté est de Miquelon, Miquelon Island 9 Sep (Laurent Jackman).

Scarlet tanager is a casual visitor to St. Pierre et Miquelon in fall. This season, one or possibly two were present; one in Vallée des 7 Étangs, St. Pierre Island, 11 Oct (Laurent Jackman), and the other—or possibly the same individual—was in the nearby Village of St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 26 Oct (ph. Laurent Jackman). Close-by on insular Newfoundland, three Scarlet Tanagers were reported—casual visitors to that Island. A casual vagrant to Nova Scotia, a Western Tanager was in Henry Finlay Park, Dartmouth 12–15 Nov (ph. Shiv Rajdev, ph. Marty Zelenietz, m. ob.). The Blue Grosbeak present in Bear Cove, Avalon Peninsula NL 25 Sep (ph. Sheldon Anthony) was a casual visitor to that province. Elsewhere, a Blue Grosbeak, casual to the French Isles, was at Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island SPM 11 Oct (ph. Laurent Jackman), while another was in Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island SPM 26 Oct (ph. Laurent Jackman). Of interest are the reports of 19 Indigo Buntings on insular Newfoundland this season, where they are considered casual visitors. Nearby St. Pierre et Miquelon reported an unexpected three Indigo Buntings—casual to the French Isles.

Report processed by Andrew Keaveney, 23 Apr 2024.

Photos–Atlantic: Fall 2023

Accidental to Nova Scotia, this Eared Grebe at Amherst Point Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Cumberland Co Nova Scotia 22–31 Oct 2023 provided the province with its third well documented record of this species. Here photographed 26 Oct. Photo © Mark Dennis.

Accidental to Nova Scotia, this Limpkin lingered at the Crosby’s Garden Centre, Bristol, Queens Co Nova Scotia 16–18 Oct 2023. Photographed here 16 Oct. Photo © Mark Dennis.

Casual to New Brunswick, this American Avocet was discovered along the Dieppe Marsh Trail, Westmorland Co 10 Oct 2023. Photo © Rhonda Langelaan.

Accidental to Nova Scotia, this Bar-tailed Godwit found at Louis Head, Shelburne Co Nova Scotia 30 Jul 2023 lingered through 2 Aug 2023. Here photographed 1 Aug. It constituted the province’s sixth record. Photo © Mark Dennis.

Unexpected, and a phenomenal find, this Dunlin (ssp. arctica) was on the west coast of insular Newfoundland at Shoal Point, Port-au-port Peninsula, St. George’s-Stephenville 17 Aug 2023. This represents the third record of that subspecies for the province. Photo © Denis McIsaac.

This Willet (ssp. inornata) at Point Armour, Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay 16 Sep 2023 provided the first record for Labrador, and the second record for Newfoundland and Labrador. Here photographed 16 Sep. Photo © Vernon Buckle.

This Franklin’s Gull was at East Point, Kings Co Prince Edward Island 19 Sep 2023. It constituted the province’s third record. Photo © Roberta Palmer.

Accidental to New Brunswick, this Brown Booby found at Quaco Head, St. John Co 18 Sep 2023 provided that province with its fourth record. Photo © Donna DeJong.

A Swallow-tailed Kite, an exceptional find for Prince Edward Island, was in the Friston Road area of Queens Co 12–22 Aug 2023. It represents the first record of the species to that province. Here photographed 15 Aug. Photo © Roberta Palmer.

Observed in the Community of East Point, this Golden Eagle was in flight when the photograph was taken 27 Nov 2023. This represents the fifth record of the species to that province. Photo © Roberta Palmer.

This Tropical Kingbird at Quaco Head, Saint John Co, New Brunswick 23 Oct 2023 provided the province with its fifth record. Photo © Donna DeJong.

Unexpected, this Western Kingbird was on North Cape Point, Prince Co Prince Edward Island 24 Oct 2023 and provided the province with its third record for the species. Photo © Donna Martin.

A casual vagrant to New Brunswick, this Fork-tailed Flycatcher was in the Sackville area Westmorland Co 26– 30 Oct 2023. Here photographed 27 Oct. Photo © Rhonda Langelaan.

Unexpected, this Hammond’s Flycatcher at Black River, Saint John, New Brunswick 22 Sep 2023, was likely a storm vagrant that provided that province with its second record. Photo © Jim Carroll.

Casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon, three Eastern Phoebes were noted this season. This individual was photographed at Petit Barachois, Langlade 26 Oct 2023. Photo © Patrick Hacala.

Accidental to Nova Scotia, This Vermilion Flycatcher was present along the Chebogue Road, Yarmouth Co 28 October–24 November 2023. It provided that province with its fourth record of that species. Here photographed 2 Nov. Photo © Mark Dennis.

Casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon, this White-eyed Vireo was discovered at Petit Barachois, Langlade 26 Oct 2023. Here photographed on that date. Photo © Patrick Hacala.

An exceptional find, this Bell’s Vireo was on Grand Manan Island, Bay of Fundy Charlotte Co, New Brunswick 28 Sep–2 Oct 2023. Here photographed 2 Oct. This individual provided New Brunswick with its first record of the species. Photo © Mark Morse.

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon in Fall, with several found this season. This individual was found in Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island 31 Oct 2023. Perhaps the same individual stayed present and was found Dec. 1. Photo © Patrick Hacala.

Clay-colored Sparrow is casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon. This individual was photographed at Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island 5 Oct 2023. Photo © Valérie Jackman.

Accidental to St. Pierre et Miquelon, this Prothonotary Warbler was at Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island 14 Sep 2023. This individual provided the ninth record for the French Isles. Photo © Patrick Hacala.

This MacGillivray’s Warbler was an unexpected find at Beaver Pond, Bay Roberts, Avalon Peninsula Newfoundland and Labrador 27 Nov 2023. This individual provided a first record for the species. Photo © Brenda Dalley.

This Prairie Warbler at Étang Freckner, St. Pierre Island, St. Pierre et Miquelon was a casual vagrant to the French Isles 13 Sep 2023. Photo © Patrick Hacala.

Accidental to Prince Edward Island, this Prairie Warbler photographed at East Point, Kings Co 18 Sep 2023 provided the second record for that species to the province. Photo © Roberta Palmer.