Atlantic Region: Spring 2021

Spring 2021: 1 Mar–31 May

David Seeler

 Recommended citation:

Seeler, D. 2021. Spring 2021: Atlantic Region. <> North American Birds.

The most significant weather event for the region was the development of sustained easterlies that originated in Europe and reached the Atlantic Region in early April. Interestingly, these winds emanated in France and the southern United Kingdom, a significantly more southerly flow than the past. Species of note this season included Garganey, King Rail, European Golden-Plover, Wilson’s Plover, Ruff, Slaty-backed Gull, Barn Swallow (ssp. rustica), and Eurasian Tree Sparrow amongst others.

Sub-regional Compilers
Roger Detcheverry (St. Pierre et Miquelon).

Waterfowl through Skimmer

One Snow Goose lingered into the season in Yarmouth Harbour, Yarmouth Co, NS through 2 May (ph. Ronnie d’Entremont), while two others were in Shubenacadie, Colchester Co, NS 23–28 May (Jeff Ogden, m. ob.), and yet another Snow Goose was observed along Sellar’s Head Road, Halifax Co, NS 26 May (ph. Ryan Fisk). A Ross’s Goose, discovered along Back Road, King’s Co, NS 27 Apr (ph. Andrew McCartney) was an out of season and an accidental vagrant to the province. A rare vagrant to NS, a Greater White-fronted Goose was present at Aylesford, Kings Co 19 Mar (ph. Lyall Bouchard), and another was found in Charlton’s Cove, Pictou Co 28 Mar (ph. Ken McKenna). The Pink-footed Goose in St. John’s, NL was last observed 29 May (Charles Fitzpatrick, m. ob.). Pink-footed Geese are rare vagrants to NL, and yet two additional individuals were along Shore Road, Bonavista 30 May (ph. Megan Buers, ph. Blair Dudeck). A Barnacle Goose, an exceptionally rare spring vagrant to NS, wandered through the Shubenacadie area, Shubenacadie and Colchester Cos 28 Mar (ph. Ken McKenna et al.). Accidental to NB, a Garganey lingered on Hay Island, Northumberland Co 3–29 May (ph. Peter and Deana Gadd, m. ob.), and pending acceptance, will provide the province with its third record. Rare vagrants to SPM, a pair of Northern Shovelers were near the Village of Miquelon., Miquelon Island 28 May (Roger Etcheberry). Seventeen Eurasian Wigeons present in NS, were casual visitors. A Eurasian Wigeon in Étang Boulot, St. Pierre Island, SPM 6–30 Mar (ph. Joël Detcheverry, Laurent Malthieux) was a rare vagrant to the French Islands. Eleven Redheads observed in the Borden Lagoons, Prince Co, PEI 29–30 May (ph. Ron Arvidson et al.) were accidental visitors. An exceptionally rare vagrant to NS, a Canvasback was in the Bridgetown Sewage Lagoons, Annapolis Co 21 Apr (ph. Larry Neily). An occasional visitor to NB, a Tufted Duck was present in the Tracadie Lagoons, Gloucester Co 3–5 May (Mitch and Irene Doucet, ph. Gilles Belliveau, m. ob.). Rare to NS, three Tufted Ducks were in NS during the month of May. The King Eider at Point Lepreau, Saint John, NB 5 April (ph. Todd Watts) was a rare vagrant.

A Horned Grebe, very uncommon to NL, was in Holyrood, Avalon Peninsula 21 Mar-5 Apr (Fred and Colleen Wood, m. ob.), and another was in Trepassey, Avalon Peninsula 8 Apr (John Bratty). The lingering Eurasian Collared-Dove in Melvern Square, Annapolis Co, NS continued its presence. A rare White-winged Dove was in St. Lawrence, Burin Peninsula, NL 5 May (ph. Lillian Walsh). A Yellow-billed Cuckoo at West Head, Shelburne Co, NS 14 May (Bill Crosby) was an exceptionally rare visitor. A King Rail located in Edwardsville, Cape Breton Island, NS 17–25 May (Jeff MacLeod, ph. au. Steven McGrath et al.) provided the province with its third record. Casual in NL, two American Coots lingered into the season at St. John’s through 29 Mar with one continuing through the season (ph. Frank King, m. ob.). An American Coot was also in Round Pond, Gander, NL 13 and 15 May (ph. Barry Day, Ray Lidstone). American Coots are rare to PEI, but the discovery of one within the Prince Edward Island National Park at Brackley 24–27 May (Geoff Ralling et al.) provided a first record for the Park. Rare to NS, three American Coots were reported: one on Bush Island, Lunenburg Co 18 Mar (Paul MacDonald), another was present along Pit Road, Truro, Colchester Co 21 Apr-9 May (Jeff Ogden), and the last was in North River, Colchester Co 24 Apr and 1 May (Ross Hall). Rare to NS, 20 Sandhill Cranes were present in that province. A Sandhill Crane, particularly rare to NL, was present in Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay 2–29 May (Brian Bishop).

A European Golden-Plover on the Canadian Forces Base in Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL 16 May (Tony Chubbs, ph. Brian Bishop) was a rare visitor. An accidental vagrant to NS, two European Golden-Plovers were observed by Greg Stroud on Sable Island National Park, Halifax Co, NS 22 May (Greg Stroud), with one individual being photographed on 24 May in the same locale (ph. Lucy Burns); providing the province with its fifth record of the species. An American Golden-Plover was an unexpected visitor at Goulds, Avalon Peninsula, NL 15 May (ph. Ethel Dempsey, Alison Mews, m. ob.). A Wilson’s Plover was an unexpected surprise in Big Glace Bay Bird Sanctuary, Cape Breton Island, NS 29–30 Apr (ph. Gail Bisson, ph. Steve McGrath et al.). Rare in spring to NL, a Black-tailed Godwit was in Argentia, Avalon Peninsula 22–25 May (ph. Blair Dudeck, m. ob.). Similarly, a Ruff in the area of Renews, Avalon Peninsula, NL 12 Apr-30 May (ph. Perry Howlett, m. ob.) was a rare visitor. A rare vagrant to SPM, a Ruff was present at étang boulot, St. Pierre Island 29–30 May (ph. Laurent Jackman, ph. Joël Detcheverry, ph. Patrick Hacala). Unexpected, and perhaps a little late, two Whimbrels were observed in NS: one on Caribou Island, Pictou Co 9 May (ph. Ken McKenna), and the other—perhaps the same individual—was at Waterside Beach Provincial Park, Pictou Co 21 May (ph. Peggy Scanlan). Continuing into the season, the Willet (ssp. inornata) at Crescent Beach, Lunenburg Co, NS was last reported 18 Apr (fide James Hirtle). The Wilson’s Phalarope in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island, SPM 16–18 May (Valérie Jackman, Patrick Hacala) was a very good find. Casual to PEI, two Wilson’s Phalaropes were reported: one in the Mt. Stewart Lagoons, Queens Co 21–23 May (Ray Cooke, et al.), and the other was in the Borden Lagoons, Prince Co 29 May (ph. Donna Martin). 

The presence of 15 Ivory Gulls over the Labrador Sea, NL 11 Mar, nine Ivory Gulls in the same locale 14 Mar, 40 Ivory Gulls close by on 15 March, and three in the same area 21 March (Jean-François Rousseau) were all excellent finds. Rare to NL, a Sabine’s Gull was over the waters of the Labrador Sea, Nunatsiavut-Nain, NL 27 May (Jean-François Rousseau). The Black-headed Gull at Cap-Pelé, Westmorland Co, NB 14 Mar (Michel Doucet) was a rare migrant. Occasional to PEI, an immature Black-headed Gull was present in the Souris Beach Provincial Park, Souris, King’s Co 24 Mar (ph. Melanie McCarthy, Roberta Palmer). The Laughing Gull at Pond Cove, Brier Island, Digby Co, NS 29 Apr (ph. Richard Stern, ph. Ronnie d’Entremont) was a rare visitor, as was the individual at Port La Tour, Shelburne Co, NS 27 Apr (ph. Sandy Hiltz). Rare to NL, two Laughing Gulls were present: one at Saint Mary’s, Avalon Peninsula 1 May (ph. Blair Dudeck, ph. Megan Buers), and one at Bear Cove, Avalon Peninsula 29 May (Edmund Hayden). A rare vagrant to SPM, a Laughing Gull was at étang boulot and the Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island 2–15 May (ph. Joël Detcheverry, Laurent Malthieux, ph. Patrick Hacala). Particularly rare to NS, a Mew Gull lingered into the season in New Glasgow, Pictou Co to 7 Mar (ph. Ken McKenna, ph. Peggy Scanlan). A third cycle Slaty-backed Gull reported in Sambro, Halifax Co 28 Feb-3 Mar (David Currie, ph. Diane LeBlanc) provided the third record for the province.

Shearwaters through Larks

The Northern Fulmar found in ill health inland on the Cocagne River, Notre-Dame, Kent Co, NB16 Apr was admitted to a wildlife rehabilitation center, and was an unusual inland record (Stuart Tingley et al.). Nova Scotia reported seven Great Egrets this season, NL reported one Great Egret while one Great Egret was on PEI. A Great Egret was at La Réserve, Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island, SPM 9 May (ph. Joël Detcheverry). Rare to NL, a Snowy Egret was at Old Shop, Trinity Bay, Avalon Peninsula 16–29 May (Frank King, m. ob.). Elsewhere, NS hosted five Snowy Egrets, NB three—all considered rare visitors. The Little Blue Heron present in Sackville, Westmorland Co, NB 14 May (Katherine Pompa) was also a rare visitor. In NS, where Little Blue Heron is considered rare as well, two were reported: one along the River Bougeois, Richmond Co 13 and 16 May (Linda Burke, ph. Julia Burke), and the other was in Broad Cove, Lunenburg Co 26–27 May (ph. Jayme–Lee Colson, Sylvia Fullerton). A Tricolored Heron in Davey’s Pond, Cape Free Island, NL 29 May (ph. Kaylene Stagg) was a rare visitor. Also rare to NS, a Tricolored Heron was present at West Arichat, Richmond Co 2–3 May (ph. Sean Campbell, ph. David MacLellan). Casual to PEI, a Cattle Egret first noted perched on a porch lingered in Morell, Kings Co 23–25 Apr (ph. Linda Smith et al.). New Brunswick reported two Cattle Egrets, considered rare visitors: one in Penfield, Charlotte Co 1 May (ph. Jim and Therese Carroll), and the other was at the Memramcook Lagoons, Westmorland Co 13 May (ph. Yvette Richard). Cattle Egret, considered rare to NS, reported six individuals. Green Heron is a rare visitor to NS, where three were on the mainland of the province. Exceptionally rare was the Green Heron discovered by Kris Tynski in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Cape Breton Island, NS 2 May (ph. Kris Tynski). Glossy Ibis, rare to the region, staged a significant invasion into the Martimes this season with 56 reported in NB, 17 in NS, and three on PEI.

Seventeen Black Vultures were in NS where they are rare. Rare to PEI, four Turkey Vultures were present: one at Vernon Bridge, Queen’s Co 12 Apr (Geoff Ralling), two at East Point, King Co 13 May (Roberta Palmer), and one was at Charlottetown 25 May (Nicole Murtaugh). A Swallow-tailed Kite, reported at Green Acres, Kings Co, NS 31 Mar (John Ogletreen) was likely the same individual reported within the same general area 25 May (ph. Lyall Bouchard) providing the province with its 12th record. An adult Golden Eagle observed over White Head Island, Charlotte Co, NB 31 Mar was a rare vagrant (Roger Burrows). Exceptionally rare to NS, a Red-shouldered Hawk was in the Brickton area, Annapolis Co 4 and 10 Mar, and 10 Apr (ph. Larry Neily, au. Mark Dennis, au. Mike MacDonald). Nearby, another Red-shouldered Hawk—perhaps the same one—was at Annapolis Royal, Annapolis Co 8 Mar (ph. Cliff Sanderson). Broad-winged Hawk has increased its presence on PEI, however this season there was only one report of an individual at South Marsh, Dromore, Queens Co 23 Apr (Ray Cooke). Casual to PEI, three Rough-legged Hawks were in Earnscliffe, Queens Co 17 Mar (Lucas MacCormack, Jill MacCormack et al.), with another individual being reported in the same area 10 May (Roberta Palmer), an unusually late date. The Swainson’s Hawk in Port Howe, Cumberland Co, NS 23–24 May (ph. Wendy Smiley, ph. Shawn Chapman) was a casual vagrant. 

A male Red-headed Woodpecker lingered into the season at Edgett’s Landing, Albert Co, NS through 20 Apr (ph. Su Li et al.). Occasional to PEI, a Red-bellied Woodpecker briefly appeared in Montague, Kings Co 6 Apr (Dale Murchison). Infrequently reported on PEI, the Three-toed Woodpecker in Hermanville, Kings Co 2 May (Scott Sinclair, Gary Schneider) was a great find. Rare to NS, four Willow Flycatchers were observed: at Starr’s Point, Kings Co 26–30 May (ph. Bernie Brown et al.), in Kingston, Kings Co 26 May (Jake Walker), at Bellisle Marsh, Annapolis Co 27 May (au. ph. Larry Neily), and the last Willow Flycatcher was present at Van Nostrum’s Pond, Kings Co 28 May (ph. Richard Stern). Warbling Vireos are very rare in NS where two individuals were reported: Cape Forchu, Yarmouth Co 4 May (ph. Ervin Olsen), and in Miner’s Marsh, Kings Co 20–21 May (ph. Harold Forsyth et al.). 

Swallows through Dickcissel

Bank Swallows used to breed on SPM, but now are considered rare visitors to the French Islands. Only one Bank Swallow was in St. Pierre, Pt. Pierre Island 27 May (Valérie Jackman). Northern Rough-winged Swallows are a very rare migrant in NS, and as such infrequently reported. Yet two Northern Rough-winged Swallows were reported in NS: one at Bellisle Marsh, Annapolis Co 15 Apr (ph. Richard Stern), and one at Green’s Point, Pictou Co 8 May (ph. Ken McKenna). Rare to NS, three Purple Martins were found: one—a yard bird—was in Clam Point, Shelburne Co 29 Apr (Mike MacDonald), another at Cole Harbour, Halifax Co 2 May (Aaron Marshall), and the last was at Port Bickerton Lighthouse, Guysborough Co 9 May (ph. Angela MacDonald). The Purple Martin observed in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island, SPM 2–6 May (Patrick Hacala) was a rare vagrant. A Barn Swallow, identified as an Eurasian Barn Swallow (ssp. rustica), was an exceptional find at Bidgood Park, Goulds 17 and 19 May (ph. Blair Dudeck, ph. Lancy Cheng). This individual represents the first report of Barn Swallow (ssp. rustica) in Newfoundland and Labrador, the region, and Canada. A rare vagrant to SPM, a Cliff Swallow was present in the Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island 29 May (Joël Detcheverry). Black Capped Chickadees have disappeared from SPM for a number of years, so the observation of a few this season on the French Islands brought hope that they would remain and breed (fide Roger Etcheberry). Accidental to NL, a White-breasted Nuthatch briefly stayed in Pouch Cove, Avalon Peninsula 28–29 Apr (Anne Hughes, ph. Ethel Dempsey, m. ob.) and provided the province with its third record. House Wren is rare to NB with two individuals reported: at Taylor Village, Westmorland Co 24 Apr (Alain Clavette), and in Saint John 10 and 12 May (Susan Bonnell, ph. Ellen Bonnell). Particularly rare to NS, four House Wrens were present: one in the Coastal Heritage Provincial Park, Cole Harbour, Halifax Co 15–19 May (ph. Aaron Marshall et al.), another was along the Chebogue Point Road, Yarmouth Co 19 May (ph. Ervin Olsen), another was in Stanford Harbour, Yarmouth Co 21–30 May (au. Kathleen MacAulay, Alix d’Entremont), with the last being in the Cornwallis River Greenway, Kings Co 26–29 May (ph. George Forsyth et al.). 

Casual to NS, the Sedge Wren discovered at Cape Forchu, Yarmouth Co 11–12 May (au. Kathleen MacAulay et al) was an unexpected spring vagrant. Two Marsh Wrens, considered rare transients to NS, were present: one in Broad Brook Wetland Park, Yarmouth Co 9–21 Apr (au. Kathleen MacAulay), and the other was at Cole Harbour, Halifax Co 29 Apr (ph. Karen Marshall). Accidental to PEI, a Carolina Wren present in Scott Sinclair’s backyard in Royalty, Kings Co 26–29 Mar (ph. Scott Sinclair) provided the ninth record of the species to the province. A rare migrant to NB, four Carolina Wrens were present; while in NS, where they are also rare, there were reports of five individuals. A Northern Wheatear provided a rare offshore appearance on the Sea of Labrador, NL when it landed on a fishing vessel 13 May (Jean-François Rousseau). Exceptionally rare to NL in spring, a Fieldfare was in Bowing Park, Avalon Peninsula 5–6 Mar (Blair Flemming, m. ob.). Northern Mockingbird is particularly rare to NL where two were present this season: one lingered into the season at feeders in Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay 1 Mar (Carol Olford), while the other was along Rennie’s River, Portugal Cove, Avalon Peninsula 7 Mar–14 Apr (Greg Fronde et al.). Casual to PEI, two Northern Mockingbirds were present: one wandering the Charlottetown area 7 and 10 Mar (Melanie McCarthy, Jillian Sweet), and the other was in Cornwall, Queens Co 7 and 16 Mar (ph. Donna Martin et al.). Brown Thrasher is an occasional visitor to NS, yet this season at least 15 individuals were present. Exceptionally rare to NL, a Brown Thrasher at South Brook, Corner Brook 8 May (John Tuach) may have been the same one as the individual that was in Kippens, Stephenville 23 May (ph. Kath Marche). Brown Thrasher is also casual to PEI with an individual in Stratford, Queens Co 10–26 May (Melanie McCarthy, ph. Dwaine Oakley et al.), and another was at East Point, Kings Co 20 Mar-26 May (Scott Sinclair). An exceptionally rare vagrant to SPM, a Brown Thrasher was at St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 22 May (Joël Detcheverry). Information describing a Eurasian Tree Sparrow quickly spread when the detailed description of one found on White Head Island, Charlotte Co NB 15 May (Roger Burrows) was made available. Verification of the report of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow came the next day when Paul and Rhonda Langelaan found it in North Head, Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co, NB 16 May (ph. Rhonda and Paul 

Langelaan). This verification provided the province, and region with their first records of this species. The two Lark Sparrows were reported this season—one on White Head Island, Charlotte Co, NB 16 May (Roger Burrows), and the other was in Southside, Trout River, Northern Peninsula, NL 27 May (Doug Clark), providing NL with its first spring record of the species. The Clay-colored Sparrow in Stratford Queens Co, PEI lingered into the season through 15 Apr (ph. Dwaine Oakley, Nicole Murtaugh). Rare to NB, a Clay-colored Sparrow was at the Dorchester Island Impoundments, Westmorland 28 May (Kiirti Owens, Sarah Neima, Hannah Drake). Clay-colored Sparrow is very rare to NS where two individuals were present: one continuing at feeders in Plymouth, Pictou Co through 24 Apr (ph. Fred Mackenzie), and the other was in the Liverpool Baptist Cemetery, Queens Co 21 Mar (Eric Mills, ph. Diane LeBlanc, ph. Sylvia Craig). Rare migrants to NS, three Field Sparrows were noted: one at Cape Forchu, Yarmouth Co 14–28 Apr (ph. Ervin Olsen), another was at Pubnico Point, Yarmouth Co 1 May (ph. Ronnie d’Entremont), and the last was in West Pubnico, Yarmouth Co 10 May (au. Alix d’Entremont). Out of place and unexpected, a Dark-eyed Junco (ssp. oreganus) lingered into the season in Rothesay, Kings Co, NB to 21 Mar (ph. Paul Mansz). Accidental to NB, two Golden-crowned Sparrows were present: one at Alderwood, Tracadie, Gloucester Co 21–26 Apr (ph. Joland St.-Pierre, ph. Maro Vachon et al.), and the other was in Waterside, Albert Co 2 May (ph. Rick Elliot).  

The previously reported Spotted Towhee in Centreville, Shelburne Co remained through 7 Apr (fide Alix d’Entremont). Accidental to NL, the Spotted Towhee at Little Harbour, Marystown, Avalon Peninsula remained to 5 Mar (Todd Boland et al.). Rare migrants to NS, five Eastern Towhees were present through the season. One Eastern Towhee was in NB where they are rare. The Yellow-breasted Chat reported last season along the Virginia River, St. John’s, NL was last reported 9 Mar (Charles Fitzpatrick). Particularly rare in spring, five Yellow-headed Blackbirds were present in NS. Rare migrants to NS, nine Orchard Orioles were present, while NB reported eight individuals. A Prothonotary Warbler, rare to NS, was a great yard bird in Antigonish, Antigonish Co, NS 19 May (ph. Mike Melchin). Exceptionally rare to NS, at least 38 Pine Warblers—an astonishing number—were present.  A Prairie Warbler, rare in NB, was present on Friar’s Head, Charlotte Co 26 May (ph. Susan Cline, ph. Beatrix Kohlhaas). A Townsend’s Warbler discovered by Philippe Lahiton on Isthme, marais Olivier, Langlade, SPM 16 May (ph. Philippe Lahiton), was an exceptional find that provided the first record of the species to the French Islands. Thirteen Summer Tanagers, taking into account proximity of locations reported, were in NS where they are rare migrants on the mainland, and exceptionally rare on Cape Breton Island. Two Summer Tanagers, rare visitors to NB were present: one at St. Martin’s Saint John Co 14 May (Darrick Sleep), and one was along the Humphrey Brook Trail, Westmorland Co 28 May (Sean Blaney). Two Scarlet Tanagers were in NL: one in Branch, 27 Apr (fide IL Jones), and the other was at Steady Brook, Corner Brook, 9–16 May (Margaret Howlett et al.) were rare visitors. A rare vagrant to SPM, a Scarlet Tanager that briefly lingered in Miquelon, Miquelon Island 3–5 May (fide Roger Etcheberry) was well documented. In NS where Scarlet Tanager is a rare migrant, 13 individuals were present. The presence of a male Northern Cardinal on Langlade, SPM 25 Apr (ph. Valérie Jackman) provided the fourth record to the French Islands.  The six Blue Grosbeaks, reported in NS were rare migrants to that province. Rare in spring, four Indigo Buntings were in NL. A rare vagrant to SPM, an Indigo Bunting was present in the Vallée du Milieu, St. Pierre Island 27–30 May (ph. Patrick Hacala, ph. Joël Detcheverry). An unexpected surprise, a Painted Bunting was at Brian and Andree Samson’s feeders in L’Ardoise Crossroads, Richmond Co, NS 16–21 May (Briand and Andree Samson, ph. Billy and Sheila Digout, ph. Karen Burke). A Dickcissel located in Stephenville, NL 9 Mar (Janice Flinn) was a rare visitor. Similarly, a Dickcissel at North Head, Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co, NB 19 and 19 May (Jim Wilson, ph. Mitch and Irene Doucet, ph. Paul Langelaan) was a rare visitor. 

Report processed by José R. Ramírez-Garofalo, 18 July 2021

Photos–Atlantic Region: Spring 2021

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