Atlantic Region: Spring 2020

Spring 2020: 1 Mar–31 May

David Seeler

Recommended citation:

Seeler, D. 2020. Spring 2020: Atlantic Region & St. Pierre et Miquelon. <> North American Birds.

Weather patterns for the region were near normal for much of the season. On 10 May a major spring storm hit the southern part of the region funneling up through the Bay of Fundy, moving into Gulf of St. Lawrence and subsequently impacting the northern parts of the region. The system brought winds gusting to 90–100 km/h, significant storm surges, snowfall, and in some locales rain, as well.. Despite various pandemic restrictions within the region associated with Covid-19, there was sufficient opportunity for individuals to bird—even if only in one’s backyard or on the way to work. The most consistent comments made throughout the region were in regard to the apparent lack of warbler species in very suitable habitat, perhaps due to very low numbers of individual species through no presence detected, whereas in past years the areas had proved to be very productive. Of particular interest this period were sightings of Graylag Goose, Common Shelduck, “Pacific” Common Eider, Western Grebe, Chuck-wills-widow, Eurasian Oystercatcher, and Fork-tailed Flycatcher.

Contributors (Regional Contributors in Bold):

Patrick Boez, Alvan Buckley, Roger Etcheberry, Joël Detcheverry, Alix d’Entremont, Bruce Mactavish, Jim Wilson


Snow Goose is very uncommon in spring on Prince Edward Island, unlike on the mainland, so 8 Snow Geese in Central Lot 16, Prince 5 Apr (Giselle and Fred Martin), an individual at Augustine Cove, Prince 9 Apr (ph. Donna Martin), and one in Pownal, Queens 16–29 Apr (Melanie McCarthy) were all very good finds. A Snow Goose found at Western Ann Brook, Northern Peninsula, NL 3 May was a rare spring occurrence for that province. A Graylag Goose was shot by a hunter for food at Lake Melville, Labrador, NL 12 Apr (fide Frank Phillips). This individual was not considered an escapee, and thus provided the first record of the species for Labrador and the 3rd record for NL (fide BM). Uncommon in spring to Nova Scotia, a Greater White-fronted Goose was present at Salmon River, Truro 1 Apr and 5 May (Ross Hall et al.). In New Brunswick a Greater White-fronted Goose at Tower Hill, Charlotte 4–5 May was a rare find (Eric Marcum, ph. Jim and Therese Carroll). A Pink-footed Goose in Long Pond, St. John’s, NL 6 Mar.+ was a rare spring occurrence (AB, m. ob.). Brant is considered a rare vagrant in spring to St. Pierre et. Miquelon and this season two were reported: one in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island, 6 Mar. (Patrick Alain), and the other was observed in Langlade, Miquelon Island 13 and 19 Apr. (ph. Philippe Lahaiton, ph. Charlène Jézéquel). Three Canada Goose at Renews, Avalon Peninsula, NL 7 Mar. were very early and unexpected. (BM).

An emaciated Common Shelduck with an empty digestive system was shot by a food hunter at Webb Bay, Nain, Labrador 11 Apr. (fide Frank Phillips); it was not considered an escapee and provided Labrador with its first record and NL with its third record of the species (fide BM). A male Wood Duck was in Conway Brook, St. John’s, NL 5–24 Mar. (Ryan Larsen et al.), while another male Wood Duck—or perhaps the same individual—was found at Forteau–Brook Marsh, Labrador—Happy Valley–Goose Bay, NL 24 May (ph. Vernon Buckle). A male Garganey at Sambro Saltmarsh, Halifax, NS 21 Mar was an excellent find (ph. Diane LeBlanc). A male Garganey discovered in St. John’s, NL 20–26 Apr was a rare spring vagrant to the province (AB, ph. Charles Fitzpatrick, ph. Todd Boland et al.). Rare to Newfoundland, a male Gadwall present at Long Pond, St. John’s 6 Mar. + (AB et al.) was joined by another male Gadwall 11–25 May (Charles Fitzpatrick). A Eurasian Wigeon returned this spring to Ellen’s Creek, Charlottetown, PE 18–30 Mar (Roberta Palmer et al.). A male “Eurasian” Green-winged Teal (ssp. crecca) was discovered in Kelly’s Brook, St. John’s, NL 26 Mar. (ph. Charles Fitzpatrick), while 2 more were subsequently reported in St. John’s, NL 11 Apr (Fred and Colleen Wood).

A pair of Canvasback was present in the Wolfville Sewage Treatment Lagoons, Kings, NS 26 Mar. (Jake Walker, ph. Harold Forsyth, ph. Rick Whitman et al.). Three Canvasback—2 males and a female—were present at the nearby New Minas Sewage Lagoons, Kings, NS 29–31 Mar. (ph. George Forsyth, ph. Richard Stern et al.). Interestingly, a male Canvasback was also present at Cranberry Head Lake, Yarmouth, NS 23–28 Mar. (ph. Angie and Tony Millard, ph. Paul Gould, ph. Mark Dennis et al.). While Tufted Duck is a regular visitor to Newfoundland, it is relatively rare to other parts of the region. In NS, 3 lingered into the season: a pair in Sullivan’s Pond , Halifax, observed 2–11 Mar (Steve Vines, Cale Mowat et al.), and a female at the Antigonish Sewage Treatment Plant, which was last reported 6 Mar (Angella MacDonald). The Tufted Duck first reported last season at Oysterbed Bridge, Queens, PE lingered through 14 Mar (Donna Martin). Subsequently, a male Tufted Duck was reported at the Bouctouche Water Treatment Plant, Kent, NB 2 May (Stella LeBlanc, Jean-Pierre LeBlanc, m. ob.). Rare in spring to St. Pierre et. Miquelon, a Lesser Scaup was in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 4 May (PB, JD). A Common Eider of the v-nigrum subspecies was an unexpected surprise when discovered 1 kilometer east of Portugal Cove South, Avalon Peninsula, NL, 12 Apr. (ph. BM); see S.A, at the end of this report.

A number of Bufflehead, rare in spring to St. Pierre et. Miquelon, were reported this season: a female was in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 1 Mar–1 Apr. (PB, JD Patrick Hacala), while on the Langlade Isthmus, Miquelon Island 2 males and a female were present 26 Apr. (RE); they were joined by an additional 3 males and 3 females 11 May (RE). Spruce Grouse is rarely observed in Nova Scotia, and the extent of the population is not known, so one in Walton Woods, Hants 7 May was an exceptional find (Donald MacLaughlin). A Pied-billed Grebe observed off of Lockport Station, Shelburne, NS 1 Mar was very early (ph. Kathleen MacAulay). A Western Grebe was an exceptional find at Mace’s Bay, Charlotte, NB 6 Mar (ph. David Clark, Anne Bardou); it provided the province with its second record of that species (fide Richard Blacquiere). The Eurasian Collared-Dove continued its presence in Melvern Square, Annapolis, NS; it was reported 11 Mar. (ph. Larry Neily et al.). A vagrant to Nova Scotia, a White-winged Dove was observed on a driveway in Port Mouton, Queens (Ken MacAulay). A Chuck-will’s-widow was heard calling on the Halifax Peninsula, Halifax, NS 25 May (Sebastián Pardo). A Ruby-throated Hummingbird at feeders in Sampsonville, Richmond, Cape Breton, NS 14 Apr. (Troy Allen) was exceptionally early—possibly due to entrainment into and northward by an east coast storm (fide Rick Whitman). A deceased Purple Gallinule found in St. George’s Marsh, Charlotte, NB 21 Apr. (ph. Jim and Therese Carroll) was an exceptionally rare find. Sandhill Cranes continue their incursion into the region with numerous individuals being reported in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Perhaps more exceptionally rare was the report of 2 Sandhill Cranes in the far north at Nunatsiavut–Nain, NL 9 May (Joseph Townley). Similarly, 2 Sandhill Cranes were observed at Notre-Dame Bay—Lewisporte, Labrador, NL 12 May (Barry Day), and one was observed nearby at Happy Valley—Goose Bay, Labrador, NL 12 and 19 May (Tony Chubbs). Subsequently, 2 Sandhill Cranes were then discovered and photographed near Parson’s Pond, Northern Peninsula, NL 25 May (fide BM), while another was observed flying over St. John’s, NL 28 May (ph. Ethel Dempsey).

A Eurasian Oystercatcher discovered at Elliston, Bonavista/ Trinity Clarenville, NL 6 Apr. (ph. Diane Collins, ph. AB, ph. Frank Kink et al.) provided the province with its fifth record of the species. Seven Black-bellied Plover lingered into the season, reported 1 Mar. (Mark Dennis), at The Hawk, Cape Sable Island, Shelburne, NS. Uncommon in spring to Newfoundland, an American Golden-Plover found at Cape Broyle, Avalon Peninsula 26 Apr. (ph. Jared Clarke, ph. Paul and Catherine Barrett) was only the eighth spring record for that species. Five Whimbrels, rare spring visitors to the province, were reported in Nova Scotia over the season. A Red Knot found at Lockport Station Lookout, Shelburne, NS 1 Mar. (ph. Kathleen MacAulay) was exceptionally early. Still fairly uncommon to Newfoundland, a female Ruff was present at Goulds, Avalon Peninsula 26–27 May (ph. Frank King, ph. Ethel Dempsey, ph. Charles Fitzpatrick, m. ob.). Very uncommon in spring to Newfoundland, a Stilt Sandpiper was located at Goulds, Avalon Peninsula 24–25 May (ph. Les Sweetapple, ph. Frank King, m. ob.). Remaining within the region, a Willet (ssp inornata) was still present at Crescent Beach, Lunenburg, NS 29 Mar. (fide James Hirtle). The same individual was likely the Willet (ssp. inornata) reported close by at Black Oler Marsh, Lunenburg, NS 27 May (Eric Mills). Less common to Nova Scotia in spring, Red-necked Phalarope were reported in large numbers this season around 10 May culminating in a report of 900 Red-necked Phalarope being observed at West Head, Shelburne, NS 10 May (ph. Bill Crosby).

The first South Polar Skua of the season was observed on the northeast peak of Brown’s Bank, Shelburne, NS 25 May (ph. Ellis d’Entremont). A Pomarine Jaeger was present in St. John’s Bay, Northern Peninsula, NL 30 May (ph. John and Ivy Gibbons). Similarly, the season’s first report of Parasitic Jaeger was of an individual at Le Have Basin, Queens, NS 25 May (ph. Ellis d’Entremont). A Long-tailed Jaeger was reported chasing terns at Stephenville Crossing, NL 29 May (David Brown). Uncommon in spring to Nova Scotia 6 Dovekie were reported: five at Roseway Bassin–East, Shelburne 25 May (ph. Ellis d’Entremont), with the other being observed offshore of Lawrencetown Beach Provincial Park, Halifax 28 May (Sean DeKelver). This season in St. Pierre et. Miquelon, Common Murre, Razorbill, and Atlantic Puffin were recorded in the thousands on Colombier Island; Common Murre was the most prevalent (fide JD and RE).


An adult Black-headed Gull at Cormierville, Kent, NB 6 Apr was considered to be an uncommon visitor (Stuart Tingley). Two Black-headed Gull were reported in Nova Scotia: one at Dennis Point Warf, Yarmouth 5 May (ph. AE), and the other at Pubnico Point, Yarmouth 5 May (ph. Kathleen MacAulay, ph. AE). Two Black-headed Gulls found in Red Head Marsh, St. John, NB 8 May (ph. Jim and Therese Carroll) were joined by 3 more 11 May (Wayne Cooper). Rare to Newfoundland, 4 Laughing Gull were reported this season—all on the Avalon Peninsula—with reports being made 8–31 May (fide BM). Laughing Gull is an uncommon visitor to Nova Scotia with one being reported on Bon Portage Island, Shelburne 18 May (ph. AE, ph. Kathleen MacAulay). Interestingly, in New Brunswick, where the species occasionally breeds, a pair of Laughing Gull was discovered at Castalia Marsh, Grand Manan Island, Charlotte 21 May (Jim and Jean Wilson). Three “Common” Mew Gulls (L. c. canus) were reported in the vicinity of Quidi Vidi Lake, St. John’s, NL this season: 2, one of which was banded, were present 5–24 Mar (Blair Flemming, ph. Frank King et al.), and another was present at the same locale 12 Mar–7 Apr. (fide AB). Rare to Newfoundland, an argentatus/argenteus Herring Gull was found at Virginia River, St. John’s 6 Mar. (David Brown, ph. Angella Granchelli); it was joined by a second 28 Mar. (David Brown). Lesser Black-backed Gull is uncommon to New Brunswick, so finding 8 variously aged individuals in Moncton 14 Mar. (ph. Michel Doucet) was surprising. Two Caspian Terns in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island, SPM 17–28 May were considered rare (JD, PB, Patrick Hacala). An American White Pelican was reported flying along the shoreline at Chester, Lunenburg, NS 9 May (Charlene MacDonald, Joan Lantz, ph. Jason Dain, m. ob.). Another, or perhaps the same individual, was reported in and around Three Fathom Halifax, NS 10–17 May (ph. Rita Viau, ph. Chris Pepper, m. ob.). A Brown Pelican was an exceptional find off Shelburne, NS 31 May (ph. Chris Goreham). Great Egret is a (regular?) vagrant to Nova Scotia, where three were reported this season. In New Brunswick, Great Egret is an uncommon migrant, so the individual at Siegas, Madawaska 5 May (Roy Lapointe) was a good find. Little Egret is an exceptionally rare vagrant to St. Pierre et. Miquelon, so the individual discovered on the Langlade, Miquelon Island 30–31 Apr. (Philippe Lahiton) was an excellent find. The Little Egret found at Taylor’s Bay, Burin Peninsula, NL 14 May (ph. Lillian Walsh) was rare. An annual visitor to Nova Scotia, Snowy Egret was reported at the following locations: Peggy’s Cove, Halifax 5 May (ph. Mike Jones), in Overton, Yarmouth Bar Road, Yarmouth 6–10 May (ph. Ronnie d’Entremont, et al.), West Head, Newelton, Shelburne 8 and 12 May (Murray Newell, ph. Sandra and Mark Dennis), and at Cranberry Head, Yarmouth 20 May (Kyle d’Entremont). A Little Blue Heron in Homeville, Cape Breton Island, NS 7–18 May (Allan and Cathy Murrant, Inez Hill et al.) was considered a vagrant. The arrival of a Little Blue Heron at Bonavista / Trinity–Clarenville, NL 16–17 and 24 May (ph. Mark Gray, Shawn Fitzpatrick, Diane Burton) was a rare occurrence for that province. A Cattle Egret found at Red Point, Grand Manan Island, Charlotte, NB 25 May (Carmella, Bill Windsor) was a rare vagrant. Two Green Herons, which are uncommon in Nova Scotia, were reported this season: one at Charlos Cove, Guysborough 17–21 May (ph. Dianne Richard) and one at Digby Neck, Digby 25 May (Cliff Sanderson). The Green Heron reported in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island, SPM 25 and 27 May (Patrick Hacala, JD) was a rare vagrant to the French Islands. A Green Heron was also present at Mini Pond, Charlotte, NB 26 May (ph. Sandra Bourque, ph. Susan Cline). Yellow-crowned Night-Heron is a rare visitor to New Brunswick, so the discovery of an individual at Friar’s Head, Charlotte 19 May (Marina Bourque, Sandra Bourque) was a good find.

Rare in New Brunswick, a Black Vulture was found associating with 16 Turkey Vultures at the Hampton Sewage Treatment Plant, Kings 19 Mar. (Richard Blacquiere). A Black Vulture, likely the same individual reported earlier, was observed at the Rotary Nature Park in Hampton, Kings, NB 13 Apr (Therese Carroll). A Black Vulture observed in flight at French Cove, Richmond, Cape Breton Island, NS 14 Apr (ph. Sheila and Billy Digout) was considered unusual for Cape Breton Island. Curiously, a Black Vulture found at East Point, Kings, PE 18 May (Donna Martin et al.) was intermittently present through the season and provided Prince Edward Island with its eighth record of the species. A Black Vulture—possibly the same individual as reported in Cape Breton earlier—was reported on Christmas Island, Cape Breton Island, NS 21 May (ph. Neila MacLellan). A Black Vulture was in the vicinity of the lighthouse on Miscou Island, Gloucester, NB 24 May (Andrew Olive, ph. Carmella Melanson). Turkey Vulture is more common on the that on the island jurisdictions within the region. In Prince Edward Island, the report of up to 9 Turkey Vultures intermittently present in the East Point area 21 Apr–23 May (Donna Martin, Scott Sinclair et al.) and a report of a kettle of 6 Turkey Vultures in the Urbainville–Cape Egmont area, Prince 23 May (Bill Hartford) was unprecedented.

An Osprey in flight over Daniel’s Point, Trepassey Harbour, Avalon Peninsula, NL 6 Apr. (Daniel Shepherd) was exceptionally early. A Golden Eagle continued into the season at High Marsh, Westmorland, NB and was reported 2 Mar. (Jim and Therese Carroll). A juvenal Golden Eagle was at Dunvegan, Inverness, NS 11 May (Savanna Jones Selkowitz). Red-headed Woodpecker once bred in Nova Scotia but is now considered a rare vagrant, so the report of an individual in Red Bridge, Carleton for the week ending 30 May is notable (Nathan Staples). A Black-backed Woodpecker found in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island, SPM 18 Apr. (JD) was a rare observation.

Great Crested Flycatcher is an uncommon transient to Nova Scotia; 4 were reported 16–30 May this season. A Fork-tailed Flycatcher was an astounding find at the Main Dock area, Happy Valley–Goose Bay, Labrador, NL 30 May (ph. Vernon Buckle et al.); it provided Labrador with its first record and was the earliest spring record for the province. Extremely uncommon in New Brunswick, a White-eyed Vireo was observed on White Head Island, Charlotte 20 May (Jim and Jean Wilson). A White-eyed Vireo found at Poweles Point, Avalon Peninsula, NL 29 May was a rare find (au. ph. BM). Uncommon to Nova Scotia, a total of 4 Warbling Vireos were reported at: Cornwallis River Greenway, Kings 15–29 May (ph. George Forsyth, ph. Harold Forsyth et al.); Coldbrook, Kings 17–18 May (ph. Richard Stern, ph. Mike Jones); The Hawk, Cape Sable Island, Shelburne 16 May (Mark Dennis); and Starr’s Point, Kings 20–24 May (ph. Phil Taylor, ph. George Forsyth).


The season’s first report of Bank Swallow was of four individuals at East Point, Kings, PE 17 May (Gary Schneider, Fiep de Bie, Scott Sinclair). Nova Scotia’s first Tree Swallow report of the season was an individual at White Point, Queens 6 Mar. (Marg Millard). New Brunswick’s was of two individuals at separate locations: one at Memramcook, Westmorland 7 Apr. (ph. Jaden Barney) and one in Sackville 7 Apr. (Karel Allard). Prince Edward Island’s were an individual at Orwell Cove, Queens 18 Apr. (Clarence Ryan), and another in St Catherine’s, Queens 18 Apr. (Megan Harris). Northern Rough-winged Swallow is an uncommon spring visitor to Nova Scotia; 5 were reported this season: an individual at Miner’s Marsh, Kings 10 May (ph. Allistair Forbes Scott, ph. John Lock); one along Saxon Street, Kings 13 May (ph. Jake Walker, ph. Richard Stern et al.), joined by a second reported 13–14 May along Saxon Street, Kings (ph. Jake Walker); another at Pont de Marais, West Pubnico, Yarmouth 14 May (ph. AE); and one was at Chebogue Point, Yarmouth 16 May (Tony and Angie Millard).

Purple Martin in now extirpated as a breeder in Nova Scotia and is considered an uncommon transient in the province. A female Purple Martin on Sable Island, Halifax, NS 5–29 May (ph. Greg Stroud) was exceptional. An injured female Purple Martin discovered in a yard and delivered to a Wildlife Clinic in Charlottetown, PE 8 May (ph. Nellissa Stalenhoef) was a rare occurrence to that province. A male Purple Martin in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island, SPM 17 May+ wa joined by a female 19–23 May (Patrick Hacala, JD et al.); the species is a rare vagrant to the French Islands. No less extraordinary, a female Purple Martin was discovered in the company of other swallow species at Goulds, Bidgood Park, Avalon Peninsula, NL 30–31 May (Michel Boucher, Michael Parmenter, ph. Frank King et al.). A Barn Swallow provided Newfoundland with an exceptionally rare report when discovered flying over snow in Makkovik, Labrador 3 May (ph. Mary B. Andersen). Exceptionally rare to St. Pierre et. Miquelon, 4 Cliff Swallows were discovered in the vicinity of St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 23 May (Bernard Verger, JD, Patrick Hacala). Two Cliff Swallows found at Goulds, Avalon Peninsula, NL 24–25 May (Todd Boland, Megan Boucher, Beverly McClenaghan et al.) were also quite unusual.

Transient to Nova Scotia, a House Wren was observed in Lunenburg, Lunenburg 24 and 30 May (au. ph. Jamie Huskins, Eric Mills, ph. Kevin Lantz). House Wren is an uncommon vagrant to New Brunswick. Three were reported this season: one at the Sackville Waterfowl Park, Sackville 20–25 May (Davin MacAskill, Quin McAskill et al.); one individual at Fredericton, York 23 May (Stephen Allaby); and another at St. Stephen, Charlotte 28 May (Tod Watts). Two Marsh Wrens were reported this season: one at Miner’s Marsh, Kings, NS 6 Mar. (Sarah Foote) and the other was at Cape Forchu, Yarmouth, NS 15 May (au. Kyle d’Entremont). An Eastern Bluebird found along Overton Road, Yarmouth, NS 10 Mar was considered early (Kathleen MacAulay). Eastern Bluebird is occasional to Prince Edward Island; a pair was discovered at Rocky Point, Queens 13 May (ph. Victoria Doan). Wood Thrush is a regular vagrant to Nova Scotia, whence enumerated four reports through the month of May. A Wood Thrush discovered at Kent’s Pond, St. John’s, NL 28–29 May was an exceptionally rare find (AB, m. ob.). The male Varied Thrush first reported at L’Ardoise, Richmond, Cape Breton, NS last season was present at that same locale 3–11 Mar. (Hilary and Sheila Pottie). Brown Thrasher is a vagrant to Nova Scotia; seven individuals were reported in the month of May. Similarly, Brown Thrasher is an occasional vagrant to Prince Edward Island, where two were reported mid-May. The discovery of a Northern Mockingbird in Bear Cove, Avalon Peninsula, NL 25 May (ph. Fred and Colleen Wood) was very much unexpected. Uncommon to Prince Edward Island a Northern Mockingbird was present at Mont Carmel, Prince 27 May (François Jetté).

Two Lapland Longspurs at Hay Island, Northumberland, NB 9 May (ph. Denna Gadd) and one at Petit–Cap, Westmorland, NB 28 May (ph. Louise Nichols) were late lingerers. A Lark Sparrow at Porter’s Lake, Halifax, NS 17 Mar was an excellent yard bird (Nancy Delaney). An uncommon migrant to New Brunswick, a Lark Sparrow was found on the Algonquin Golf Course, Charlotte 22 Mar. (ph. Bruce and Pam Henderson). Especially rare in Newfoundland, another Lark Sparrow was at Clark’s Pond, St. Lawrence, Burin Peninsula 30 May (ph. Lillian Walsh). The Clay-colored Sparrow found at Daniel’s Head, Cape Sable Island, Shelburne, NS 17 May (Tony and Angie Millard) was an uncommon vagrant in that province. Field Sparrow is an uncommon vagrant to Nova Scotia as well, so reports of seven present in May suggested a good incursion of that species into the province. The Eastern Towhee at Dartmouth, Halifax, NS 2 Mar. was a continuing bird (Steve Vines). Reports of a single Eastern Towhee at Sackville, NB 31 Mar on 31 Mar (Johnathan Merav, Jaden Barney et al.) and 20 May (Peter Thomas) likely pertained to the same individual.

A Yellow-breasted Chat in Lunenburg, Lunenburg, NS that lingered into the season was last reported 10 Mar. (ph. Barbara McLean). Orchard Oriole is considered a spring vagrant to Nova Scotia, so reports of 12 in the province during May indicated more than usual were passing through. The specie is exceptionally rare to St. Pierre et. Miquelon, where a juvenal was observed at the St. Pierre Airport, St. Pierre Island 15 May and again in St. Pierre 23 May (PB, Patrick Hacala); this provided the French Islands with their fifth record. Two Orchard Orioles found on Grand Manan Island, Charlotte, NB 17 and 18 May (Jim and Jean Wilson) were considered annual overshoots that are only reported in the last half of May within the province (fide JW). Very uncommon to Newfoundland, a Baltimore Oriole lingered into spring, being last reported 11 May (Helen Jones et al.). Another Baltimore Oriole appeared at Campbell’s Creek, Port au Port, St. George’s–Stephenville, NL 24–25 May (ph. Tina Randell, Kathy Marche et al.). A regular vagrant to Nova Scotia, a Prothonotary Warbler was discovered at Fort Point, Shelburne 6–11 May (Julie Smith, ph. Ronnie d’Entremont, Mike MacDonald et al.). An Orange-crowned Warbler managed to overwinter into the season in a backyard in Halifax, NS; it was last reported 30 Apr. (Chris Pepper, Kate Steel). Another was present on Cape Sable Island, Shelburne, NS 5–15 May (Mark Dennis, Larry Neily, Paul Gould). A third Orange–crowned Warbler was discovered on Sable Island, Halifax, NS 23 May (Greg Stroud). Two Black-throated Blue Warblers were on St. Pierre et. Miquelon this season: a male in northern Langlade, Miquelon Island 23 May (ph. Bérénice Cormier), and another male in the area of St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 26 and 28 May (JD, Patrick Hacala). Also lingering into the season was a Yellow-throated Warbler at feeders in Chester, Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, NS through 10 Mar. (Bruce and Pam Ostli). A Townsend’s Warbler was found in a yard in Waterside, Albert, NB 12–14 May (ph. Rick Elliot, Barb Curlew, m. ob.). Rare to St. Pierre et. Miquelon, a Canada Warbler was discovered in the vicinity of Mirande Lake, Miquelon Island 21 May (fide PB).

Summer Tanager is a spring vagrant to Nova Scotia, yet four were reported within the province during the month of May. The species is equally unusual in New Brunswick, where three Summer Tanagers were noted. Scarlet Tanager is considered a vagrant in Nova Scotia, where fifteen were surprisingly reported during the month of May. A male Western Tanager was at feeders at River Bourgeois, Richmond, Cape Breton, NS 7 May (Billy and Sheila Digout), and another was at feeders in Antigonish, Antigonish, NS 14–17 May (ph. Robert Lang, ph. Angela MacDonald et al.). Three Blue Grosbeaks, considered uncommon migrants to Nova Scotia, were reported this season: one at Tide Head, Restigouche 1 May (Lucette Lyons, Andrew Oliver), one in Scotsburn, Pictou 12 May (Steve Vines), and one at Donkin, Cape Breton 16 May (ph. Fred Boutilier). A Blue Grosbeak was also discovered at St. John’s Beach Road, Kings, NB 22 May (Alice MacAulay). Exceptionally rare in Newfoundland, a Blue Grosbeak was present at St. Lawrence, Burin Peninsula–Marystown, NL 26 May (ph. Lillian Walsh). Indigo Bunting is a rare vagrant to Newfoundland, so the presence of one at feeders in Placentia, Avalon Peninsula mid–April was unusual (Donna Mahoney et al.). Rare to St. Pierre et. Miquelon, an Indigo Bunting discovered at feeders in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 21 May (PB) was an excellent yard bird.



Another Pacific Eider in Newfoundland: 12 April 2020

“Pacific” Common Eider (Somateria mollissima v-nigrum) breeds in the western Canadian Arctic, Alaska, and eastern Russia.; it winters off Alaska and eastern Russia. Its near-mythical occurrence in the North Atlantic has changed considerably in the last five years or so, as it has become nearly annual in winter where eiders are scrutinized on the Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland. Indeed, there have been one or two probable or confirmed records of “Pacific” Common Eider in each of the last five years. The commonly accepted speculation is that these birds are making it through passages within the Canadian Acctic Archiepelago, where summer sea ice has been much reduced in recent years. Many thousand Common Eiders winter north of the Avalon Peninsula, off the coast of Labrador and even off Baffin Island, where few birders tread, so who knows what percentage of those might be “Pacific” Eiders?


Report processed by Alison Világ and Michael Retter, 19 Sep 2020

Photos–Atlantic Region & St. Pierre et Miquelon, Spring 2020
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.