Atlantic Region & St. Pierre et Miquelon: Spring 2017

The Spring 2017, Mar. 1May 31

David Seeler
28 Irwin Drive
Charlottetown, PE C1E 1S2
[email protected]

Recommended citation:
Seeler, D. 2017. The spring 2017: Atlantic Region & St. Pierre et Miquelon. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-8Nz> North American Birds.

The season began with multiple snowstorms and blizzard conditions blanketing much of the region, particularly NL, from mid-Mar. through early Apr. Spring flooding was a significant outcome of these storms in NB. As the season progressed, temperatures moderated to slightly below normal, and precipitation was above normal for most of the region. Stormy conditions in early Apr. in NL likely led to the season’s best discovery, that of a Yellow-billed Loon, which provided the first record for NL and the region.

Contributors (sub-regional editors in boldface)

David Bell, Patrick Boez, Alvan Buckley, Roger Etcheberry, Alix d’Entremont, Patrick Hacala, John Loch, Bruce Mactavish, Jim Wilson.

Abbreviations

C. S. I. (Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia); Eastern Canada Seabird Survey at Sea Survey, Government of Canada (E. C. S. S.); H. R. M. (Halifax Regional Municipality, NS); N. F. (Insular Newfoundland); S. P. M. (St. Pierre et Miquelon, France).

Waterfowl through Shorebirds

A Pink-footed Goose discovered 13 Apr. at Sheffield, King (ph. Gilles Belliveau) lingered through 22 Apr. (Gilles Belliveau, m. obs.) and, pending acceptance, will provide NB’s third record of the species. Rare in NL, a Garganey present 26 Apr.–5 May at Goulds, Avalon Pen., NL represented the sixth record for the province (fide A. B.). Two Tufted Ducks continued into the season in NS: a female at Sullivan’s Pond, H. R. M. through 14 Apr. (m. obs.), and an overwintering male in Glace Bay, Cape Breton through 1 Mar. (David McCorquodale). A female Tufted Duck was also in NB 1–5 Apr. in Middle Sackville (Jim & Jean Wilson). Bufflehead is considered a rare spring vagrant to S. P. M., so a female on the Isthmus, Miquelon I. 10 Apr. (R. E.) was an excellent find. Also unusual in S. P. M., a female Hooded Merganser was present 18 May in St. Pierre, St. Pierre I. (Patrick Boez, Bernard Verger). Astonishingly, a Common Swift was present 19–25 May at Quidi Vidi L., St. John’s, NL (Ian Jones, Jeannine Winkle, ph. Lisa de Leon, m. obs.). This observation provided N. F. with its second record of the species, and Canada with its third. Very rare and out of place on S. P. M. was a vagrant female Ruby-throated Hummingbird in St. Pierre, St. Pierre I. 20–23 May (Pascal Asselin, Patrick Hacala).

This spring saw the continued movement of Sandhill Cranes into the region. The first was reported 15 Apr.–11 May in Shubenacadie, Hants, NS (Jason Doiron); subsequently, in NB, two were observed 18 Apr. over a marsh in St. John (Ellen Bonnell), and two were reported 26 Apr. at Black Rock, Charlotte in the same field where a pair nested the previous year (Roger Dumaresq); finally, a lone individual was present in Hampton, King’s 6–9 May (ph. Maria & Del Tait). Less frequent in PE, two Sandhill Cranes were observed in flight 3 May over central Queen’s (Kevin Teather), and in NS, at least seven additional Sandhill Cranes were reported through 30 May (fide Jake Walker).

American Oystercatchers returned to their nesting grounds at Daniel’s Head, C. S. I., NS, with the earliest individual reported 4 Apr.+ (Ervin Olsen, John Nickerson). A Pacific Golden-Plover was completely unexpected at Stephenville Crossing, NL 17 May (ph. Barry Day) and provided the province with its sixth record of the species. Quite rare to N. F., a total of three Whimbrels of the Eurasian subspecies N. p. phaeopus were reported—one in flight around a ship at sea (fide B. M.), and two at Maddox Cove (ph. B. M., m. obs.). A Bar-tailed Godwit was an exceptional find 31 May at Mavillette Beach P. P., Digby, NS when photographed by Joan Comeau and subsequently identified by Mark Dennis, who further documented the occurrence. A female Ruff present 16 Mar. at Renews, Avalon Pen., NL (Paul Linegar, B. M.), and lingering through 14 Apr. (Edmund Hayden), represented the province’s second spring record. Subsequently, in NB, a female Ruff was well documented in Lower Jemseg, Queen’s 16 May (ph. Maria Campbell, Greg Bell, Gilles Belliveau). Rare to PE, a female Ruff was discovered 20 May within the Prince Edward I. N. P. at Brackley, Queen’s (David & Elaine Seeler, ph. Vanessa Bonneyman, m. obs.).

Skuas through Flycatchers

Three Pomarine Jaegers were reported by the E. C. S. S. within NS waters 8–16 May (fide J. L.).  The most significant report this season was that of an Ancient Murrelet 21 May on Machias Seal I., NB during a field trip by staff from the University of Maine (ph. Kyle Lima, et. al.). NB’s second record of the species in two years, this individual was likely the same one previously observed. Franklin’s Gull infrequently wanders to Atlantic Canada in spring, so an individual present 17 Mar.–14 Apr. at the Wolfville S. L., King’s, NS was a great find (Jake Walker, m. obs.). Rare to NL, a Slaty-backed Gull lingered at Quidi Vidi L., St. John’s 17–25 Mar. and was well documented (ph. B. M., Ethyl Dempsey, ph. Lancy Cheng, m. obs.). An e. Asian “Kamchatka” Mew Gull, L. c. kamtschatschensis, was discovered 1 Apr. at Meteghan Warf, Digby, NS (ph. A. E.). Rare to S. P. M. was a Caspian Tern present in the St. Pierre Harbor, St. Pierre I. 18–30 May (Laurent Jackman, Patrick Boez, Bernard Verger). A Pacific Loon overwintered on the southern shore of the Avalon Pen., NL through 18 Mar.—the fourth consecutive year this has occurred (fide B. M.). Nine days of n. to ne. winds suddenly shifted to s. winds, leaving a few openings in the ice pack along the s. shore of NL, and in one of these openings a Yellow-billed Loon was discovered 11–17 Apr. (ph. Peter Shilton, B. M., A. B., m. obs.), a first for NL as well as the Atlantic Region.

Sooty Shearwater was first reported in NS waters in early Mar. by the E. C. S. S. (fide J. L.). Increased reports of Leach’s Storm-Petrel in May, as compared to previous years, were likely due to the banding of migrants by the Atlantic Bird Observatory staff on Bon Portage I., Shelburne, NS (fide J. L.). A Brown Pelican landed on a fishing vessel sw. of Kent I., Charlotte, NB 5 May, providing that province with its second record of the species, pending acceptance (ph. Jamie & Margaret Small). As in previous years, egret and heron species continued their movement into the region (Table 1). The most significant occurrence was the 12 Apr. appearance in St. Pierre, S. P. M. of a Little Blue Heron, a rare spring vagrant to the French Is. (Patrick Boez, Laurent Jackman, Patrick Hacala).

Table 1: Egrets and Herons Reported this Season

Species

NB

NL

NS

PE

SPM

Great Egret

4

0

22

1

0

Little Egret

0

1

0

0

0

Snowy Egret

6

0

0

0

0

Little Blue Heron

5

0

3

0

1

Tricolored Heron

3

0

0

0

0

Cattle Egret

0

2

0

0

0

Green Heron

1

1

0

0

0

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

1

1

0

0

0

The rarest raptor observation for the season was that of a Swallow-tailed Kite discovered 11 May at Argyle Head, Yarmouth, NS (ph. A. E.), which provided the province with its 11th record of the species. For the third year in a row, a Red-shouldered Hawk was in Fredericton, NB 5 Apr. but did not linger (fide Jim Wilson). An Acadian Flycatcher present 23 May at Red Pt., Grand Manan I., NB was photographed by Mathew Burdon, and pending acceptance, this report will provide the province with its third record. A Willow Flycatcher was a rare spring overshoot at Chebogue Pt., Yarmouth, NS 28 May (D. B., ph. Ervin Olsen).

Vireos through Buntings

Warbling Vireo is considered a rare vagrant to NS during spring, yet a total of three were reported there this season—the first at Brier I., Digby 19 May (ph. Eric Mills); the next at Hartlen Pt., H. R. M. 20–21 May (Jim Edsall, m. obs.), and the last at Cape Forchu, Yarmouth 24 May (Ron d’Entremont). A Cliff Swallow was exceptional at St. Pierre, S. P. M. 18 Apr.—the earliest date recorded for the species on the French Is. (fide R. E.). Also an exceptional find was a Tufted Titmouse on the Shoreline Trail, Guysborough, NB 29 May (Edward Komito). In NS, Wood Thrush is considered a spring overshoot, and two were reported: the first was observed 29 Apr. at Pinkey’s Pt., Yarmouth (ph. Laurel Mirault), and the second was found 28 May in Kentville (D. B., Lucas Berrigan). Two unusual reports of Wood Thrush came from S. P. M. this season, one in St. Pierre, St. Pierre I. 5 May (Patrick Hacala, Joël Detcheverry, Laurent Jackman) and another on St. Pierre I., 26–27 May (Joël Detcheverry); both reports may pertain to the same individual, and the first report provided S. P. M’s sixth record. A Vesper Sparrow lingered 1–4 May on Cape Miquelon, Miquelon I., S. P. M. and provided the French Is. with its first spring record of that species (Jacky & Christine Hébert). The Harris’s Sparrow first reported in late Jan. at the feeders of Albert Godin in St. Léon, Gloucester, NB was last reported 2 May (fide Nelson Poirier).

A well-described Western Meadowlark discovered 31 May at Cape Race, Avalon Pen., NL provided the first record of the species for the province. (fide A. B.). Orchard Orioles made exceptional appearances in NS this season, with at least seven individuals reported 9–20 May throughout the province (fide A. E.). Prothonotary Warblers also made a noteworthy incursion into the region: in NS, single males were discovered on Sandy Cove Rd., H. R. M. 7–24 Apr. (ph. Andrew Simpson, m. obs.), and in Pubnico, Yarmouth 18–24 Apr. (ph. Bruce d’Entremont, m. obs.), while a female was at Taylor Head P. P., H. R. M. 18 May (Gerri Frager); and another single Prothonotary Warbler observed in NB in Letang, Charlotte 12 May was considered casual in spring (ph. Janice Harmon). A Cerulean Warbler was an unexpected visitor on Brier I., Digby, NS 20 May (Eric Mills). Yellow-throated Warbler is a very uncommon vagrant to NS in spring, so two reports were unexpected—the first, belonging to the subspecies S. d. dominica was discovered 12 Apr. on Cape Sable (Mike MacDonald, A. E.), and the second, of the subspecies S. d. albilora, was found 6 May along the Great Pubnico Lake Rd., Yarmouth (ph. Laurel Amirault).

In NB, a Female Blue Grosbeak was present 23–25 Apr. in Harvey, Albert (ph. Pamela Watters), and another reported 18 May on Grand Manan I. were both considered rare spring vagrants. Three Indigo Buntings—rare vagrants to S. P. M.—were reported this season: one, a male, was observed 6 May in St. Pierre; a female was reported 23–26 May in St. Pierre (P. H., Patric Boez); and another male was reported at Cape Miquelon, Miquelon I. (Jacky & Christine Hébert).

Photos–Atlantic Region & St. Pierre et Miquelon, The Spring 2017
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.