Atlantic Region: Winter 2017–2018

Winter 2017–2018: 1 Dec–28 Feb

David Seeler

Recommended citation:

Seeler, D. 2021. Winter 2017–2018: Atlantic Region. <> North American Birds.

The most significant weather event that affected this winter season in fact occurred in late October, when a strong storm transported a massive number of songbirds into Nova Scotia, many of which remained into, or through, the season. St. Pierre et Miquelon had a record number of species for the Winter Bird Count—105—while Nova Scotia tallied 204, New Brunswick 191, and Newfoundland and Labrador 155. In addition, numerous regional records occurred this season, including Pink-footed Goose, Eared Grebe, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Kelp Gull, and Long-eared Owl. However, the most significant record was that of a Mistle Thrush that lingered in Miramichi 9 Dec 2017 through 25 Feb 2018, providing first records for New Brunswick, Canada, and North America, as well as the opportunity for many individuals to add this species to their North American list.

Waterfowl through Terns

Casual to New Brunswick, a Greater White-fronted Goose lingered on Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co 5 Jan–22 Feb (ph. Bob Hay et al.), and in Nova Scotia, two were in the Pubnico Marshes, Yarmouth Co 1–27 Feb (Carl d’Entremont, m. ob.). Casual to insular Newfoundland, a Snow Goose was in Branch, Avalon Peninsula 22 Dec–29 Jan (ph. Frank and Heather King, Alison Mews). A Pink-footed Goose in Ellen’s Creek, Charlottetown 9–25 Feb (ph. Nicole Murtaugh et al.) provided P.E.I. with its ninth record. In New Brunswick, the three Barnacle Geese that lingered into the season at Beechwood Dam, Carleton Co through 9 Dec (Paul Giberson, Jim and Jean Wilson, Karl Bard) were accidental vagrants, as was a Cackling Goose in Woodstock, Carleton Co 9 Dec (ph. Nathan Staples). Rare to Nova Scotia, a Tundra Swan in Duncan’s Cove, Halifax 7–9 Jan (ph. Dominique Gusset et al.) was found deceased in the same area 21 Jan (Eric Mills). A single Wood Duck, casual to St. Pierre et Miquelon, was in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island throughout the season, and a Eurasian Wigeon in St. Pierre 7 Dec+ (Patrick Boez) was a rare vagrant. Rare to insular Newfoundland, an “Aleutian” Green-winged Teal (ssp. nimia) was in Kelly’s Brook, St. John’s 26 Dec–21 Feb (Blair Fleming, m. ob.). An adult male Canvasback along the Barrington Causeway, Cape Sable Island, Shelburne Co, Nova Scotia 24 Dec–24 Feb (ph. Alix d’Entremont et al.) was a rare vagrant. An adult male Redhead was a rare visitor to Bras d’Or, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia 8–28 Feb (ph. David McCorquodale et al.). A female Tufted Duck on St. Pierre Island, St. Pierre et Miquelon 1 Dec+ (Patrick Boez) was an accidental vagrant. A male King Eider, rare to St. Pierre et Miquelon, was just off St. Pierre Island 2 Dec (Laurent Jackman).

The Pied-billed Grebe that lingered into and through the season in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island, St. Pierre et Miquelon (fide Roger Etcheberry) was a rare visitor. An Eared Grebe was an exceptional find in Peter’s River, Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador 1–4 Dec (Chris Brown, ph. Frank King, m. ob.), and provided the province with its first record of the species. A Eurasian Collared-Dove appeared in the yard of Wendy Ross in Melvern Square, Annapolis Co, Nova Scotia 16 Jan+ (ph. Wendy Ross, ph. Tamara Ross, m. ob.), providing the province with its fifth record. Rare to Nova Scotia, a White-winged Dove was present in Dartmouth 16–23 Dec (Brenda and Steve Bale, m. ob.). A Purple Gallinule was rescued in Sheet Harbour, Halifax, Nova Scotia 12 Dec and transported to a wildlife rehabilitation center (fide Jake Walker).

An American Golden-Plover on Cape Spear, Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador 10–13 Dec (ph. John Alexander, ph. Brian Hill, et al.) was an exceptional find. A Marbled Godwit at Cape Jourmain, Westmorland Co, New Brunswick 1–3 Dec (Gilles Belliveau et al.) was exceptionally late. Reports of Black-headed Gull are declining in St. Pierre et Miquelon, but one individual appeared on St. Pierre Island 31 Dec–14 Jan (Bernard Verger, Patrick Boez). A “Kamchatka” Mew Gull (ssp. kamtschatschensis) returned this season to the Meteghan Warf, Digby Co, Nova Scotia, where it was present 24 Dec–19 Feb (ph. Alix d’Entremont, m. ob.). Rare to Newfoundland and Labrador, a juvenile “European” Herring Gull (ssp. L. a. argentatus) was present 4–29 Jan (ph. Lancy Cheng). A Kelp Gull discovered in MacCormack’s Beach PP, Halifax 21–27 Jan (ph. Jim Edsall, m. ob.) provided Nova Scotia with its first record of the species. Accidental to insular Newfoundland, a Forster’s Tern was in Trepassey, Avalon Peninsula 2–14 Dec (ph. Frank and Heather King et al.).

Loons through Vireos

A Pacific Loon off St. Vincent’s, Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador 2 Dec–29 Jan (John Tuach, Blair Fleming, Alvan Buckley) was an exceptional find. An American Bittern was out of place in Castalia Marsh, Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co, New Brunswick 16 Jan (ph. Bob Hay). Eight Great Egrets present in Nova Scotia were exceptionally late (fide Jake Walker). Quite rare to Nova Scotia was a lingering Snowy Egret on Cape Sable Island, Shelburne Co through 24 Dec (ph. Mark Dennis et al.). A Cattle Egret was a rare vagrant on Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co, New Brunswick 5 Dec (ph. Bob Hay). A Turkey Vulture observed at East Point, Kings Co, P.E.I. 3 Jan (Scott Sinclair, Gary Schneider) was an excellent find. A Red-shouldered Hawk that overwintered at Pleasant Lake, Yarmouth Co, Nova Scotia was likely the same individual that spent the previous two winters there (fide Richard Stern). A Long-eared Owl present on St. Pierre Island, St. Pierre et Miquelon 1–8 Jan (Nathalie Michel, Patrick Hacala, Laurent Jackman, Patrick Boez) provided the sixth record for the French Islands. American Three-toed Woodpecker is an occasional visitor to P.E.I., and one turned up in the Rotary Friendship Park, Summerside, Prince Co 17–18 Jan (Donna Martin). A Black-backed Woodpecker in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island, St. Pierre et Miquelon 14 Feb (Patrick Hacala) was a rare find.

Rare to New Brunswick, a Western Kingbird was on Cape Spear, Westmorland Co 2–4 Dec (Gilles Bourque, ph. Gilles Belliveau et al.); another lingering in Nova Scotia was exceptionally rare there, and stayed at Catalone Gut, Cape Breton Co, long enough to be counted in the Louisburg CBC 18 Dec (fide Nancy Dowd). Two White-eyed Vireos lingered into the season in Newfoundland and Labrador, where they are considered accidental; one was found along the Upper Rennie’s River, St. Johns to 3 Dec (Alvan Buckley), and another was in Cappahayden, Avalon Peninsula to 4 Dec (ph. Frank King). Elsewhere, the species appeared in Nova Scotia, where it is considered rare; a total of five individuals were reported there this season (fide Nancy Dowd). Accidental to P.E.I., a late Blue-headed Vireo was in Summerside, Prince Co 16 Dec (Donna Martin).

Wrens through Dickcissels

A Marsh Wren, casual to Nova Scotia, was discovered the last day of Nov at Miner’s Marsh, Kentville, Kings Co, and was reported through 24 Feb (ph. Ann Tracey, au. James Churchill, m. ob.). Accidental to New Brunswick, two Mountain Bluebirds were in Beresford, Gloucester Co 12 Dec–18 Feb (ph. Andrew Olive, ph. Denise Albert). The incredible appearance of a Mistle Thrush in Miramichi, Northumberland Co, New Brunswick 9 Dec—25 Feb (ph. Peter and Diana Gadd, m. ob.) entertained many enthusiasts and provided first records for the province, country, and ABA region. A late October storm brought many species to Nova Scotia, some of which remained into the winter season; a notable example was the hundreds of Gray Catbirds that wintered in western Nova Scotia (fide Ken McKenna).

Four Grasshopper Sparrows, rare to Newfoundland and Labrador, were present on Cape Race, Avalon Peninsula 1–12 Dec (ph. Frank King, ph. Alvan Buckley, m. ob.). Elsewhere in the region, the species turned up in Quai-Cap-des-Caissie, Kent Co, New Brunswick 19–23 Dec (ph. Michel Doucet, ph. Karen Miller et al.), where it is casual; and another individual in Pond Cove, Brier Island, Digby Co, Nova Scotia 14 Dec (Lucas Berrigan, David Bell) was particularly rare. Six Clay-colored Sparrows were observed in Newfoundland and Labrador, while eight were in Nova Scotia. Accidental to New Brunswick, a juvenile Golden-crowned Sparrow was at feeders in Harvey, Albert Co 21–29 Jan (ph. Sybil and Peter Wentzell, Stuart Tingley et al.). Also in New Brunswick, a juvenile Harris’s Sparrow in Ralph Eldridge’s yard in St. George, Charlotte Co 15 Dec–24 Jan (Ralph Eldridge, Jim Wilson et al.) was considered an occasional visitor. Casual to P.E.I., an Eastern Towhee was in Montague, Kings Co 2 Jan (ph. Don McLelland).

A Yellow-breasted Chat, rare to Newfoundland and Labrador, was active in the city of St. John’s 2 Dec–27 Jan (fide Alvan Buckley, m. ob.). Casual to Nova Scotia, a Bullock’s Oriole made an appearance in Westmount, Cape Breton Island for the third consecutive winter, where it was present 3 Dec–6 Jan (fide Alix d’Entremont). A Cape May Warbler in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island, St. Pierre et Miquelon 4 Dec (Patrick Hacala) was exceptionally late. A Palm Warbler was an accidental visitor to southern St. Pierre Island, St. Pierre et Miquelon 2 Jan (Nathalie Michele). The presence of 22 Yellow-throated Warblers in Nova Scotia was attributable to the late October storm (fide Ken McKenna); elsewhere in the region, another individual was at Cape Tormentine, Westmorland Co, New Brunswick 2 Dec (ph. Gilles Belliveau), where the species is rare. Rare to insular Newfoundland, a Prairie Warbler was at Kelly’s Brook, St. John’s 3–16 Dec (Alvan Buckley, Blair Fleming, m. ob.). Particularly rare to insular Newfoundland was a Townsend’s Warbler in Trepassey, Avalon Peninsula 2 Dec (ph. Lancy Cheng, Alvan Buckley).

A record 18 Summer Tanagers were in Nova Scotia—all likely present due to the October storm (fide Ian McLaren). A Western Tanager at English Point, Labrador-Happy Valley-Goose Bay 4 Dec (ph. Vernon Buckle) was an accidental vagrant there. Elsewhere, the species appeared in New Brunswick, where it is an occasional visitor; one was a great yard bird in Fredericton 13 Dec (Don Gibson), while another was the victim of a window strike in Islandview, York Co 24 Jan (ph. Ariellle DeMerchant). Rare to St. Pierre et Miquelon, a Dickcissel attended feeders on St. Pierre Island 10 Dec (Patrick Hacala).

Report processed by Amy Davis, 27 May 2021.

Photos–Atlantic Region: Winter 2017–2018

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