Atlantic Region: Winter 2018–2019

Winter 2018–2019: 1 Dec–28 Feb

David Seeler

Recommended citation:

Seeler, D. 2021. Winter 2018–2019: Atlantic Region. <> North American Birds.

The season began with milder temperatures than normal and remained near normal as it progressed. Precipitation for the maritime region was slightly above normal following a major storm on 28 December 2018. Species of note included California Gull, Slaty-backed Gull, Golden-crowned Sparrow, and Harris’s Sparrow.

Contributors: (sub-regional editors in boldface)
Alvan Buckley, Alix d’Entremont, Roger Etcheberry, Bruce Mactavish, Jim Wilson.


SPM (Saint Pierre and Miquelon)

Waterfowl through Skimmers

A Pink-footed Goose discovered in Overton, Yarmouth Co, NS 16 Dec (ph. Kevin Lantz, David Currie et al.) was an excellent find. The Barnacle Goose located at Chebogue Point, Yarmouth Co, NS 23 Dec—2 Jan (Paul Gould, m. ob.) provided the province with its 10th record of the species and was the second winter report for the species. Casual to NS, a Cackling Goose lingered along the Wolfville Rail Trail, Kinks Co through 2 Jan (ph. Rick Whitman, m. ob.). A Wood Duck found in Chamberlain’s Park, Avalon Peninsula, NL 7 Jan—22 Feb (ph. Blair Fleming et al.) was a rare visitor. Particularly rare to SPM, a male Gadwall was in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 2 Dec (Bernard Verger, Patrick Hacala). The male Gadwall that appeared in Quidi Vidi Lake, St. John’s, NL 8 Dec—25 Feb (ph. Jake Weeks and Megan Boucher et al.) was a casual visitor. Accidental to SPM, a male Tufted Duck on St. Pierre Island 2 Dec+ provided the second territorial record (fide RE). An adult male Common Eider (ssp. v-nigrum) offshore of the Avalon Peninsula, NL 26 Feb (ph. Frank King et al.) was a casual visitor. Bufflehead is quite rare to SPM, so the discovery of three pairs at Grand Barachois, Miquelon Island 1 Dec (Joël Detcheverry) was a good find. More exceptional were the nine female and seven male Buffleheads present at the same locale 17 Dec (Joël Detcheverry) which was a record number for SPM. A Horned Grebe offshore southwest of the Isthmus, Miquelon Island, SPM 1 Dec and 8 Feb (Laurent Jackman) was a rare visitor.

The Eurasian Collared-Dove previously reported at Melvern Square, Annapolis Co, NS continued throughout the current season (Andrea Drake et al.). Three Sandhill Crane lingered on Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co, NB to 3 Dec (ph. Bob Hay). Continuing into the season, the Killdeer at Ferryland, Cape Race, Avalon Peninsula, NL was last reported 8 Dec (Frank King et al.). A Ruddy Turnstone found on the northeast portion of the Isthmus, Miquelon Island, SPM 23 Jan (vt. Jean-Paul Apestéguy) was exceptionally late. Similarly, a Ruddy Turnstone located on Big Tusket Island, Yarmouth Co, NS 15 Jan was the only one reported this season. Accidental to SPM, a Willet (ssp. inornata) lingered into the season on St. Pierre Island to 12 Feb (Laurent Jackman, Bernard Verger et al.). The Willet (ssp. inornata) that overwintered the previous two years was again present this season in Lunenburg Co, NS (fide Rick Whitman). A Red Phalarope present in Schooner Pond, Cape Breton Island, NS 20 Dec (vt. Allan and Cathy Murrant) provided the province with its seventh record. Exceptionally rare, single Pomarine Jaegers were observed 6 Km out of Shag Harbour, Yarmouth Co, NS 2 Dec (Rebecca Goreham), as well as 15 Km southwest of Seal Island, Yarmouth Co, NS 3 and 7 Dec (ph. Ronnie d’Entremont). An Ivory Gull present in Musgrave Harbour, Notre Dame Bay—Lewisporte, NL 9 Jan (ph. Barry Day) was an uncommon visitor. Black-headed Gull is becoming more uncommon to SPM (fide RE) yet one individual was found in southeastern St. Pierre Island 3 Dec (Laurent Jackman), and an adult was found in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 30 Dec and 13 Jan (Bernard Verger). A rare visitor to NS, a Mew Gull continued throughout the season at New Glasgow, Pictou Co (Robert Lange et al.). A juvenile California Gull was an exceptional find at Sydney Harbour, Cape Breton Island, NS 27 Jan (ph. Steven McGrath, Amar Ayyash) and provided the province with its second record. A juvenile Herring Gull (ssp. argenteus) at Quidi Vidi Lake, St. John’s, NL 17–20 Jan (ph. Frank King, David Brown, et al.) invoked a lot of excitement amongst birders. Also exceptional to the region, two Slaty-backed Gulls were reported this season: one at Quidi Vidi Lake, St. John’s, NL 17 Jan—6 Feb (Lancy Cheng, ph. Frank King, m. ob.), and the other, an adult, was well studied at Swim’s Point, Cape Sable Island, NS 21 Jan (ph. Mark Dennis et al.) providing the province with its seventh record.

Shearwaters through Larks

Reports of Great Shearwaters made off the White Head Ferry, Bay of Fundy, Charlotte Co, NB included two on 26 Jan, four on 27 Jan, and two on 29 Jan (Roger Burrows). An American Bittern in Sambro Salt Marsh Halifax, NS 3 Dec (Diane LeBlanc, ph. Bernie Brown) was late. The Great Blue Heron reported on the Burin Peninsula last season was still at Clark’s Pond, Avalon Peninsula, NL 1 Dec (ph. Lillian Walsh). A Great Blue Heron observed flying over the Westmorland River, Queens Co, PE 25 Dec (Daphne Davey) was quite late. More curious was the report of a Great Blue Heron in Stratford, Queens Co, PE 24 Feb (Jill MacCormack). A Great Egret in Castalia Marsh, Grand Manan Island, Charlotte Co, NB 24 Dec (ph. Bob Hay) was a late vagrant. The Glossy Ibis present in Broad Brook Wetland Park and area, Yarmouth Co, NS 22–23 Dec was a late record for the species.

A Black Vulture that was provided food for 10 days was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center in NS 12 Dec (fide Richard Stern). A second Black Vulture was at the Hawk, Cape Sable Island, Shelburne Co, NS 6 Jan (Johnny Nickerson). Casual to PE, a Turkey Vulture was observed flying along the Vernon River, Queens Co 15 Jan (Dale Murchison). A rare vagrant to NB, a Golden Eagle lingered at Point de Bute, Sackville, Westmorland Co, NB through 28 Jan (ph. Jason Gallant, Michel Doucet, m. ob.). A Northern Harrier intermittently reported at Signal Hill, St. John’s, NL 29 Dec—13 Feb (ph. Ethel Dempsey et al.) was a rare visitor. Two Red-shouldered Hawks were reported in NB: one at Saint John 26 Jan—25 Feb (Michel Doucet, m. ob.), and the other was at the Fredericton Landfill Site 7–14 Feb (Samantha Mesher et al.). Casual to SPM, a female Red-tailed Hawk was on the Isthmus, Miquelon Island 1 Dec (Laurent Jackman). Red-tailed Hawk is casual to NL where one individual lingered in the St. John’s area 15 Dec—6 Feb. On PE where Red-tailed Hawk is rare, at least six individuals were present in various locations through Queens Co 8 Dec—17 Feb. Two Red-tailed Hawks were in Shemogue, Westmorland Co 3 Jan (Rose Alma Mallet et al.), a very unusual date. A female Red-bellied Woodpecker at feeders in Belfast, Queens Co, PE mid-Dec through 18 Jan (Fiep de Bie, Scott Sinclair) was a casual visitor. Two American Kestrels were reported on SPM, with one individual in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 9 Dec (Joël Detcheverry, Patrick Hacala, Laurent Jackman), and the other—perhaps the same individual—was observed in western St. Pierre Island 10 Dec (Laurent Jackman) and 22 Jan (Joël Detcheverry). Particularly rare to PE, an American Kestrel was found in Earnscliffe, Queens Co 15 Feb (Dan McAskill).

Swallows through Dickcissel

Brown Creeper is casual to SPM where two individuals were reported: one in Langlade, Miquelon Island 1 Dec, 12 Jan, and 5 Feb (Laurent Jackman), and the other was in St. Pierre, St Pierre Island 26 Dec (Patrick Hacala). A House Wren present in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Lower Sackville, Halifax Co, NS 8–11 Dec (Liz Vollinger, Blaine MacDonald et al.) was a casual vagrant. Uncommon in winter to SPM, four Winter Wrens were present this season (Laurent Jackman, RE, Anaïs Demagny). Marsh Wren is casual to NS, with two individuals present this period: one in Broad Brook Wetland Park, Yarmouth Co 2–16 Dec (ph. Ervin Olsen et al.), and the other along the Wolfville Rail Trail, Kings Co 7 and 11 Jan ((George Forsyth, Harold Forsyth). Rare in winter, three Carolina Wrens were in NS this season (fide Nancy Dowd). A Northern Wheatear was an excellent yard bird when discovered on Cape Egmont, Prince Co, PE 24 Feb (Bill Hartford). A Townsend’s Solitaire was present at feeders in Stratford through late January (ph. Victoria Doan) providing the province with its fifth record. A Hermit Thrush in Saint John, NB 31 Dec (ph. Jim Carroll), and another at Chester’s Field Farms, Albert Co 1 Jan (ph. Denis Doucet) were exceptionally late. Interestingly, two additional Hermit Thrushes continued to test their fate with one present at Bloomfield, Kings Co. NB 3 Jan (ph. Paul and Kitty Martin), and the other in Moncton, NB 5 Jan (fide JW). Out of place and exceptionally late, a Hermit Thrush was present at Kelly’s Brook, St. John’s, NL 10 Jan—17 Feb (ph. Bruce DiLabio, m. ob.). A Varied Thrush that resided at feeders in New Germany, Lunenburg Co, NS 1 Jan—2 Feb (ph. Marlene Fairman) was a rare vagrant.

Uncommon to SPM, two Gray Catbirds were reported: one on St. Pierre Island 6–7 Dec (Joël Detcheverry), and the other—perhaps the same individual—was in St. Pierre, St. Pierre Island 15 Dec+ (Patrick Boez). Exceptionally rare to NS, a Lark Sparrow that continued into the season at Mackay Siding, Colchester Co (Les Rutherford) was last observed 14 Feb (Barb McLaughlin). A Clay-colored Sparrow present in Harvey, Albert Co, NB 27 Dec was a rare migrant. Single Clay-colored Sparrows, exceptionally rare to NS, were at Lawrencetown, Halifax Co 3–16 Jan (ph. Chris Pepper), and in Lunenburg, Lunenburg Co 12 Feb (ph. Kevin Lantz). A Field Sparrow at feeders near Cȏte-d’Or, Kent Co, NB 1 Dec (ph. Stuart Tingley) was a rare winter visitor. The Golden-crowned Sparrow at Renews, Avalon Peninsula, NL 7–9 Dec (Clara Dunne, David Brown, m. ob.) provided the province with its first record. A Harris’s Sparrow, casual to NS, in Dartmouth 12 Dec—8 Jan (ph. Pat McKay, m. ob.) was an exceptional find. Casual to PE, a Swamp Sparrow attempting to overwinter was at Hermitage Creek, Charlottetown to 27 Jan (Zack Trefry). Three Swamp Sparrows which attempted to overwinter in Rocky Harbour, Northern Peninsula, NL were last seen 26 Jan (Darroch Whitaker). Two Eastern Towhee, casual to NL, were present this season: one on Cottel Island, Bonavista/Trinity—Clarenville 26 Dec (ph. Brenda White), and the other was at Renews, Avalon Peninsula 7 Jan—3 Feb (Edmund Hayden, Alison Mews, ph. Ethel Dempsey, m. ob.). Rare to NS, a female Eastern Towhee remained at feeders in Lower Sackville, Halifax Co mid-January through mid-February (ph. Paul Turbitt).

Particularly rare to NL, individual Yellow-breasted Chats were at Torbay, Avalon Peninsula 8 Dec (ph. Ryan Larson), and in St. Johns 11 Dec—1 Jan (Blair Fleming, Andrea Dicks et al.). NS reported 10 Yellow-breasted Chats this season, most of which were in Halifax Co (fide AE). A Yellow-headed Blackbird at feeders in Cook’s Brook, Halifax Co late Dec+ was a casual visitor. At least 24 Baltimore Orioles were reported present this season in NS (fide AE), three in NL, and just a single in SPM. Casual to NS, a Bullock’s Oriole present at Westmount, Cape Breton Island 21 Dec—19 Jan (ph. Steven McGrath, ph. Angela Granchelli et al.) was considered to be the same individual which overwintered in this locale for four winters (fide AE). A Rusty Blackbird that lingered into the season at Monticello, Kings Co through 15 Feb was a casual winter visitor. The Rusty Blackbird present at Lumsden, Notre Dame Bay—Lewisporte, NL 3–15 Jan (Tracy Wareham, ph. Barry Day) was unexpected. A Brewer’s Blackbird on Daniel’s Head, Cape Sable Island, Shelburne Co, NS (ph. Mark and Sandra Dennis) was a rare visitor. Astonishingly, three Common Grackles in Rocky Harbour, Northern Peninsula, NL 12 Jan (Darroch Whitaker) were likely attempting to overwinter.

Uncommon to NL, a Black-and-white Warbler lingered into the season at Kelly’s Brook, St. John’s, NL through 8 Dec (Ryan Larson, Blair Fleming). The Nashville Warbler present in the Lower Waterford River area, 14 Dec (Alison Mews, ph. Brian Hoffe et al.) was an accidental visitor. A Rare visitor to NS, a Yellow-throated Warbler that lingered into the season at Port Williams, Kings Co was last reported 2 Dec (fide Richard Stern). A Prairie Warbler, rare to NL, also lingered into the season at Kelly’s Brook, St. John’s to 8 Dec (Ryan Larson, Blair Fleming). Accidental to SPM, a male Northern Cardinal intermittently present in the Village of Miquelon, Miquelon Island 9 Dec—9 Feb (Laurent Jackman, Jean-Marie Orsing et al.), provided that jurisdiction with its second record. A female Northern Cardinal had been present a Pouch Cove, Avalon Peninsula, NL for at least four weeks before its presence was made public 8 Feb+ (Alvan Buckley, m. ob.).

Report processed by Andrew Keaveney, 7 May 2021.

Photos–Atlantic Region: Winter 2018–2019

Click image to view fullscreen with caption.