Thursday, December 9, 2010
My Last Full Day in Newfoundland
What is it they say? Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. It was indeed a red sky this morning as I headed out for my last full day here in Newfoundland (photo). At breakfast I tried oatmeal rather than my usual bacon and eggs; I liked it. With coffee, of course. First stop was the sewage outfall, the location where the Black-tailed Gull had been first seen in St. John's. After about an hour, Jared Clarke arrived. We chatted and checked out the gulls for a bit, then he left. Not too much later I left too to go to Pleasantville, the other major place where the gulls have been hanging out. Today they were on a grassy terrace and not on the metal roof of the large building as they have been the past two mornings. I scanned carefully, but no black-tail. Jared drove up, scanned, and moved on. I went back to the sewage outlet with mostly the same results except that the Common Gull showed up. Then back to the grassy area where it was clear more gulls were present. But still no black-tail. Up to this point I had seen eleven species of gull in St. John's; black-tail would make twelve. You can't come to Canada without visiting a Tim Hortons. Now was my time to do it. I got some pastries to go with a large coffee and then found out they didn't take Visa or American cash. Fortunately I had just enough Loonies to make the purchase. Back to the car and gull watching. I finished the snack, took a few more great gull close-ups, and was debating lunch when the phone rang. It was Jared. He had the gull, right at the spot where I had been half an hour earlier. Fortunately I knew the way since I had driven it so often. It still took longer than I could bear. But the gull stayed and I got to see it well. It was sitting near Great Black-backed Gulls out in the open so I'm quite sure it wasn't there on my last visit. I thanked Jared. He had also called Bruce Mactavish who drove up at that point. We both took quite a few pictures (photo). It's a small gull, being only slightly larger than a Ring-billed Gull. The bird's bill is long and narrow and has a unique red and black tip. The mantle color is similar to that of a Lesser Black-backed Gull. You can see the black tail band in the photo. So thanks to the enormous help of Bruce Mactavish, Dave Shepherd, Dave Brown, and Jared Clarke I have bagged the three target birds for which I came to Newfoundland. I'll get a great night's sleep tonight. I have to; I need to catch a 6:00am flight home tomorrow. On Saturday I fly to Calfiornia for another try at the Brown Shrike.