Friday, December 29, 2017

TWO VERY UNCOMMON CHRISTMAS VISITORS

Over the holidays, birders have been trekking out to the wintry headlands and bays in search of the Tufted Duck and the Purple Sandpiper which have graced us recently with their presence.
  
Both species are way out of their winter range and are generally referred to as "accidentals".  As we approach the end of the year, serious annual listers are anxious to catch a sighting of these last minute oddities to top up their totals.

Sam Smith Tufted Duck - Photographer Eric Baldo
The Tufted Duck is a common Old World diving duck, the Eurasian counterpart of our Ring-Necked Duck.  They sometimes wander to eastern North America from Europe and Iceland and are considered rare.

The Purple Sandpiper breeds in the northern tundra
Purple Sandpiper in winter plumage - Photographer Jean Iron
on Arctic islands and coastal shorelines in Eastern Canada and its winter migration route follows the eastern shoreline south to rocky ice-free coasts in the Canadian maritimes and, sometimes, as far south as the Carolinas.  Our visitor is definitely off course.


There have also been numerous reports of Snowy Owls seen in the park in the last few weeks.  They can generally be found in the marina either on the docks or on the frozen bay.






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