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Gros Morne Christmas bird counts

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Darroch Whitaker

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Dec 25, 2023, 8:11:02 AM12/25/23
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The two Christmas Bird Counts in the Gros Morne area were held last week, though unsettled weather meant that both occurred under far from ideal conditions. In total 44 species were observed between the two counts as well as an additional 3 count week species.

Eight people in 2 groups completed the St. Paul's-Cow Head count on December 17. High onshore winds (50 gusting to 70 kmh in the morning increasing to 70-80 kmh in the afternoon) made for very challenging birding, and no doubt accounted for the low counts or absence of most landbirds as well as some regular waterbirds like Common Merganser. Still we had record high counts of Harlequin Duck and Red-breasted Merganser, as well as a good number of Common Goldeneye and a single Bufflehead in St. Paul's Inlet.

Thirteen people in 5 groups completed the Bonne Bay count on December 20th. The weather was mild with light winds but steady rain for most of the day, again making it difficult to find any landbirds and keep the optics dry and unfogged. Despite the weather we had record high counts of Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Mourning Dove, and Rock Pigeon, as well as 4 Barrow's Goldeneye and a count week Dickcissel. Though the Mourning Dove count (16) was a record there were 28 at my feeder the next day so even that was an undercount.

Here are the full details, hopefully the formatting doesn't get too messed up in the posting.


Species NLSC NLBB
American Black Duck 107 14
Mallard 1 2
Common Eider 1 0
Harlequin Duck 26 0
Surf Scoter 2 0
White-winged Scoter 10 0
Long-tailed Duck 2 0
Greater Scaup 1 0
Bufflehead 1 0
Common Goldeneye 136 148
Barrow's Goldeneye 1 4
Common Merganser 0 10
Red-breasted Merganser 135 167
Common Loon 3 3
Great Cormorant 0 1
Cormorant sp. 0 14
Bald Eagle 1 3
Purple Sandpiper 4 0
Black-headed Gull 0 1
Herring Gull 49 27
Iceland Gull 20 79
Glaucous Gull 0 7
Great Black-backed Gull 65 20
Dovekie 4 1
Common Murre 1 0
Black Guillemot 7 21
Rock Dove 0 75
Mourning Dove 0 16
Downy Woodpecker 0 1
Hairy Woodpecker 0 1
Gray Jay 0 1
Blue Jay 0 13
American Crow 35 87
Common Raven 1 1
Black-capped Chickadee 1 15
Boreal Chickadee 9 9
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 0
European Starling 148 192
Bohemian Waxwing 0 CW
Song Sparrow 0 2
Dark-eyed Junco 0 5
Pine Grosbeak 20 9
White-winged Crossbill 0 114
Pine Siskin 40 0
American Goldfinch 0 CW
Evening Grosbeak 0 30
House Sparrow 3 141
Dickcissel 0 CW
Totals 835 1234
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