Signs of spring at Point Riche, Port au Choix

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Douglas Clark

May 7, 2022, 9:46:48 AMMay 7
While the fallout is past, today finally presented my first opportunity of the year to run a morning seawatch at Point Riche. It may shock Avalon birders to know that there continue to be large piles of snow all around here, even if open areas are largely exposed; the 4km road to the lighthouse is still reduced to one lane in two or three locations. On top of this, it was bitterly cold this morning, with light flurries when I woke up amid northerly winds.

Nonetheless, there were plenty of signs of nature on the move. Numbers were low (unsurprising considering the cold and northerly wind direction), but species diversity was very good. 45 minutes at Point Riche produced:

Gannet - 4 (first of year)
Black Scoter - 4 (in two separate pairs; first of year)
Harlequin Ducks - 4 (my first of year)
Long-tailed Ducks - 2
Purple Sandpipers - 9ish flew in and landed on the rocks
Humpback Whales - est. 2 (first of year; may have been other whales)
Alcids - not much yet. Plenty of guillemots, and a couple larger alcids flying south. One Thick-billed Murre in the water. Possibly a Razorbill heading north.
Common Eider - nothing like the 1000s that were a peak earlier this week, or the 100s that have been consistently present of late. But still many flights of 20-25 birds.

Also, in Port Saunders: two American Tree Sparrows. Learned a new song! Otherwise, too cold to find many songbirds.

Doug Clark
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