30 August, 2015
29 August, 2015
18 August, 2015
17 August, 2015
19 January, 2015
05 January, 2015
02 January, 2015
18 August, 2014
Scientific Name: Cypseloides niger
Range / Habitat: Breeds in high, rocky niches in the Caribbean and at sites near the Pacific coast of Canada, US and Mexico. Wintering grounds unknown, but they may travel as far as South America.
Field Notes: Large, all black, swift which may have some white fringes to underparts.
Personal Notes: Seen in flying over Maligne Gorge in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. We later saw these marked nest sites further up the gorge.
Range / Habitat: Year-round in boreal forests and taiga throughout Canada and Alaska.
Field Notes: Medium-sized fowl with heavily barred back and breast. Breeding males nearly black, as above, females lighter brown, as below. Males with white-boardered black throat and red eye combs. Ruffed Grouse larger with a crest and no red eye comb.
Personal Notes: First seen in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. These birds were not shy, often found right on the side of the road, not moving even when we stopped to photograph them. We later found the male on route to Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada.
Range / Habitat: Preferred habitat coniferous forest, year-round in the Pacific Northwest and Northeastern US. Summers in Canada into Alaska, winters throughout much of the US.
Field Notes: Very small songbird with grey to olive-green upperparts and buff underparts. Yellow to orange crown patch with black border. White eyebrow and black eye-line. Ruby-crowned Kinglet lacks eyebrow and eye-line.
Personal Notes: Seen in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada.
27 June, 2014
Range / Habitat: Breeds on offshore islands and inaccessible cliffs in large, isolated colonies in the north Atlantic, including Newfoundland, Iceland, the UK, Scandinavia, and Russia. Winters at sea in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, reaching down to 45 degrees latitude.
Field Notes: Large white waterbird with black wing-tips. Long bill and pointed tail. Head with orange-yellow tinges. Plunge-dives for food.
Personal Notes: First seen on Heimay Island in Iceland and (barely) photographed five years later on the Reykjanes Peninsula of Iceland.
25 June, 2014
Range / Habitat: Diverse aquatic habitats, both freshwater and marine. Year-round in SW Greenland, W Iceland, N & C Eurasia. Winters S to N Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Pakistan, N India and SE China.
Field Notes: Large eagle, overall dark brown with yellow bill and legs. In mature adults, tail white, head and neck pale buff. Unmistakable in range.
Personal Notes: Highlight of a "Viking Sushi" tour of Breidafjordur Bay in western Iceland, though the sushi was pretty good, too. Once the bird was sighted, Richard raced to the back of the boat and managed to get this shot (with the characteristic white tail) before we pulled out of range.
24 June, 2014
Range / Habitat: Breeds on tundra in the circumpolar Arctic. Winters at sea in a variety of spots near the equator.
Field Notes: Small wader, smallest of the phalaropes. Small, needle-like bill and slender neck. Brown upperparts, with some gold, white breast and chin. Rufous horseshoe-shaped collar.
Personal Notes: A ubiquitous bird in small pools of water in Iceland in the summer, but surprisingly difficult to photograph.
Range / Habitat: Breeds in a variety of open habitats in northern Europe, including Iceland and Greenland. Resident in western Europe but northern breeding populations migrate further south, as far as northern Africa, to similar open habitats, but also including seashores.
Field Notes: Small pipit with slender bill. Upperparts brown streaked with black, underparts buff, also streaked and sometimes coalescing in breast spot.
Personal Notes: We found this European bird to be somewhat of a cross between an American Pipit and an Eastern Meadowlark in its behaviour.
Range / Habitat: Breeds on tundra and rocky areas from NE Canada through Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia to NW Siberia. Winters on rocky coasts of E North America and NW Europe.
Field Notes: Plump, medium-sized shorebird. medium-length bill with yellow base and slight droop at end. Short yellow legs. Grey to brown head, neck and back. Underparts lighter and heavily streaked. No purple in breeding plumage and only a faint sheen in winter.
Personal Notes: A surprise find at Snaefellsjoekull National Park in Iceland.