Monday, September 21, 2020

Double jaeger whammy

Jaegers on the big lakes of southern Manitoba are far from common; so I was ecstatic when Josiah Van Egmond called out “jaeger” as we were scoping the water at Victoria Beach on 2020-09-19. I was blown away (literally and figuratively) to see the super long-tail streamers that immediately identified the bird as Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus), accompanied by that “lighter” flight style that I came to know and love while atlassing in northern Manitoba (when we documented them as nesting in Manitoba, previously unconfirmed: . I had not realised that it was possible for adult Long-tailed Jaegers to keep the tail streamers on the southbound migration, but I have since learned from Peter Pyle that this does happen and that their moult is highly variable. Peter Taylor tells me that, if the record was accepted, this would be the first record of a Long-tailed Jaeger in southern Manitoba in 118 years. Sadly, I did not manage any usable photos of the Long-tailed Jaeger, mostly because it flew back and away from us and by the time it landed on the water it was so far away I couldn’t find it in my camera lens so instead went back to studying it in the scope. Then, while my head was buried in the scope, Josiah called out “there’s a second jaeger coming in”. The two jaegers were visible together for a while but the Long-tailed disappeared around the west of Elk Island, whereas the second jaeger first flew north towards Sandy Bar and then back south and closer, landing on the water a few times, in between bouts of harassing a few gulls and terns. This allowed me to identify the second bird as an adult Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) and capture a few super distant record shots. I thought that getting more than one species of jaeger in Manitoba would only be possible in Churchill and the far north, but who knows what the wind can blow in…



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