Labrador birder dis­cov­ers species never-be­fore seen in Canada

Ver­non Buckle spot­ted a yel­low-breasted bunting in Forteau

Northern Pen - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANETTE DOOLEY FORTEAU, NL

It’s a rare oc­ca­sion when a bird­watcher cap­tures pho­to­graphs of a species found for the first time in Canada.

That’s ex­actly what hap­pened when Ver­non Buckle of Forteau spot­ted a yel­low-breasted bunting in his back­yard last week.

Con­tacted by phone Oct. 24, Buckle said it was around sup­per time on Oct. 16 when he pulled into his drive­way and no­ticed some birds en­joy­ing the seed he’d put in his back­yard.

“I can see one of my feed­ers from the end of my drive­way,” he said. “I knew there was a flock of birds there on the ground – I go out ev­ery morn­ing and put a cup of seed on the grass. I looked across the lawn I saw some birds, just pitched.”

Buckle grabbed his binoc­u­lars and cam­era and went for a closer look.

“As I got half way across the lawn, I could see a bird with yel­low on it, a dick­cis­sel – I know the species.

“I made a few more steps and then I no­ticed this bird that I didn’t rec­og­nize. It had a yel­low col­lar on its neck and a yel­low breast. It was al­most crouch­ing low in the grass. I just thought it was another dick­cis­sel,” Buckle said of his first re­ac­tion to the bird.

Af­ter zoom­ing in fur­ther with his cam­era, he re­al­ized the bird had nu­mer­ous dif­fer­ences from the dick­cis­sel, which made him more in­quis­i­tive.

“I crawled along the ground un­til I got to a tree pro­tect­ing the line of sight be­tween me and the other birds. I got as close as I could, and grabbed a dozen or so pho­tos.”

Buckle quickly for­warded the pho­tos to some ex­pert birder friends.

“And the rest is his­tory,” he said, al­lud­ing to the at­ten­tion his find has gar­nered over the past week.

PHOTO BY VER­NON BUCKLE

The yel­low-breasted bunting spot­ted grab­bing a snack, with a dick­cis­sel sit­ting be­hind it, cap­tured with Ver­non Buckle’s cam­era.

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