Labrador birder discovers species never-before seen in Canada
Vernon Buckle spotted a yellow-breasted bunting in Forteau
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.
The yellow-breasted bunting spotted grabbing a snack, with a dickcissel sitting behind it, captured with Vernon Buckle’s camera.