You are probably sick of hearing how good 2019 was for new species for most of us in Nova Scotia, well tough titty. It was an astounding year and many of the species we enjoyed I would not have predicted. Of my own new species, I did include two in my predictions, Black Vulture and Black Skimmer. They were in my ‘wants’ post in January 2019. In previous years when I’d had a punt I’d been less prescient and that may well be the case this time but I thought it worth another go.
Here is a list of species I’d dearly like to see in Nova Scotia in 2020. All the photos are mine from elsewhere. The list is not in any particular order of likelihood or preference, to see all would be greedy but I’m willing to be called a glutton in the event of however, like I said, give me five.
Ross’s Goose – not very common in eastern Canada although somewhat overlooked, rare in NS, really rare. We were not in NS when the province had their last record, April-11, 2015 although we only missed them (two birds) by eight days so I’ll take that as a sign.
Spotted Redshank – rare in North American but quite possible and not unprecedented. With most vagrant shorebirds it is luck you need both to find them and for them to stick long enough for the confirmatory photo and observer support.
Vermilion Flycatcher – maybe left-field but with southern-south-western species turning up in the north east with increasing regularity not impossible.
Greylag Goose – already dipped one in 2019, it may still be in the ‘system’ and might just end up in the southern goose capital of Yarmouth.
Common Ringed Plover – it really is about time!
Long-billed Curlew – one was in New Brunswick a few years ago so the vagrancy potential is there. I fancy one on The Cape during buffy season.
Common Swift – has occurred in the east a few times but almost always just a single observer jobbie. Ideally one would arrive, the weather be dire and it would be forced to hawk a sewage plant for a week.
Varied Thrush – one was not 130km away last winter but the home owner where it was feeding was adamant no visitors so no Varied. This winter the east coast has a few records including one on Grand Manan. Check every robin!
Surfbird – oooh, it could do you know. There have been east coast birds, not multiple observers I don’t think but still evidence of the possibility.
Pacific Slope Flycatcher – we get the others so why not this one, mind you it would have to chirp a bit for us to be happy with it.
Neotropic Cormorant – they are coming!
Black-tailed Godwit – one is in the ‘system’ based on one being seen last spring off Pubnico, will it return?
Common Snipe – perhaps more likely to be found taken by a hunter as, bizarrely, they are a valid quarry species in NS despite never having occurred, says it all about the arcane hunting regulations eh?
Anna’s Hummingbird – with records in Quebec in recent years we might be the one to get a lost bird late in the year this time.
Brewer’s Sparrow – a hard ask but sparrows move and with climate change it is hard to argue against anything, especially after the Lewis’s Woodpecker.
Black-chinned Hummingbird – they have history of heading to the north-east, a summer male would do.
Of course you might just have your own ideas of what we will get next.