Nfld. & Labrador

Birders aflutter after sightings of rare falcon in St. John's

It was quite the sight.

White morph gyrfalcon and a grey morph shared a meal of fresh gull carcass

Gyrfalcons can be white, grey or black, and each colour is called a "morph." (Submitted by Clyde Thornhill)

A ghostly white figure caused a stir on Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John's Wednesday.

A white morph gyrfalcon joined a grey morph to dine on a fresh Iceland gull.

"To see two plumages of that bird that close is quite exciting for a photographer like myself," said Clyde Thornhill, who managed to snap a few shots of the birds.

Clyde Thornhill said this grey gyrfalcon appeared to have caught the gull. (Submitted by Clyde Thornhill)

Thornhill said he was just one of about twelve birders summoned down to the lake by a flurry of excited text messages from a fellow birder.

The gyrfalcon is the world's largest falcon, according to the Audubon Guide to North American Birds, and the white morph is particularly uncommon.

Thornhill said that even when the falcons do head south for Canada, birders rarely get to see much of them.

The white morph gyrfalcon is particularly uncommon in Canada. (Submitted by Clyde Thornhill)

"They're fast-flying birds, you only get a glimpse of them."

Thornhill was out by the lake again on Thursday morning to see if the birds were out hunting for another meal.