It has been an interesting 28 hours. After a polite reminder from another birding friend that a rare bird was being seen in Nova Scotia (a Little Egret), I decided to hop in the car and try and twitch it.
I woke up at 8 am Thursday morning, checked the Nova Scotia rare bird alert, and noticed it was still being seen. I checked the weather forecast, and noticed that the weather was supposed to be rainy for the next day there, so I thought to myself, if I were a Little Egret I wouldn’t want to fly away until the weather clears. I had to believe this.
I was in the car by 9 am and on my way to the Atlantic Ocean. I made one quick stop along the 401 to try for the Snowy Egret that was reported earlier in the morning. No luck. Was this a sign of things to come?
To make matters more frustrating, a Violet-green Swallow was being seen in Ottawa. Did I want to risk another sidetrip? I decided to drive onwards, knowing that I will see oodles of these nice swallows on my next trip out to the other side of the country. And besides, if it was still being seen in a few days, I could try for it on my way home. I really just wanted to get to Nova Scotia!
The drive was pretty uneventful, but much more pleasant than my snowstorm nightmare of a drive through the east in January. It was all clear skies, and with CBC talk radio on in the background I was pretty content. The avian highlight was a small flock of Snow Geese near Quebec City.
I made it to northern New Brunswick before fatigue set in. I checked into a hotel and took a short (but amazing) 5 hour nap, and was back on the road by 6 am.
I headed straight for Dartmouth (across from Halifax) and immediately drove to the pond where the Little Egret had been reported yesterday. I was actually at this very same pond in January, where I added Black-headed Gull to my Big Year list.
I forgot to mention the best part. Much like my previous visit here, the weather was once again cold, windy and rainy. I’ve never seen the sun shine in Halifax (0 for 3). Perhaps this was why there were no other birders or cars here looking at this rarity. Actually there were no birds to look at, except for a single Mallard, and an overly enthusiastic Song Sparrow.
I dragged myself out of the car, binoculars in hand, and walked over to the little platform. Nothing…except for a LITTLE EGRET snacking on a minnow not too far off to my left. YES! A mere 28 hours after leaving southern Ontario, I was staring at an amazing bird that I had not anticipated on seeing in Canada this year.
Photos: LITTLE EGRET!
I managed to take a few bad photos with my camera, and some slightly better ones with my I-Phone put up to my scope. I am really starting to like this technique!
SO, mission accomplished (thanks for the idea, Jeremy!). I am going to try and pick off a few more species tomorrow morning as I make my way back to Ontario. I will be coming back later in the breeding season, so anything I add tomorrow will just be a bonus.
LITTLE EGRET – # 207 for my Canada Big Year 🙂