Update # 2 – So much great birding!

It’s been an insane past few weeks, so it is time for me to update what has been going on…

The end of July…

After returning to Ontario I spent a few days unwinding from my several weeks away. I did a little banding at Ruthven, and even added a new bird for my year. After missing them in the spring, I was glad to finally add YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS.

I tried unsuccessfully for a few other local species, but I was able to add SANDERLING in Leamington at the beginning of August, after also missing them in the spring.

It was then time to hit the road for another shorter road trip to the Maritimes! It wasn’t just a birding trip, as I was heading there with my non-birding cousin. I just planned to add a few birding adventures along the way.

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Photos: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick & Wood Islands, PEI

My first new bird came in the form of calling NELSON’S SPARROWS in the marshes of Mary’s Point, New Brunswick. My cousin was wondering what was making the “hissing cat” noise from the cattails, so now she knows! They are funny sounding birds. This is also an important shorebird staging area in the Bay of Fundy, but while we were there were only a few Semipalmated Plovers on the beach.

A visit to Prince Edward Island National Park did not produce the Piping Plovers that I was hoping for, but there were good numbers of other common species of shorebirds nearby. The ferry from Wood Islands, PEI to Caribou, NS didn’t produce any new pelagic species, but a few Northern Gannets and a Black Guillemot was nice. We also saw several Harbour Porpoise, several seals, and a large whale sp.

Nova Scotia was very good on the birding front.  On August 8 we took a drive over to Cape Sable Island, where I was able to add WHIMBREL, RUDDY TURNSTONE and PIPING PLOVER (3 birds) for the year. These were my first Piping Plovers in Canada!

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Photo: Piping Plover!

A visit to Hawk Point was really good. There were a few thousand shorebirds feeding on the mudflats and sandbars and beaches during low tide. Unfortunately the lighting was not great, and there were a lot of heat waves distorting my viewing abilities. I was able to find 3 HUDSONIAN GODWITS, as well as my main target, 2 AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS. I had been scanning the birds for about an hour before they flew in, so I was glad I stuck around! There were several terns flying about and resting in the distance, but the conditions were not good enough for me to make any of them into a Roseate Tern, so that will likely be a missed species for me this year. Oh well, can’t get them all!

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Photo: American Oystercatcher (photo taken with BBerry through scope)

August 9, 2013

This was a good day for me. After spending the night in Digby, NS we boarded the ferry to Saint John, NB. It is about a 3 hour ride across the Bay of Fundy. The conditions were overcast, light rain and some dense fog at times. Thankfully it was still pretty warm, so I was able to spend the entire trip on the upper deck scanning for pelagic species.

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Photos: Leaving the dock in Digby, Nova Scotia & my view from the boat

Once getting away from shore the birding started to get good. At first Northern Gannets dominated, with a few gulls mixed in, then the shearwaters started. I ended up seeing 75+ GREATER SHEARWATER, including many at very close range, as well as 10+ SOOTY SHEARWATER, and a single MANX SHEARWATER. My other highlight was a single ATLANTIC PUFFIN! It was just awesome.

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Photos (top to bottom): Northern Gannet, Greater Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Atlantic Puffin

In my week trip to the east coast I was able to add 10 more species, putting me at 360 species  for the year.

August 12 – Port Rowan

A quick stop by the sewage lagoons produced a single Stilt Sandpiper feeding with a bunch of other common species. # 361!

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About canadabigyear2013

I'm a lifelong birder and naturalist who is undertaking a Canada Big Year in 2013.
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