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Northern Crescents and Trail Maps

There were some exceptionally heavy storms in this part of Quebec yesterday so we changed our usual “Wednesday Wander” in the Arboretum to a walk of equivalent distance along the riverside in Cap-St-Jacques - for the exercise and to see what was around. A couple of years ago I added a Guide to West Island Birding Sites to my small collection of free guidebooks. I think it is useful and lots of people have [...]

By | 2017-08-23T15:40:26+00:00 August 23rd, 2017|birds, butterflies, insects, trails|0 Comments

Grand Manan/Fundy 2017 – #6: Dawn light, Puffins, Seals and Turnstones

SO … Finally, the chapter you have all been waiting for. We’ve had Whales and Owls and scenic views and 30,000 Sandpipers but now, at last, we have PUFFINS. Very much the target species for quite a few of the group. You asked, and we deliver. This last day of the tour was a very early start … dawn was still breaking as the boat left the harbour (just feast [...]

By | 2017-08-18T22:10:57+00:00 August 18th, 2017|birding, birds, landscape, photography|3 Comments

Grand Manan/Fundy 2017 – #5: Burrowing Owl, Nelson’s Sparrow, a Forest, Indian Pipes & Misty Cliffs

This is the penultimate chapter in the account of island life. There will be a later addendum account of some interesting plants recorded, but for the birders and whalers we finish tomorrow with PUFFINS. Wednesday was a fascinating mix of good things, so there is a quite an eclectic mix here for you to enjoy. Stating with a visit to a saltmarsh reserve (Castalia Marsh) on the eastern shore of the island where a [...]

By | 2017-08-17T14:25:55+00:00 August 17th, 2017|birds, butterflies, flowers, landscape|1 Comment

Grand Manan/Fundy 2017 – #4: Seabirds, Whales (and Rick Mercer)

(The Puffins are coming - just not today.) This was a BIG day with lots happening. Tuesday had been forecast from a week beforehand to be wet - usually that means one of the days either side will be wet instead, but as the date approached it became clear rain really was in our future. The scheduled trip that day was to Machias Island for Puffins and Seals but fortunately Quest managed to renegotiate [...]

By | 2017-08-16T12:49:31+00:00 August 16th, 2017|birds, flowers, landscape|1 Comment

Grand Manan/Fundy 2017 – #3: Blacks Harbour and first seabirds

This is a shorter piece and a somewhat quieter day before we get to the half-day "pelagic" trip that I will recount - with many photographs - tomorrow. After that? We have a Burrowing Owl waiting for you ... yes, in New Brunswick! Stick with us. After the Sandpipers on Monday morning (see yesterday’s post) we passed a few hours in driving from the Moncton area down to St-John and beyond there to Black’s Harbour [...]

By | 2017-08-15T20:42:27+00:00 August 15th, 2017|birding, birds, flowers|0 Comments

Grand Manan/Fundy 2017 – #2: Sandpipers and Flowerpots and a Reversing River

If you are here for the Puffins, they will be appearing in considerable number (and in video) in the last post of this series :) ... but today we offer you spectacular video of 30,000 Sandpipers instead. The week started in Moncton and along the coast of the upper Fundy Bay - perhaps the muddiest place on the planet. Moncton is not a scenic city but it does have a very, very good seafood [...]

By | 2017-08-14T18:13:37+00:00 August 14th, 2017|birding, birds, summer|6 Comments

Grand Manan/Fundy 2017 – Prologue

Lots of Photographs, lots of birds and a few whales and butterflies. We have just returned from a stupendous week of (mostly) intensive birding plus a bit of botanising in the Bay of Fundy that produced some amazing photographic opportunities we would like to share with our friends.  Usually, after these trips we produce a lengthy “trip report” but, let's face it, they can be just a bit too long for some, otherwise interested, [...]

By | 2017-08-13T11:40:58+00:00 August 13th, 2017|birding, birds, butterflies, insects, landscape|6 Comments

On Not Dipping a Dipper (and finding a career)

It struck me some time ago that books by birders seem to be obliged to include a section about how the author got into birding in the first place … why should I be different? You always wanted to know this didn't you? Well ... My father and grandfather were both engineers. They understood science, and observation and the experimental processes but had little idea about matters biological that could be pursued in the fresh air. [...]

By | 2017-06-24T21:42:22+00:00 June 24th, 2017|birds|1 Comment

Good Neighbours?

We often have a tendency to believe that other species, and birds in particular, live lives of peace and goodwill to all other creatures. Quite unlike we wicked humans. Not so, not at all so. I happened upon the following account of the home life of Cliff Swallows while re-reading Colin Tudge’s excellent book, The Secret Life of Birds. Here is the real community spirit of our avian friends … (quote): The sexual and social [...]

By | 2017-08-12T17:43:43+00:00 June 14th, 2017|birds, books|0 Comments

Arboretum birding (with photographs)

Towards the end of April, Chris and led a birding field trip in the arboretum for members of Bird Protection Quebec that turned out to be stunningly successful with slightly over 50 species seen ... which for April, when the snows have barely departed, is exceptionally successful. Today we repeated the exercise for members of the Arboretum itself (we do this every year towards the end of May) timed to coincide reasonably well with peak [...]

By | 2017-08-12T17:45:12+00:00 May 27th, 2017|arboretum, birds|0 Comments