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, readers to really enjoy … so this year the trip report is going to be served up in discretely manageable segments over the coming days; each post concentrating on one day or theme.
And so … the visit was organised by Quest, the nature tour people we have travelled with several times before. It started with a day in the north of the Bay of Fundy primarily devoted to checking out the migratory gathering of something like half the world population of Semi-Palmated Sandpipers on the mudflats east of Moncton. For the rest of the week we relocated to the island of Grand Manan for the most wonderful birding we have enjoyed for some time – mostly, but not exclusively, seabirds but including some true rarities such as a very far from home Burrowing Owl on a salt marsh and a couple of tricky Sparrows … not to forget whales, of course.
BirdNerds Corner – the Bird Checklist … unexpectedly, I added six “lifers” to my personal list during the week, only one of which was truly anticipated, two were hoped for and two I know I had from long ago but eBird thinks otherwise.
Lifers: Black Scoter, Great Shearwater, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Leaches Storm-Petrel (that one I certainly had in Newfoundland a few years ago while on the ferry to Labrador), Red Phalarope and Burrowing Owl. Yes, a Burrowing Owl … but you will have to wait for a forthcoming post for details of such an unexpected bird.
The full list of 63 species: Canada Goose, American Black Duck, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Greater Scaup, Common Eider, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, Ruffed Grouse, Common Loon, Great Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, (Canadian list addition – lifer status was from the California coast), Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Northern Gannet, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Turkey Vulture, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Red Phalarope, Common Murre, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Atlantic Puffin, Bonaparte’s Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Rock Pigeon, Burrowing Owl, Merlin, Alder Flycatcher (in a thicket of Alders), American Crow, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Swainson’s Thrush, Gray Catbird, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Nelson’s Sparrow (my only previous encounter with this not-so-common bird was also in New Brunswick at the Parc National de Kouchibougouac back in 2002), Dark-eyed Junco, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow (a lifer for Canada – I had seen it before in Arizona though).
Anyway, this is a taster of good things to come – please look out for a short series of posts in the next few days or couple of weeks. We are sure that you will find them interesting and will certainly enjoy the photographs … of which, here are a few samplers to whet your appetite. There are also videos in store for you … the one of a swirling flight of a vast flock of thousands of Sandpipers will take your breath away.
(Click to enlarge)