search

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow and Habitat

I went out specifically looking for this species on this day. They are not particularly hard to find if you know the type of habitat they prefer. Typically this bird prefers salt marshes of which there are no shortage of in the Matthew's Lake area. During the breeding season they can be seen and heard singing from the highest point around which in a lot of areas is just the top of the highest stalk of marsh grass. In this case it was from the top of a stack of driftwood piled up as a makeshift blind by duck hunters. 

To be fair to other sparrows, the song - if you can call it that,  is more of a buzz than an actual melody. When they are not singing (or buzzing) you can often find them at the edges of the many little ponds similar to the ones pictured below looking for bugs. I was treated to an interesting sky at the end of the day which I hope was part of the reward for putting up with the hordes of mosquitoes that also prefer the same habitat. July 6, Matthew's Lake.





Monday, 26 June 2017

Red-eyed Vireo


It's not hard to tell from these photos why this bird is called a Red-eyed Vireo. They are more often heard than they are seen.  This species has a reputation for singing incessantly during the breeding season even during the middle of the day when many songbirds are silent. They can be hard to see once the trees are in full foliage since their olive green plumage blends in well with their habitat. So if you hear a bird singing non-stop in the trees near where you live consider the possibility it may be this one. Many people are familiar with the song of the American Robin - vireos have a similar repetitious song. June 4, East Jordan.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Bald Eagle in Flight




I haven't had a lot of luck getting shots of this species especially the adults. There aren't many outings where I don`t see one these days but getting close is another matter. 20 or 30 years ago it was a rare occurrence to see one, now they are commonplace to the detriment of other species in some cases, the Osprey being one since Bald Eagles will often usurp their nesting sites. May 31, East Jordan.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

A Few May Warblers





These are all photos shot in the last week of May close to home. Top to bottom they are male Magnolia Warbler, male Black and White, Palm Warbler ( sexes are identical), male Black-throated Blue Warbler, and another Magnolia Warbler. The last bird is likely a second year male since he lacks the stark black, white and grey facial pattern of the adult in the top photo. May 25- May 31.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Least Sandpiper



I don't often see these guys in the Spring possibly because I don't  go to the areas where they're most likely found. We don't get large numbers of shorebirds passing through until the "Fall" migration which for these birds begins around the first of July. There are only a handful of shorebirds that breed here including the ubiquitous Willet and the rare Piping Plover. Least Sandpipers are not on that list so this lone bird was likely headed to their breeding grounds much north of here. May 22, East Jordan.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Brier Island Highlights 2017


Another May in Nova Scotia has come and gone and with it, as in many recent years, has our annual trip to Brier Island. This year was a particularly good year both for birding and for weather, warm and dry for the first couple of days but then cooling down for the rest of our stay as winds shifted around to the north. It was the same crew as the previous year, Mark and Gretchen with daughter Lucy, Carmen and myself. 

I have several images to share so for the sake of clarity I decided to divide things up a bit and put things in an order that at least makes sense to me. I'm starting with orioles, one of the more colourful variety of birds that one is almost guaranteed to find on Brier in the Spring. This year besides the more common Baltimore Orioles there was also a female Orchard Oriole hanging out at a feeder in Westport. I also included a Male Scarlet Tanager since he was sharing spruce buds on a branch with an Oriole. Sharing might not be the right word to use since a fight ensued shortly after that picture was taken.

Orioles and Tanager




Female Orchard Oriole


The next few images are shots I thought might be of interest or shots of interesting birds starting with an Eastern Kingbird that had just caught a meal. This year there were several Kingbirds on the Island. The Dickcissel and Indigo Bunting were in the same tree near a feeder with a Blackburnian Warbler as an added distraction.  I didn't get a picture of the warbler although I found another one later in the trip. The Spotted Sandpiper was at Pond Cove and let me approach closer than I am normally able, I suspect because it had just been spooked by a Peregrine Falcon.

Eastern Kingbird , etc.






I knew there was at least one Mockingbird in town and I found one early one morning resting and preening in some shrubs.

Northern Mockingbird





The waxwings provided one of the best photo ops of the trip as a small flock fed on forsythia blossoms by the side of street.

Cedar Waxwings and Forsythia




Of course the warblers always provide some of the best highlights of a Spring trip to Brier Island. This year was no exception, there were numerous Bay-breasted, a few Cape Mays as well as the usual  American Redstarts, Yellow Warblers and Black-throated Green pictured here. The best bird for me of the trip was a Philadelphia Vireo which I saw on three separate occasions, presumably different individuals - two of which are seen in the following group of photos.  There were also two Warbling Vireos in the same tree in town that minutes earlier was hosting a Cerulean Warbler spotted by Brier Island's preeminent birder Eric Mills. Unfortunately I didn't arrive in time to find it. 


                                                                 Vireos and Warblers


Warbling Vireo






This was the first time Carmen and I stayed three nights on Brier and so with the longer stay and the great weather along with the sharp eyes and ears of all the birders involved we tallied over 100 species. Some other birds of note but not pictured here were a pair of Great Egrets, a small flock of Boreal Chickadees, House Finches, Brown Thrasher and several Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Thanks again to everybody involved for making this year another one to remember.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Black and White and Northern Parula Warblers





A few May warblers all shot on the same day - May 14 here in East Jordan, NS. There was a pair of Black and White Warblers, (female- second from top) and at least one male Parula.  I believe the three shots of the Northern Parula are all of the same bird. The Parulas in particular had arrived in large numbers a couple of days previous to the day these pictures were taken,