Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Brier Island Highlights - May 2016

2016 turned out to be a good year for our annual May birding trip to Brier Island. I think we recorded the largest number of species this year as well as some interesting sightings including one lifer for me. More on that later.  There were the expected birds as well and some regulars that failed to show.
 One of the regulars being Gray Catbird, this was the first time I've witnessed them eating spruce buds. One not so regular is the Bobolink which we found in numbers including one group of three males and one female and this lone male which could have been part of that group.

 There was a variety of Vireos to be found including this Yellow-throated Vireo which was probably my favourite bird of the trip. Although I've seen them in the past this was the first one for me in many years.

 There were a few Blue-Headed Vireos which I haven't had much luck photographing in the past and at least one Warbling Vireo which I had seen only once before - two years ago on Brier.

Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
 This year was especially good for warblers, I'm just a little disappointed I wasn't able to get better photos of some of the more uncommon ones.
Magnolia Warbler

Northern Parula

Black-throated Green Warbler

Rounding things out here are a few more of the trip highlights. Clockwise from bottom left. Baltimore Oriole (always many to be found), Bank Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Baybreasted Warbler, Red-necked Phalarope and the lifer for me - Worm-eating Warbler. Luckily we all got to see that bird. May 16-18.

Thanks to Mark, Gretchen, Carmen and Lucy for all the good food and great company. Looking forward to doing it all again in 2017.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Hairy Woodpecker Pair

The male Hairy Woodpecker in the top photo is almost like a pet at this stage. Although I'm no longer feeding the birds during the summer months, on the day these shots were taken I still was. On days that he knew I was around he'd follow me or try to get my attention by flying at a window until I put out the suet. Two years ago he and possibly another female nested in the maple beside my house. The female in this shot I assume is his current mate and I suspect they nested somewhere nearby. I hope to see him again this Fall when I start feeding the birds again. May 2, East Jordan NS.

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler

Just a shot on a day of doing other things (working) rather than birding. Sometimes it just too hard to pass up on an opportunity for a photo. May 2, Lockeport NS.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Ring-necked Ducks

This was the largest group of Ring-necks I had seen for a while. 8 birds in total, 7 drakes and one hen. April 24 at the Ducks Unlimited Dam at the head of Little Harbour road. I'm now caught up on pictures for the month of April.

Cedar Waxwings

 I went to the same location on April 24 where I had previously seen Bohemian Waxwings and discovered a large flock of Waxwings again. Surprisingly they were all Cedar Waxwings and there wasn't a Bohemian to be found. Hemeon's Head, NS

Great Horned Owl

These are shots of the same bird taken a few minutes apart on April 22. I haven't been as lucky with this species in the past.

Swamp Sparrow

While I had seen one or two previously in the month of April this one was hanging out underneath my bird feeder on the evening of April 21. East Jordan, NS

Green-winged Teal - Drake

I've been seeing at least one breeding pair of Green-winged Teal in recent weeks at Hemeon's Head. The pictures I've gotten so far haven't been that great so I'm posting these from May of last year. I'm not sure why these didn't get posted earlier, maybe because I didn't get the hen in the shot as well.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Northern Gannet

 I wasn't looking for Gannets on April 18 at East Ragged Island but that's what I found. Hundreds passing by in a steady stream flying west to east and I guess eventually north to their breeding colonies. Eventually I had to give up shooting or be stranded by the rising tide. I also found a few Purple Sandpipers and Harlequin Ducks.

Great Blue Heron

One of my first sightings of an adult Great Blue Heron for the year. There was still a juvenile in the area in the last few weeks before I found this bird on April 17.  I would like to have been able to take a few more candid shots but they have great eyesight and decided I wasn't great company. Hemeon's Head, NS.

Piping Plover

This was the first Piping Plover of the year for me.  April 13, Black Rock Beach. I took a low profile and waited until the bird approached me. Thankfully he/she wasn't particularly bothered by my presence.