Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Common Yellowthroat

Another bird from the walk on the trail from the previous post. I neglected to give the location. This was in West Head, Shelburne Co.  This bird appeared to have just taken a bath or had gotten wet somehow. It's plumage was somewhat matted.

Swainson's Thrush

I found this bird on a trail where it was moving ahead of me on the ground and occasionally disappearing into the alders on the sides before reappearing. The first thing I noticed was the eye ring and I wasn't entirely sure what it was until I got a better look. It was being harassed by a Hermit Thrush and the assumption I made was that this bird was a newly arrived migrant while the Hermit had already established it's territory since they generally arrive earlier in the Spring. This was on the 30th of May. We had previously seen some Swainson's a few days earlier on the way to Brier Island that appeared to have just arrived in the area we were passing through. The bird in the photos didn't move between shots, maybe a little puzzled by my strange behaviour and the sound of the shutter.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Brier Island - Spring 2019

We did our annual May trip to Brier Island this year on the weekend of the 24th -26th. Two nights of camping, two travel days where it rained for most of the day and one glorious Saturday of sunshine and birds. It was the usual crew - Gretchen, Lucy, Mark, Carmen and myself and knowing I can only speak for myself it was a great time despite the mud.

When the sun came up Saturday morning it was obvious there had been birds moving in during the night. There were many warblers, the most numerous seemed to be Chestnut-sided, lots of Catbirds who were in full song mode along with the Common Yellowthroats. There were several Wilson's Warblers  although I failed to get an image I was happy with,  many Black-throated Green Warblers, Redstarts and Northern Parulas. All told I think we had 16 species of warblers for the trip, the highlight for me being a Tennessee, a bird I hadn't seen for several years.

Sunday was another rain day although the weather co-operated enough that it didn't rain at all during the night and although I didn't take an early morning walk, Mark was able to get out before the skies opened up. Things were a little less wet in the afternoon and I was able to take photos of White-winged Crossbills feeding on spruce cones at eye level.  I made the mistake of putting my camera away to avoid getting it wet when we found one of the best birds of the trip - a Yellow-throated Vireo. I'm still regretting that decision. Coincidentally it was in the same location we found one in 2016.

On the way to the island we happened on a nice birding area where we found an oriole and 4 species of swallows. We liked the spot enough that we revisited it on the way home where I took photos of  Red-winged Blackbirds and a pair of nesting Killdeer. I don't know whether the Killdeer was doing the broken-wing act or just pointing me in the right direction, which incidentally was back down the walking trail we had come in on. Either way I decided it was probably time to head back since Carmen had preceded me back to the vehicle in anticipation of the rest of the trip home.  I'm already looking  forward to doing it again in 2020.

                                                                                           Gray Catbird
                                                                                                Common Yellowthroat

                                                                             Chestnut-sided Warbler
                                                                                  Black-throated Green Warbler - Female

                                                                                      Chestnut-sided Warbler

                                                                           White-winged Crossbill

                                                                              Red-winged Blackbird


Thursday, 4 July 2019


I haven't tried to decipher whether there are two different birds in these photos, all I know is that when I was taking these shots there were two birds competing for the same nesting location. I watched for over an hour as they chased each other round and round in a small area not more than twenty yards on a side. They only paused for a few moments to belt out their song, repeating the same ritual every minute or so. This went on for at least a couple of hours after I gave up taking images. Eventually I guess one bird won out since there has only been one male bird in the area since and I assume he found a mate. May 19, 2019.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - female

One of the first hummingbirds for the year, May 17, East Jordan NS. They seemed to arrive a little late this year, no doubt affected by the cold, wet Spring we had. At times there have been at least 4 birds attending the feeder in the weeks since, two males and two females. The males always seem to disappear once nesting starts, I haven't seen one in a week or more.  The last time one was doing his courtship ritual in the yard, flying pendulum style back and forth while being watched by the resident females or so I surmised.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Black Duck

I thought this bird was going to swim past but it had other ideas. I was lucky the camera focus nailed the head in the flight shot. I only noticed later in processing the photo that this was a banded bird.

Double-crested Cormorants

A few photos from the last couple of months beginning with a shot at sunrise shortly after these birds began arriving back in early April.

Cormorant at Sunrise.

Landing gear deployed.

Catching a snack.

Fish down the hatch.

Ready for takeoff. 

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Green-winged Teal pair

Green-winged Teal are the most common of our two regular Teal species. They generally nest in the area where I do a lot of my birding, that being the Hemeon Head, Matthew's Lake region. These two birds paired off in late April and were frequently in the same pond from that time forward. I haven't checked on them lately, these images are from May 5.

Canada Goose

Seems like there are more breeding pairs of Canada Geese in the area in recent years. This was one of a pair that may or may not be nesting near one of the local ponds. These images were taken on the last day of April.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Blue Grosbeak

Picture taken on the same day and roughly the same area as the previous Snowy Egret images. Both birds were a surprise.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Snowy Egret

I believe these are the first images of a Snowy Egret I've posted on this blog. They are fairly rare but regular here and I've never had much luck getting close before. This bird was a little more co-operative although I find myself in these situations wishing for a longer lens. These were taken on April 28 in Little Harbour NS. Since this is now the end of May I'm only a month behind in my posting.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Ring-necked Ducks - Pair

I was looking for Wood ducks having seen a pair the previous night on my drive home. Instead I was treated to these birds although I had to wait awhile for them to come close enough to photograph. You can just make out the reddish ring on the male which gives the bird its name.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Great Blue Heron - Portrait and Fishing Images

Before I found this bird or should I say it found me,  I had only seen one migrant Great Blue this Spring. I was at a location I had had luck photographing them in the past but was only hoping and not really expecting to have any success on this day. After it flew in, which I failed to witness, it took awhile for the bird to settle in and start feeding but it stayed the better part of an hour while I watched and took many pictures. April 14, 2019.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Last of the Snow Day Images

I need to post these before it's full on Summer. It still feels a bit like Winter at times, there have been some frosty mornings lately. April 8, 2019.