Monday, August 12, 2013

Nova Scotia - Day 1

I had meant to post an update before I left, but ended up being far too busy... Over the last week or so I've been finishing up at one job, preparing for the next, creating and entering >3600 checklists comprising ~12000 records for Algoma District Bird Records, and getting in some last bits of summer before fall hits. I arrived in Halifax last night, after three flights (via Toronto and Montreal), and minus one of my bags, which ended up in New Jersey somehow, but will be here tomorrow. I'm now in Wolfville, NS, and will be heading down to Bon Portage Island at some point this week, where I will be spending the next 2.5 months running the Atlantic Bird Observatory. I think it will be a great experience and I stand to add a few species to my life list (and Canada list) which is a bit of a bonus! This is also my first time in the Maritimes, so getting to see a new part of Canada is always nice.

As I had a bit of time today before and after work I wandered down to the Wolfville harbour, which at low tide was a giant mud pit loaded with shorebirds (this morning), and was a saltwater marsh with a few feet of rocky shoreline at high tide this afternoon. Fundy tides are crazy! The highlights were 9 White-rumped Sandpipers and an Eastern Willet, which I think is a new subspecies for me. I also had a male Ring-necked Pheasant wandering the street in front of the residence I'm staying at, which I thought was a bit odd but apparently they're pretty common around here.

If I have some time tomorrow I'll try to post a few photos. After that I am not sure when I'll have a solid internet connection again, but I will post in November when I'm off the island with some highlights and photos!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Willow Fly update + armchair lifer!

On Saturday I went out to Gros Cap with Ken, hoping that the NW winds would blow in a jaeger or a red-necked phalarope - that was not to be but we did have 79 Red-necked Grebes and 9 Common Loons migrating past. Perhaps they are failed breeders heading back early?

Afterwards we made a stop at the Locks to check in on the flycatchers and after a brief search we found one. But wait - that's a fledgeling!

After a few minutes of watching we eventually found 4 fledgelings semi-hidden in the shrubs, as the adults came in to escort them away from us!

There was also another bird 'whit'-ing further back, for a total of 7 (3 adults, 4 fledgelings). Nice definite confirmation of breeding!

On another note, the AOU has published its update for 2013 and I get an 'armchair' lifer as they split Bell's Sparrow and Sagebrush Sparrow (out of Sage Sparrow) - I saw Bell's Sparrow in California in 2005 and a number of Sagebrush Sparrows on our CA/AZ trip in 2011. Past lifers I've gotten in this way include Eurasian Wren, Pacific Wren, Mexican Whip-poor-will, Eurasian Magpie and Common Moorhen (maybe a few others, these are just off the top of my head).