Saturday, 27 August 2011

Day one in Nova Scotia - now with photos

I'll add the photos to this post once I get back home (September 6 or so)

I had about 6 hours today to take the car and go birding by myself as Laura had to work at the rehab from 10 till 4:30 today. My route was from Lawrencetown beach west to the Eastern passage near Dartmouth, and back to Lawrencetown via some of the back roads along the coast near Cole Harbour. The Lawrencetown area was very productive and I found a Nelson's sparrow which was vocolizing. Tough to get a good view though! Also seen here were Short-billed Dowitchers, Eastern Willets, Semi-palmated Sandpipers and Plovers, Least Sandpipers, both Yellowlegs, and a Belted Kingfisher.


The rest of the day was spent touring the Eastern Passage area, though I didn't see much. I did get my first Nova Scotia Vesper Sparrow, great views of Osprey diving and catching flounder not 20 meters away, and multiple Northern Gannets. Of course a nice variety of shorebirds were present as well.

Osprey - Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

crab - Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

juvenile Semipalmated Plover - Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper - Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia

In Cow Bay I unexpectedly ran into a gentleman who introduced himself as Blake Maybank, one of Nova Scotia's top birders. It was really good chatting with him and he put me on a spot where he and his group had a Black-headed Gull earlier. While I was here I photographed a Common Eider that hauled itself onto a nearby rock. Common Eiders molt many of their flight feathers at one time, rendering them flightless for a time. Check out the crazy feather wear on this guy...

Common Eider - Cow Bay, Nova Scotia

I was running out of time so I checked out the Black-headed Gull spot at Rainbow Haven Provincial Park. I was surprised to find not one but two BHGUs! I had only previously seen this species once - a long distance view of one at Niagara Falls, so it was a nice opportunity to finally study this species up close. According to Blake, later in the fall at this location there are about equal numbers of Bonaparte's and Black-headed Gulls. On these birds, note the pale mantle, bright red bill, and large amount of black on the underside of the primaries to seperate it from the similar Bonaparte's Gull.

Black-headed Gull #1 - Rainbow Haven Provincial Park

Black-headed Gull #2 - Rainbow Haven Provincial Park

That's all for now. It looks like we will be going to Brier Island for some whale-watching. Apparently this is a really good place to do some sea-birding as well, with decent numbers of Great and Sooty Shearwaters, Wilson's Storm-petrels, both oceanic phalaropes, and the chance at Manx Shearwater, Northern Fulmar, Leach's Storm-petrel, etc. Should be fun!

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