Not posted for some time and for good reason, the title says it all. This is the traditional slump time with only the odd morsel to keep us going. For me it has been going through the gulls just about daily, I’m sure the fish plant thinks I am a spy or worse, a factory inspector!
There are a few things to tell you though. I have begun to get involved in the East Cape Sable Island Important Bird Area (IBA), basically Daniel’s Head through The Hawk. I took over as President recently, a grand title but you’ve got to be called something I suppose. I was asked if I had any ideas regarding projects in the IBA, I have so here they are.
We’d like a blind on Daniel’s Head, one side looking seaward, the other over the inlet. We’d like a fence on The Cape adjacent to, but not touching, the Lighthouse. The reason is simple; the light has a history of disorientating night migrants who, in some cases, fall to ground where gulls no doubt feast. When they were painting the light, the paraphernalia associated with the contractors offered migrants shelter. Our little fence would have shrubs inside and maybe a bench so that you can sit quietly and observe. The idea is that the birds fall, hide in the shrubs and the gulls take less of a toll. We’d like the two small tern colonies on The Cape and Green Island to have permanent signs advising visitors to keep out of the tern area between May-August. We’d like to run a Tree Swallow Program at two or more sites around the IBA. We’d like a few directional signs guiding people to the IBAs. Everything we are proposing is low impact and meant to be done in harmony with other area users and avoiding any conflict. I’ll report back as things happen, or not!
I also had a reply from Environment and Climate Change Canada re my questions regarding the hunting of wildfowl (ducks and geese) rare to Nova Scotia. Basically hunters can take all ducks and geese (except Harlequin), birders want rarities excluded from the bag, we have to make our case. Many hunters will appreciate how highly we value the lives of our rarities and they have no need to take them, there are enough common birds to complete their bags. Again we would be looking for a non-confrontational approach with the ‘accidental’ taking of rare wildfowl, if it happened, non-prosecutable. More on this challenge as it develops, I do have a purposeful blog post about the situation that is in prep (still!).
Today (Feb-18, 2019) was a rare snow day here in the Banana Belt. The winter has been pretty benign apart from winds, and the snow now falling will go in a few days. On the wharves, the gull numbers are starting to wind down a little, in part because the birds shift around a lot as they follow boats but also because they are now heading back north. No matter what that idiot rodent said, spring is just around the corner and the gulls know this. That does not mean we don’t have a certain amount of messy weather to come, this is the Maritimes after all, but we can now see ‘the winter hump’ in the rear view mirror receding slowly.
In the absence of much that is not larid to show you (another blog post in progress), I thought I’d stick a few yard birds up from today and the past week. I’ll caption as applicable otherwise I get complaints! The yard is buzzing along nicely for the year. The January stats were quite interesting, 46 species recorded, exactly the same as 2018 and 2017. We just passed 50 for the year, the February effect only offering four list additions, leaving us with perhaps four or five winter species to add before the first grackle and spring proper.