Skewered

Here in Nova Scotia, life should be easy when dealing with skuas, we (mostly) get two – South Polar and Great. It wasn’t always so and it was really only in the mid-1980s that South Polar was realised to be the most likely skua to be encountered in our waters after a July record was sufficiently documented. That opened up all previous Great Skua records to natural debate. Establishing what species may be recorded is all well and good, but much skua identification is problematical and distant skuas may not always be attributable to a species. I would go further and say that this is a group where acceptable records are best validated by being documented with a decent photograph. I say this because, unfortunately, there is often contradictory information when it comes to identification of skuas and we do not yet fully understand skua plumages and biometrics well enough to make a fully accurate call for every individual seen without the luxury of taking a long, second look at digital images. Skuas can be the silent empids of the high seas!

You’d think that at least Great and Chilean Skua would be straightforward but the proclivity of the latter to interbreed with both South Polar and Brown Skua muddies the salty water. However, such individuals are probably rare enough within the main species’ breeding range as to be all but eliminated from our North Atlantic enquiries.  Brown Skua may be a different matter and our pelagic senses would do well to be tuned into the possibility that this brute of a sea bird could find its way north in season. But this is a ‘might be’ and even South Polar Skua summer movements are not well known enough to be confidently stated. The mystery of why they are so readily encountered and identified at sea off the eastern seaboard of North America, and yet Europe has yet to satisfactorily document one is interesting. South Polar Skua should be off the UK and Ireland in late summer, where it would be a minority amongst the masses of Great Skuas and therefore, to some extent, more obvious. Personally I suspect that the, at the time overly cautious approach to new species adopted by the UK birding authorities, has much to do with the absence of South Polar from their UK list, but eventually a boatload of enthusiasts will fill their collective SD cards with acceptable images, and then gloat.

To further make the point regarding the identification of South Polar versus Great Skua, where borderline individuals are involved, a South Polar Skua from the September-24 2016 Brier Island pelagic was only tentatively called in the field, rather we relied on critical examination of the adequate photographs taken at the time to make a confident ID, a reasonable degree of caution. Obviously this will not always be the case and some skuas can be confidently identified in the field, obvious South Polars do look different from obvious Greats, but there is a broad range in between.

The Aug-04 2017 Pubnico pelagic encountered two skuas, one a ‘standard’, if tatty looking, South Polar, the other was best described as ‘interesting’ in that, biometrically at least (big bill), it was different from what we expect of a Nova Scotia South Polar, and so the possibility that it was a Brown Skua was floated. Differences in bill size between sexes in birds is normal, but Pubnico Skua#2 clearly has a corker, whereas the messy first bird and the one off Brier in September 2015 are, to all biometric intents and purposes, identical. With such a bird as Skua#2, consultation with other birders is a given and any, all, experienced comment is invaluable. Fortunately there is a wealth of experience out there in the wider birding world and so questions were posed and answered. Skua#2 is a South Polar albeit with a large bill, however, there is value in understanding the second bird better.

Fortunately this bird was well documented and the available photographs made requesting input much easier than relying on potentially subjective descriptions. I am indebted to Klaus Malling Olsen, Paul Walbridge, Jeff Davies, Rohan Clarke and Dick Filby for agreeing to take a look at the photos and for offering sage advice when dealing with South Polar versus Brown Skua; I have taken the liberty of including their comments in the text. Many thanks also to Claude King for his generosity in allowing me to use his excellent and instructive photographs of Brown, South Polar and Chilean Skua November 2016. Bravo for the shot of all three together. Any other photos used are mine.

And now the images.

These three heads are all Nova Scotian records of South Polar Skua. The first is from the aforementioned Brier trip of 2016, the middle one the Pubnico #1 bird of 2017 and the other is ‘Big Nose’ himself. I think you can see the differences mentioned.

 

Here are more shots of the Brier bird showing why we wanted to look at images of it before confidently calling it a South Polar. The initial impression was that it may be a Great, then better views placed doubt in most minds.

 

For reference this is Pubnico bird #1; a messy creature for sure but very instructive and well seen. The sea was much more benign on that trip than on the Brier one.

 

Here are a few shots of Pubnico bird #2 ‘Big Nose’, the moulting 1st year South Polar Skua. The lack of projecting toes beyond the central retrices in flight are an immediate pointer to South Polar versus Brown. The plumage tones, although mixed due to various stages of moult and the lack of bulk are further South Polar indicators.

 

These are Brown Skuas from Antarctica, specifically Carcass Islands, the Falklands 22-Nov, 2016; and two images from Salisbury Plain, South Georgia on 26-28-Nov, 2016 respectively ©Claude King.

 

This is a South Polar Skua from the South Shetland Isles 03-Dec, 2016 ©Claude King.

 

This excellent photo shows well the basic differences between Brown, South Polar and Chilean Skuas, from the South Shetland Isles 03-Dec, 2016 ©Claude King.

 

To summarise, a skua species with a large looking bill and intriguing plumage was seen off south-western Nova Scotia on Aug-04, 2017. It was identified at the time as a South Polar Skua. On review the images and following comments from elsewhere, it was suggested that the possibility of Brown Skua (or Brown Skua influence)was worthy of investigation. Comments from seabird experts were sought and generously given, and South Polar Skua (1st year) was confirmed. Pelagic birding in Nova Scotia is really only in its infancy and we are always grateful when more experienced observers are willing to share their knowledge and improve ours, only through inquisitive investigation do we learn.

Advertisements

Anything About?

As a birder living on Cape Sable Island you sort of hope to have it covered, well at least a bit of it although, given that less than 5% has any access it probably is a stretch to use the word ‘covered’, more like lightly kissed, but we try. We do get to look at the main places regularly, such as Daniel’s Head, The Hawk and environs and a few spots besides, otherwise the rest of the island could be sheltering a thousand Connecticut Warblers and nobody but they would know it. My personal coverage might be generously called normal, although some may say obsessive. In 2018 I’ve managed to put in 351 checklists, an average of 2.27 a day, see, quite normal when viewed like that, just ignore the days ‘off-island’ please, pretty please.

My over 500 Nova Scotia checklists so far this year are part of my consecutive streak of 712 days of checklists according to eBird, I checked back to see why there were gaps, naturally, and found the comments ‘quiet’, on the absent days so I did go out birding but the trip was ‘unbookable’, nothing of value for a checklist. I mention all of this so you can see that I am trying! I say trying in the effort sense and not getting under your skin although I’ll hold my hands up to that one from time to time too, so you see, although it is great to see the birds it is another component in this strange birding year of mine when they are found by someone else.

Finding a bird is one of the many pleasures birding has to offer. Not necessarily the kudos of finding it but the personal gratification of seeing and identifying the rare/scarce bird yourself, then sharing it of course. Although their numbers are few here, I don’t get those people who show up at other peoples’ rarities but don’t share their own. We all suffer them, some make excuses for them, but we all know who and what they are and they are barely worth a mention.

Generally I have done ok, I tend wear the birds down by attrition so they give up and I don’t have very many fly-bys so I get to share the majority. This year, for reasons I cannot put my finger on, it is not happening for me. I could list a list but I won’t because the year could easily turn, especially with living and birding on Cape Sable Island, but for the present the rarities that are appearing here are not giving me the first bite.  On Jun-02, I sat in the fog on The Guzzle going through what was there and enjoying a family of Killdeer as the young, with adult legs and baby bodies, teetered all over the place and one of the adults stood in the middle of the occasionally busy road (nobody would say Killdeers were bright although compared to some US presidents…) calling. It was a grotty morning but the afternoon perked up without changing the avian mix. On June-03 Kathleen MacAulay (a very welcome addition to the southern NS resident birder ranks) visited CSI and found a Glossy Ibis on The Guzzle next to the very place I sat, illustrating perfectly how we island resident birders never quite have the place covered. 

The ibis was very welcome; we didn’t manage one last year at all after a glut in 2016. It fed quietly in the sheep fields on The Guzzle but was sporting a somewhat theatrical limp, which may give us a clue as to where else it has been prior.  The photos are not great, bordering doc-shot really.

 

Continuing the long-legged bird theme, Paul Gould found an obliging Green Heron in Lower Woods Harbour, or Upper or Middle, I’m never sure with that area. It fed alongside the busy road and many passing trucks were happy to slow down to pass us birders enjoying it, some even waved and tooted in approval.

 

Sandra and I had business in the big city (Yarmouth) and so took the chance to grill The Willows on Chebogue Point. Apart from this Eastern Wood-Pewee, which looked more interesting when viewed through foliage before showing better, it was quiet.

 

I float! Ever since we came here I have wanted a small boat. Our area is a mass of small islands, all readily explored by skiff and many unknown quantities when the birds arrive. Becoming sixty has its upside and so my gift on reaching that venerable age, something the males in my family have not shown a deal of promise in doing previously, was to get kitted out to float under my own steam so to speak. Nothing fancy was required, a small boat with a trailer and outboard big enough to make brisk passage where needed. Now I have a few of the legal things to sort out, trailer inspection, insurance cover etc. I have procured my Pleasure Craft Operators Licence, that is three hours of looking at the very obvious doing the on-line course I won’t get back. I actually only managed 92%, it was getting late and I’d had enough of yelling ‘it’s a skiff’ at the computer, I think Sandra had too!

My skiff, as yet unnamed. Not sure how the old fella wandered into shot, I’m sure I’m taller with darker hair!

Incidentally, Sandra has a new blog, not an arty one but a writing and photos one. Go to https://sanonthelam.Wordpress.com I like it already.

After five years of heavy birding with them my Swarovskis have developed a fault. It did not affect the image but, if I venture into the tropics (or hit warm water on a pelagic!) they might fog in one eye, so they have gone in for repair. I hear only good things about the Swarovski repair shop but I will be counting the days until they come home to me. Meanwhile I am using Sandra’s old Zeiss Victory bins. Not quite roughing it but not my ‘Swaros’ either (still, my next screw-up can be blamed on something else now, when/if it happens!).

The murky line around the periphery of the lens is not a regular feature of Swarovski binoculars.

On This Day

Back in 2015 on this day, May, 27, Sandra and I awoke early and started a long day of packing. The removal truck arrived around 08:00 and I spoke to the person in charge, telling him we had a big drive to Nova Scotia ahead of us and would appreciate a speedy pack, and that there would be a substantial thank you in untaxed dollars, if they got stuck in. Nine hours, endless smoke breaks (from them) and a one and a half hour lunch later and the truck rolled off our now ex drive and we were on our way. I hope the pox we cursed them with still blights their petty little lives.

My van housed the terrified and vocal cats and had a mattress strapped to the roof. Both cars were packed with the stuff we needed or did not trust the movers with, we should have hired a U-Haul! After a few kilometers it became clear that the mattress had no intention of remaining in situ, what to do? Find a skip, try to stuff it into a gas station bin? No, we scrunched it up really tight and forced it into the gaps we thought we’d filled in the van and continued. As darkness fell and we ran on adrenaline, two deer bolted from the highway verge missing the van hood by inches. A fully grown White-tailed Deer meeting the van going at 100kmph would not have helped!

We grabbed a few restless hours doze once out of Quebec and pressed on along the endless New Brunswick highway until at last, Nova Scotia welcomed us home via a large highway sign. We had to keep stopping to stretch and doze, and Sandra has the median rumble strips to thank for waking her up at a crucial moment and preventing her from becoming a highway 103 statistic, then we arrived. It was beautifully sunny and warm, the house was filthy, the bed had to be constructed and the cats ferried inside but we were home after around 24 hours on the road and without real sleep for much longer. Stepping out of the van onto our new drive Yellow Warblers sang from our yard, a Baltimore Oriole was in our Apple Tree, NS ticks both and so started the best phase of our lives.

I like to commemorate our arrival in wonderful Nova Scotia, it is worth commemorating as it is where we will live until we die and we couldn’t be happier.

The end of May always feels like we have missed something, the migration we eagerly awaited has come and largely gone as the woods ring to warbler song. There is not too much filling in to do now. Nelson’s Sparrows are usually later arrivals. The odd straggler heading far north might stop by if the weather forces it to and a few shorebirds will appear, but that is it. Now we have the unpredictability of rare overshoots from practically anywhere and the remote possibility that we have screwed the planet enough for a June Hurricane (and a reasonably accurate one if we have to have one at all please!). Lists that look anorexic in late mid-April now are well-fleshed out; leaving gaps that only autumn can attend to. We can calm down a bit, just a bit, and perhaps do a few of those little jobs that always get held up during migration season, yard clearing, house fixing, burying relatives and the like.

My focus for the next few months will be dragonflies and butterflies (and, yes Sandra, doing the windows we have stacked in the basement). I will also meet many Blackflies, Mosquitoes and ticks, the latter really are the least welcome insect group encountered. My dragonfly blog has its first post of the year and I hope to be able to do a few more than last year, but you never know. My bird year list won’t see too much activity, 203 now, I’d be surprised if it nudged more than 210 by the end of June. On Cape Sable Island I have 158 but acres of gaps and, as we are effectively out of province throughout September, I don’t expect to fill some of those gaps at all. Enough blurb, here are a few photos.

A sit by the willows at Chebogue Point gave us a good opportunity to watch Alder Flycatcher, Bay-breasted Warbler and Swainson’s Thrush.

Wentworth Lake Road is a reliable spot for Olive-sided Flycatcher.

Two different Least Flycatchers from Daniel’s Head, CSI.

An Olive-sided Flycatcher was only the second ever in the yard, brief and distant though. This male Ruby-throated Hummingbird has his feeder staked out and defends it from all comers. We added Nashville Warbler to our yard list this late May, no photo though.

Thanks for reading.

Bit of a Warbler Day

Mike, Ronnie, Ervin and I went to The Cape today, Monday 21-May, 2018. It was a beautiful day and the initial birding seemed to suggest that the birds had also taken advantage of the conditions and were passing high overhead. Arriving at The Forest where the new planting appears to be thriving, we settled in and were soon watching American Redstart, Blackpoll Warbler and Magnolia Warbler. Later a couple of Nashville Warblers showed up and a Common Yellowthroat.

With Warren willing, we headed over to Flat Island and the possibility of more of the same plus, there are more trees there so more natural cover. It turned out to be a good plan as the line of Spruces were busy with warblers feeding up having recently arrived. Nothing rare was seen but it just showed how important a bit of attractive cover is and how much easier it is to sift through a relatively small area and get results, you wonder just how many birds were spread out around southern Nova Scotia.

Later Sandra and I managed to see Blackburnian and Canada Warbler on The Hawk. The warbler list for the day was Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ovenbird, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Canada Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, American Redstart, Black-and-White Warbler, Common Yellowthroat. Oddly, no parula!

Rain Stops Play

Today, 20-May, 2018 is a wet day. We have to have them, otherwise it is dry, so that is that all cleared up nicely. We are quite happy with a bit of rain in our yard as our new planting benefits and it puts some water into the pond, a pond which is not holding water as well as hoped and so may just be seasonal, or at least dependant on regular filling from above. What the rain also does is slow the birding, well I suppose something has to. We still have more spring migration to look forwards to, indeed, tomorrow may be quite good as all the damp birds that came on the eve of the storm, feed up and show before continuing on their merry way. The last ten days of May tends to see gaps being filled by the later arrivals, the pattern is well established, then we hit the first two weeks June that often promise good rarities. Sometimes promise is all we get, other times our wishes are fulfilled and some hapless vagrant will be enjoyed by all before flying off into the sea to die.

Our fare on Cape Sable Island has been a trickle feed, nice birds some days, quiet on others. This is very in-keeping with the year as a whole so far but sometimes it is like that and you have to learn to accept the highs and the lows with as much good grace as you can muster, unless it is a Kelp Gull, southern bastard that it was unless it comes back to be seen at some point when it is a jolly good fellow.

The Hawk on Cape Sable Island has had a few good birds although they have not always been cooperative. Recently Johnny and Sandra found a couple of Bobolinks down there and, after seeing them Sandra (mine, so technically Sandra#1) found a Canada Warbler in roughly the same area. I got a view, brief as always and something that species specialises in, but Mike, just the wrong side of the tree, missed it and it never popped up again. Birds down there, especially the warblers, seem to melt away and are often only seen once or twice during their residency.

 

The same area also had its third Scarlet Tanager of the spring, this one a green female. When you consider the size of CSI, we could host a hundred tanagers and you might only see one or two.

 

Shorebird migration has been fairly flat, no Semipalmated anything that I have seen and only on Least Sandpiper so far. There has been a group of Short-billed Dowitchers that we have to keep adding to eBird as a rarity, despite their occurring every spring in small numbers. Odd we can just check American Oystercatcher on a submission but have to add other species, those filters need to be even more specific and, hopefully, that will eventually come.

Often it is necessarily to travel a bit to see some species. We don’t seem to have the habitats that hold Sora or Virginia Rail in Shelburne County and the only way to see them in Yarmouth appears to be by boat. Last year Mike and I survived a kayak trip on Goose Creek but I won’t be doing that again so perhaps Virginia Rail will remain a gap this year. Sora is different and Ronnie and I had a few at French Basin Trail in Annapolis Royal and also at Belleisle Marsh and tick reserve. At French Basin the tiny Soras were vocal everywhere and even showy at times.

We also saw quite a few Northern Shovelers, the males at French Basin seemingly limited to just one tired looking female. At least once she has completed her clutch she can have a nice sit down for a while!

 

Hoping to see a recent Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in the Thomasville area I checked the bushes that represent the first cover off the sea at Baccaro. There were a few birds but the people in the house next to the scrub seem to have acquired a noisy dog. The dog doesn’t know any better of course, but where is the app that the dog can use to send a silent signal home telling the people inside that someone is within 400m of their property, thereby relieving the dog of having to do all that barking nonsense, freeing up time to let it get on with licking its balls?

This summer I’ll be odeing again, that is looking for dragonflies and writing about them. So far nothing much to report, we don’t seem to have kicked off the season down here yet, I sit with a year list of one, Eastern Forktail. If you are interested in this stuff, check out the dragonfly blog from time to time, link on the side bar.

Learning Season

Here we go again then, there is the unfamiliar, tinny song somewhere in a distant tree top, heard via bionic ears so sounding different from real life, i.e., as on the app! Every year I have to relearn some of the warbler songs because some just don’t stick. The main irritant is American Redstart, a species that can sound like various things and it seems that the first one of the season always has an extra bit to the song, a bit not present on the app, so it has to be dug out before being sworn at, still, I wouldn’t change a thing, I rather like the learning season.

Thankfully there are a few buzzy ones which are fairly easy to recall, usually. One unexpected buzzy one was found by Sharron and Ronnie d’Entremont recently on the Clyde River Road. This lengthy route into the hinterland has most of the regular warblers that we get in southern NS, probably it has all of them, singing out there but only found if we get off the road and explore the ATV tracks. As it is, the buzzer that the keen ears of Sharron picked out belonged to a Blue-winged Warbler, something of a prize in warbler terms and perhaps more expected as a rare coastal migrant rather than so relatively far inland as Clyde River. Even I could hear it with the hearing aids on maximum gain and it being ten feet away, I also got a few ropey photos when it wasn’t ten feet away plus a recording which can be heard on the eBird checklist, follow the link to have a listen.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45634991

Since we last spoke I’ve been to The Cape a couple of times but without really seeing much, some days are good, some not so. On the last trip Warren took us out first to Green Island, just off The Cape but far enough away to be worth a separate visit as it holds our local Atlantic Puffins. We were not disappointed, seeing around 20 plus a bunch of both Arctic and Common Terns and loads of smart Black Guillemots. It occurs that, with so many idle Lobster boats in the locale surely someone might fancy running summer sea bird trips on suitable days. You might not make what you get hauling Lobsters but it would attract tourists to Cape Sable Island and, with a little luck, they’d go away marvelling at the Puffins, seabirds and maybe even Harbour Porpoise. If you read this, see the opportunity and you need an onboard guide, I’m your man.

After Green Island we dropped into Flat Island for a quick look. Warren had seen a bird a few days prior that could only be a plegadis ibis on this very spot but we saw no sign. Johnny Nickerson has been telling us to get our sorry asses on there for warblers for some time, well Johnny, we will now we’ve added it to Mike and my collective experience although Ronnie had been there before.

The Hawk, as ever, has produced a few good CSI birds recently. A couple of smart Scarlet Tanagers were around for a few days, joined quite briefly by a Red-bellied Woodpecker. It was déja vu as the same combination, but unlikely the same individuals, were at the same place around the same time last year.

 

Slowly the woods are filling with birds. I tend to think of the process for CSI as back-filling. We are only able to provide marginal habitat for many birds and, judging by the frequent new builds, are going to get even more marginal. As the optimal habitats fill up so the birds with less vigour for hitting the best spots wind up on CSI. Not exactly second best just that we can’t all live in the best spots as such. Here are a few of the new arrivals.

 

Each day at the moment seems to be filled with activity and field days that had intended to be a few morning hours have a habit of swelling to a full day. Such it was when Alix found a Blue-grey Gnatcatcher at Pubnico Point Road. Oddly enough, on 13-May, 207 Alix, Mike and I were on not os far away Bon Portage and you can guess what we found! Gnatcatcher is generally scarce in Nova Scotia with typically three to six records per year so a good bird to divert for. Pity this year’s chose to look away at just the wrong time!

 

In year list terms, that is the list of birds I’ve seen so far this year and not a list made up of birds chased for a list for the year that I am not doing, it is plodding along nicely. I suspect 200 may be in close proximity by the end of May, on CSI, after a slow start I have 142 with some notable absentees.  

 

Finally, a word on eBird. They have done some messing around with a few bits, looks ok but it is time spent in an area that was already ok. The fixes many have been waiting for, especially the marking of recorded escapes so that they don’t get included in your list totals have been known for a long while but are not yet addressed. Also there is the need to be able to select more than one Hotspot when viewing data. On CSI some people use only the Cape Sable Island Hotspot when we have them at all of the main places, subsequently the overview of species recorded at a site like CSI is rather a mess. I’d also like to see Top 100s update automatically post checklist submission, then re-adjust post validation and I’d like to see a list that does not show publically, invalidated species on individual Top 100 lists. That, and the inevitable consequences would however require eBird to ‘grow a pair’ as the vernacular has it!

They should also stop people entering entire counties or multiple unrelated sites such as state parks as single local patches. The best way would be to write to the miscreants involved although a sturdy 3×2 bearing the message, swung firm and true might have more resonance.

Various and Miscellaneous

It is always the same at this time of year, the spring rush keeps you outside, away from the keyboard and the photos pile up. To illustrate this, my April species total was 124, by May-05 I’d seen 126 species. Busy, busy. The wow thing I didn’t see was the Golden Eagle picked up paddling off Seal Island, a young bird and no doubt one heading north but eased out over the water by the strong south-westerlies. It was found and rescued by Lobstermen and is in care for a few weeks before release, probably straight out the back door of the wildlife rescue place. If so, it will soon come into play as a Nova Scotia tick. I’m not sure what the ABA rules are (or care) but once it is wild again it is fair game, as are any Hares in the area.

Regular readers will know that my birding year has been a bit eclectic so far, some I have seen, most I have missed. To illustrate this take a recent Cape Forchu Wood Thrush. Had we bolted for the door after the message from Alix we would have heard it, it never showed. We didn’t, we ate our supper and then went. Had we been there just after dawn the next day we’d have heard it, we didn’t, we had breakfast at a leisurely pace and missed it and, to add insult to mild contusion, Sandra and I were sat in the car, she saw one of the two Eastern Towhees around, I didn’t, then Mike had one calling and showing right up to the point our car appeared on the horizon, when it shut up forever.

When you have been birding a while, you learn take these ups and downs in your stride but not necessarily with good grace, screw that. If the situation continues for the next ten years I may just slow down (a bit), but for now I’ll smile my Benzadrine smile when I dip, and hold back the whoops and hollers when I score, we Brits are not very good at whooping and hollering externally, but inside…

And so to some photos. Spring for me is when the Willety buggers are yawping over the front garden. I never tire of it, no matter what time the clock face hints at and I miss them when they shut up. Willet is a great shorebird and we are lucky to enjoy them annually, here is a ton of photos from Drinking Brook Park on Cape Sable Island where a menàge a trois was resolving into a menàge a deux.

Jerome d’Eon found this Eurasian Wigeon at Goose Creek, or tick central as we tend to think of it, the bird was never very close (no really!). By the way, there is no D in the middle of Wigeon, there once was but not any more so, if you are tempted to add a D where there shouldn’t be one, please think again as it is a sign of stupidity.

Over the weekend of May5th-6th we had a few of the scarcer sparrows around CSI. Fields, Clay-coloured (found by Sandra MacDonald) and Field (found by Blaine and Amber MacDonald) pus a few scarce, but not rare migrants in roughly the same period.

One afternoon while sat by the willows at Chebogue Point (not seeing a White-eyed Vireo) and around the yards at the end we enjoyed some active migration.

Above, Orange-crowned Warbler, below Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Ronnie and I went to the French Basin Trail in Annapolis Royal. Nothing rare but always it is pleasant to go there.

Normally your first tern on CSI is a Common Tern, so it was quite a surprise when this Roseate at Drinking Brook Park (but perhaps in the Baccaro postcode) popped up.

Down in Clark’s Harbour we were alerted to the presence of a Scarlet Tanager. It was elusive at times but welcome, as they always are.

Ruffed Grouse at the end of Roberts Island.

A nice sub-rarity on Stoney Island was this distant Orchard Oriole.

No Purple Martins on SI yet, we generally get a few, but not so far away in Woods Harbour, Laurel found a couple.

Magnolia Warbler on CSI, 07-May, I’d say Magnificent Warbler would be more accurate.

From a long way away this gull looked more interesting that it was, size illusion was a factor (look it up).

While doing pond work, I was surprised to see two accipiters displaying out back, Northern Goshawk, not seen since.

We’re done here.