Welcome relief

During our increasingly occasional visits to Halifax I’ve managed to miss Nova Scotia ticks Louisiana Waterthrush by three days and a Wood Thrush by one, something was bound to line up eventually and this past Tuesday (6/28) it did. Late news Monday was of a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, one of those flamboyant beauties that swan about snaffling flies while dragging outrageously long tail feathers behind them. We don’t get too many in Nova Scotia so one that sticks is most welcome, I went on my own to see it, Sandra was busy.

The bird had been found by Mike Sanders a couple of days previously in the sleepy inlet of West Jeddore and was hanging out in a local yard, a yard where the owners very graciously allowed us birders to roam in search of our quarry. It showed briefly for me but others got closer views and photo ops, the best I’ve seen so far is Chris Peters’ shot of it sitting on rocks.

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After enjoying the flycatcher, I had a little look around the road which crosses to the other side of the Jeddore finger, imaginatively named Cross Lane! There were a few birds singing despite the heat, the usual stuff in such habitat (so I won’t name them) and I also managed to find a few odes too, see the odes blog for those.

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The CSI year list naturally stuttered during June, May had delivered 46 additions, June just four, still, it was to be expected and June can be seen as a sort of breather month where we take time to look at where we are, and then make ready for the first shorebirds back, let the fun begin and the fog depart so we can join in!

A couple of interesting things are happening locally which might affect the big year and so are worth mentioning here.

Cape Light is being restored and lots of kit has been shipped out to The Cape to do the job. You assume that an impact assessment took place, it is part of an IMPORTANT BIRD AREA after all, so we can all relax. Any American Oystercatcher nests will surely be given a wide berth and the scaffolding and like stored in a way so as not to impinge on breeding birds and not get in the way of the migrating Buff-breasted Sandpipers, whose World status was recently upgraded to ‘nearly time to panic’. This means that they are fully protected unless it costs the Governments money or the land they use is needed by organisations or individuals to make money, especially if oil is involved, then they really are screwed!

The second development concerns the expansion of the sheep fields. Good folk who know Cape Sable Island and those who don’t but have surely read about the sheep fields in my free site guide will know of their attraction to birds. The sheep contribute in a small way but very regularly to the insect-friendly biomass, this, in turn attracts insect eaters. The fields were small and on the north side of The Guzzle, now they have been expanded to the south side and cover about four times the area. The posts are ideal for all manner of rare flycatchers, swallows and martins. The grazed land will pull in sparrows and longspurs, larks and pipits and the dry ground loving shorebirds (Buff-breasted and Upland Sandpipers, Eskimo Curlew etc.,) might just fancy it too. It may even attract short-sighted Cattle Egrets.

We watch with unbridled anticipation.


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