After the first came some more and the annual cycle of the end of August – beginning of September being the best time for seeing Buff-breasted Sandpipers on The Cape continues. Why The Cape?, because there is less disturbance and the sheep do a decent job of creating a mini-pampas. Why only fall?, because in spring they take a different, more central route north when leaving Argentina and other grassy bits of South America, whereas in fall they have several different routes south. Luckily, we are along one of them and a few grace us, for that is the most apt word to describe them, with their presence. If they were human it is a fair bet that they wouldn’t talk to the likes of me!
The shots below are from The Cape taken on the evening of 8/27/16. The reason for the late afternoon visit was because Alix and Paul had earlier found five Buff-breasted Sandpipers plus two American Golden Plovers there, the latter an expected year birds for the Cape Sable Island big year so I thought, go now as a bird on the list is always better than two on the offshore mud. We didn’t see the American Golden Plovers but did find three of the five buffys, possibly more.
Winding back to earlier in the day, my morning bird-search, like a word-search but involving synapses, took in a visit to the Deep Pit, a sink-hole at Daniel’s Head that supplies the fish plant with water for fish cleaning. Pity they don’t flush the scraps like at Pubnico, else we’d have some top gull watching there, especially in winter. The pit usually has little on it, save for bathing gulls, but the surrounding scrub and pool are often more productive. I parked the car and found a Bobolink in the tree opposite, time to call Mike, it was a gap on his CSI year list.
Wandering around, it is a small site and doesn’t take very long, activity around the small and fast evaporating pool (not the deep hole) revealed a few warblers that had missed their alarm call. Most shoot off just after dawn in these fine conditions. Mike arrived just as Blackpoll and Cape May popped up, more MacDonald potential year ticks. Eventually he got all three birds plus Chestnut-sided Warbler, four year-birds in quick succession taking him to 180. I moved on, finding little else anywhere and, as the day warmed up, I had other things to do.
Another visit to big city Yarmouth was required, we were out of beads and mirrors for trading, and on the way we checked out Ronnie’s secret spot in Bear Point. We quickly saw his Tennessee Warbler there but no Nashville. The warbler was another year-tick for me in NS; another step by me towards demoralising the chasing pack on eBird. After the Yarmouth spending, we repaired to William Allen Road in Arcadia. Our luck was in and four of the five Eastern Bluebirds found recently by Alix were doing their wire thing. I need one more species for 250 in NS for the year, 250 has been my default year score for the past few years (mostly spent in Quebec) so I’m happy to get there once again, oh and there appears to be four more months of 2016 to go yet.
Back to our cape visit and we spent a short while looking into The Forest. A sparrow in there seen only with the unclad eye, but that Mike had a better view of, might have been an immature Lark – we’ll never know it flew off. An empid, which almost always sat facing us flitted nervously about. Normally any empid around CSI will be Alder first, Least second, Yellow-bellied third and then an outside chance of Willow. This is probably an Alder but I’m working on it.
For the record, the cumulative list for CSI is 219 and we still have a fair proportion of birds to show up that only appear in the fall. It may seem that CSI is well-watched and in a few spots it is, but it is a big place with a ton of habitat that gets bypassed and even if we had a hundred birds covering it stuff would still be missed. We might break 250 cumulatively for the island this year; that would be quite something.
The threat/promise of a tropical storm coming our way seems to have receded again. We badly need rain, the Barrington area is the driest in Nova Scotia, and we are all concerned that our wells will dry out before that rain comes along. We have had 27% of the normal rainfall this summer, not good and virtually all local yard ponds are now baked mud. We will probably pay for the drought, or perhaps it will persist and we’ll have to figure out another way to supply water to our homes, scary thought when water is something we all take for granted.
Pectoral Sandpiper from The Cape.
Short-billed Dowitcher from The Cape, not so many left now and the highest count I made was only around 4,000 at their peak. Bad breeding season?