Ducking starts October 8th and I, like most birders, don’t much enjoy it. After a few days, things settle a bit but over the weekend there will be plenty of cartridges emptied. At the moment I’m hard pressed to know where the ducks will come from this year. My observations regarding the sea duck situation suggests that there will be few legitimate targets out there Saturday. Thankfully the Cory’s Shearwater incursion of last week, they were literally everywhere for a few days, has ended and they won’t be around to tempt the unscrupulous. It is no good suggesting such an element doesn’t exist, you just have to hope the responsible majority keep them in-check.
So today, the day before, Ervin, Mike and I went to The Cape and had a good look around. It was a beautiful day and we had quite a good time of it. The passage out with the trusty Leslie was briefly interrupted by this Peregrine busily stripping its prey of choice bits. Our boat inevitably disturbed it but it was never going to give up that breakfast.
The island had flocks of American Pipits and Yellow-rumped Warblers but most of the Savannah Sparrows had gone. The Forest has not been so productive of late but the paraphernalia associated with the Lighthouse restoration again proved attractive to migrants and we had close views of this Northern Parula and Black-throated Green Warbler.
Later we had another Peregrine, this time an immature bird.
The paucity of sparrows meant that when one popped up it was well appreciated, especially as it turned out to be an Ipswich Sparrow.
Later the same day, Sandra and I chased a Long-billed Dowitcher on The Guzzle. It showed superbly, after initially flying off with a nervous Greater Yellowlegs, only to drop back in right in front of us.
A quick check of Daniel’s Head after found this American Kestrel being unusually relaxed as it hunted grasshoppers from the Iron Forest
Going back to the day before and I saw a pale stick in the sward just by d’Eon’s Fishing Supplies as I passed by on the way to the head. Amazingly there were no trucks behind me so I reversed up and the stick morphed into the expected American Bittern. Cape Sable Island year tick #220 and counting.
Going back a little further and a couple of Dickcissels turned up on the Goat Man’s drive. Because he is a sensitive soul we don’t venture down it. Getting cloaked in a goat skin has been considered, but if one of the goats turned out to be a Billy then there could be a rather uncomfortable price to pay for getting just a bit closer to the birds. All hail long lenses is what I say!