Against all common sense, Sandra and I decided to go for the Pink-footed Goose that had been lingering around Cape John, Pictou County. It is a bit of a trip but, as I was on 298 in Nova Scotia and Sandra has now taken an interest in her life list, we can ask for a little latitude. There was also the opportunity to see a bit of Nova Scotia that we’d not visited before, as much of an excuse to travel as you need really.
We thought to try for Sandhill Cranes on the way, just a short diversion from the highway, but the cranes had wandered and so, after a short circuit of possible spots, we headed on. The route got less simple once we were past Truro, back roads, short cuts and drivers who had probably already died at the wheel but for whom cruise control was giving them another unexpected journey. To add to the whole mix first rain, then sleet with ambition to be snow started to fall. Luckily we had winter tyres, unluckily they were still waiting to go on and so rested serenely in our garage.
Cape John swept into view and is quite lovely. It brought to mind Portland Bill but of course you have had to have been there to appreciate the comparison. As we reached the end it was clear that Canada Geese were feeding in the last fallow field, and that seeing them all well would be a problem. The rain/sleet/snow had abated somewhat and we were able to scope from the road, getting good views from the neck up as most birds fed in a dip! There was no sign of the Pink-footed Goose though and, even when the whole flock flushed onto the ocean and we got some sort of unobstructed view, we didn’t see it.
After a couple of hours and with the light pulling on its nightwear, we headed off, intending to call it a dip. After a few kilometres basic logic reasserted itself and so we overnighted in New Glasgow, successfully getting a room away from the road but close enough to the boiler to enjoy its night-long rumble. Un-refreshed we went back to the scene and were delighted to find most of the Canada Geese patiently sitting on the sea and awaiting inspection. A couple of hours later we’d seen every goose on the cape from every angle and still no Pinky, time to go.
We went off and had a look at nearby Brule Point and while there noticed more geese in the area, with some flying over to Cape John. Backtracking, we again found the geese in the long and lumpy field but this time some ‘weather’ was arriving and it had become quite cold. Scanning through the scope I eventually got the pinky with its head up for brief but diagnostic views, it repeated the performance again and that was enough, can we go home now?
At Truro we stopped at the Tidal Bore Lookout and found a Cackling Goose, nice. Then we headed to Shubenacadie for another swing at the cranes. We had gen but they were not where they had previously been, so we did a little tour of the spots I’d seen them in the previous year. We stopped near Carrol’s Corner (ish), they flew over honking, simple. Three cranes would do for Sandra’s NS tick, and our little mini-break for two had added three to her NS life list, we must do this sort of thing more often.
While away, a text from Mike told us that there was a Common Redpoll on The Hawk, Cape Sable Island. More in hope than expectation we went for a look this morning (11/27) and there, being jostled on the feeder, was the sole Common Redpoll. CSI life tick 246 and year bird 229. I suspect that it will be the last CSI year bird for 2016, I hope I’m wrong but it just feels that way.
I continue to mess with the new camera, some results below…
This young Bald Eagle flew past in dull light, came up not too bad though.
Kumlien’s Gull above and Herring Gull below – soon all my posts will be about gulls again, sorry in advance.
Above – I can’t think what upset the starlings, unless it is that Merlin!
Above, a flash at a flying American Pipit, not great but doc.shot quality. Below a Horned Lark – both on The Cape.
Late dowitchers are usually Long-billed, as in this individual that chose Stumpy Cove, CSI as home for a few days. I used the 1.4 extender on these. The lousy flying away shot is deliberate, just to illustrate how photos are useful even if National Geographic are liable to laugh in your face if you send them for publication there.
Same Orange-crowned Warbler, different light, Port Latour.
The Cattle Egret has now gone but at least I got a shot of it with the new camera.
Below, not sure what this is. I saw the bird at range, grabbed a shot, then looked and it was gone. Not a washed out jay I can tell you that, otherwise, not sure just put here for your interest.