A south-easterly storm is on the way so, never say never, but, I think we are done for 2016. It has been a roller coaster with some odd avian absentees and some unexpected special guests, all of which I’ll discuss in my end of year review. For now we are in the dregs of December 29th with a tricky, wet and windy day in store tomorrow, it doesn’t leave too much wiggle room. There is also the little issue of surviving the 2016 cull, pity such things are random as I can have a list ready in a jiffy containing those who I’d like to see exit through the door of no return in 2017.
Today Ellis d’Entremont took Mike, Ronnie and I to his Cranberry Bog camp, thanks for organising it Ronnie and big thanks to Ellis. It was species light (five) but the star birds, our new national emblem the Gray Jay (spelling as a sop to those who say it can be spelled either way, unlike Whisky Jack) came along and entertained us. I tried hard to get that full-focus flight shot but failed miserably, still the little posers did pause during their winter food gathering routine to allow the odd photo.
At one point a Northern Flicker came by to see what the fuss was.
A couple of days ago, incidentally during another storm, Ronnie found the Greater White-fronted Goose in Yarmouth again so we wet-footed it over and eventually, and courtesy of Laurel tracking it down on a ball field, got views. Best of all was Mike MacDonald finally nailing his long-time nemesis. No more skulking back indoors after a twitch because this time, yes he did see it!
The same sortie got us a winter tick Hermit Thrush on Forchu with a Black-capped Chickadee for company.
And we saw one of the two male Barrow’s Goldeneyes that are wintering in the harbour.
Going back further, we did a little ride down to Baccaro and paid our respects to one of the Snowy Owls there. If you go there and see anyone shooting off the rocks below the light, please call the DNR and pass along their plate number. They have no chance of recovering shot birds and are just killing and maiming for fun. I have already flagged that there is an issue with the DNR, more on that when I get a reply.
On Cape Sable the Snow Goose continues to use the white farm geese and an avian shield. It blends in quite well, and probably doesn’t even get a second look from those who are not in the know.
Yesterday (Dec 28th) a flock of Bohemian Waxwings dropped into the yard briefly, allowing Mike to add them to his CSI year and life lists. They didn’t stay long but while they were there they were intent of stripping off the last few berries that the American Robins had no-doubt earmarked for later consumption.
After much hand-wringing I have decided that Daniel’s Head is my local patch. I go there most and, just like my two previous serious local patches, it gets disturbed by people and poorly treated, I must be a glutton for punishment. My recording area also takes in the beach north to Stoney Island Road and cuts off part way to The Hawk. My list for the area is just over 200 species, now that I have formally adopted it I must learn it better and make sure that I see any birds found there that I still ‘need’.
Well that empties my pending picture folder for 2016. My Excel file is ready and waiting for 2017 and Sandra and I will be out making a good go of it January 1st. If I don’t talk to you again before New Year, do enjoy the one day at this time of year that is really worth celebrating and we’ll catch up in the New Year.