Let’s Nip to Baccaro

So we did (Feb-15th). We couldn’t find the Harp Seal that had been hanging around there but a couple of Snowy Owls were easy enough. On a whim we went off to Yarmouth, peanuts were needed anyway but they were the side show as we roamed around the birdy spots and enjoyed some luck.

No photos but both the Greater White-fronted and Pink-footed Geese were in a goodish sized flock of Canada Geese in the fields between Chegoggin Bay and the Pembroke Road. At Chegoggin Point we did find a thoroughly pissed off American Pipit. Yes my friend, the snow can go from whence it came anytime soon.

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American Robins are currently everywhere. As I write this I have a planning committee of 26 sitting below one of the bird tables. Their plan to strip the yard of the rest of the berries has come to fruition (pun intended) and now they are considering evolving quickly to be able to clear up the Sunflower Seeds that the wind has liberally scattered around the yard. I may try to nourish them with Sultanas, I know Sandra has some hidden somewhere. I mention the American Robins because this Cooper’s Hawk seemed keen on snacking on one, again at Chegoggin. They were having none of it though so perhaps junco for tea again, even if it does get samey.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Sharp-shinned Hawk land on a wire out in the open, but Cooper’s do so regularly.

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The hawks in general were pretty good and, in the course of the afternoon, we had Sharp-shinned, three Red-tailed, two Bald Eagles and Turkey Vultures were omnipresent, ready to do the tidying up. The lone Brant is still hanging with the Canada Geese, makes you realise how tiny they are. Numbers of them are rising around The Hawk, Cape Sable Island, I had 40 there the last time I looked.

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Our last port of call was to try for a Ring-necked Duck, a year bird and joining the Hermit Thrush we’d seen at Overton earlier. The bridge to the old folks’ home at the north end of Lake Milo was the spot and there they were. In breeding plumage they always look odd, like they are not too good at flying  under low bridges, smacking their foreheads flat with repeated impacts. The same complex had a bunch of Bohemian Waxwings and one Cedar lurking in there. For a quick nip to Baccaro the day turned out quite well.

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Going back a day or so, in a gap between the snow storms, I did the CSI sites hoping for a Dovekie or similar. Not much happening but I did shoot a few pics.

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Male Mallard prevaricating.

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Most of the bunch of scaups around Swimm Point, CSI are Greater.

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A pair of Gadwall, we don’t get many on CSI.

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Our eastern Common Eider.

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I wonder why, when this American Herring Gull has moulted into summer plumage, the legs have stayed dull flesh, I presume they’ll catch up, just like virtually every other gull around at the moment..

Finally, I was in the deserted West Head parking lot when a silver spaceship landed. Out came an alien very similar looking to us. It said it was from the planet Larus where they lived a peaceful life studying gulls. It asked what gulls were around and I showed it this photo and I said that they were American Herring Gulls. It shook its head sadly and told me, possibly telepathically, that if we think these are the same species then we are not ready for contact, and left. Of course, I could have dreamed it but it has a point – see below.

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And now, shock, some wintery scenes from Daniel’s Head.

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Big tides with a storm surge, some beach an road damage but nothing that cannot, and will not be ignored.

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This is the view from the sea watching spot, looking south, then the other way.

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eBird in Notts

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The Bestwood Scop’s Owl

Some of you will know that I have been adding historical Nottinghamshire records to eBird in order for the county to have a searchable species county list there. The process is slow and not without its moral dilemmas, especially when you read a record and think, no, not really. Keen students of Nottinghamshire birds will know exactly what I mean, others will learn in time.

For those who do not know what eBird is, it is the system we craved when we had to write down our sightings monthly and mail them off to the county recorder. Once you get into the swing of it, it makes bird recording very simple. It is not without issues, one being that escapes when entered are counted as ticks, but that is just a minor issue (to be fixed) as eBird is a recording system, with list keeping a by-product. If you are interested enough to get through the next bit there is more of an explanation of what eBird is later.

I will not be adding the following records to the eBird database for the following reasons:

Great Bustard: Collingham, April-23rd to 24th 1906. This was not an identification by the observer but a ’best fit’ by Whitaker. There was also a tenuous link to a Norfolk re-introduction scheme, so the escape possibility has been raised, so if it was a bustard it was an escape anyway.  Either way it is not a strong record and should be considered interesting but not conclusive. This is the only Nottinghamshire ‘claim’.

Gull-billed Tern: Netherfield, five! September-6th 1945. These were seen by John Raines, the society has his original notebooks and the painting he did has them looking like Sandwich Tern, and five Sandwich Terns would be remarkable anyway. Everyone knows how rare this species is in the UK and the majority of people who read off this record know it is a load of old toot, at best a mistaken identity.

Greater Short-toed Lark: Nottingham Sewage Farm (Bulcote), July-30th 1950. Raines again, one observer of a July bird inland. There are precious few July Greater Short-toed Larks anywhere in the UK, this was a misidentification pure and simple.

Icterine Warbler: Colwick, July-13th 1945. Raines again, yes there is a theme here. Identified at a time when Icterine Warbler was considered very hard to separate from Melodious (and I’m sure that those who saw the Tiln bird will agree). A misidentification of a species, one with very few inland records and even fewer of singing birds.

Woodchat Shrike: Thoresby Park, a male shot in May 1859. Collected by a supplier of birds to the gentry. My position is that some of the old records based on collected birds, may have come from sources that supplied the collector with skins and that those skins may not have originated where claimed. There is no skin available to examine and the collector was prolific in supplying rare birds.

Spotted Nutcracker: There are two undated records of this species that did not occur during influxes. The two Clumber birds of 1883 may be good but the details are not and so, as they used to say, in square brackets for this record.

Little Bunting: Nottingham Sewage Farm, October-23rd 1950. Raines again and, while the date is good for what is a very rare species inland, the observer’s claim that it was with two Ortolans! give ample grounds for doubt (of both records).

Everything is open to reasonable debate although these records, along with a slew of other unsupportable ones, should have been dealt with by review years ago. Indeed the records of the 1940s-1950s should never have made print but it seems that nobody would question them fully at the time. The omission of these records reduces the Notts list in eBird, as compared to the last published annotated county list, by six.

I have entered a number of contentious records including the Egyptian Nightjar (saga) and others. These records will be removed from eBird if they ever get formally reviewed and rejected. I assume the pending avifauna will deal with these issues but have no information regarding the progress or publication date.

And now how eBird works: You get an account – free. You click on a map where you went, some sites will already be there as hotspots. You enter the date, how long you birded, how far you went (estimate, I do) and how many were in the group. The next click opens a checklist and you enter the birds you saw. If you saw a species but did not make a count, enter an ‘x’. If you took a photo, click media and add it to your checklist, similarly a recording. When you are done you can share it with the others in your party and they can edit the checklist to add or remove what they saw. You can do this at home or using a mobile app, easy.

What eBird gives you is a life, year and month list for anywhere you specify. It tells you how many checklists you’ve submitted, complete or incomplete, and it gives you access to everyone else’s public sightings too, great when you are visiting somewhere new, strapped for time and just want somewhere to have a quick wander and see a few birds. In Notts there is a small uptake in eBird use (I resisted way too long) but it is growing and will continue to do so. Traditionally Notts elects a county recorder, eBird has its own reviewer* for the county. At present there is no communication between the two and Notts misses out on eBirder records unless the observer sends the records separately. The Notts recorder does not accept eBird shared records, I have asked why but had no satisfactory answer, even though I am still, and always will be, a member of the Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers.

There is much more available via eBird, such as the ability to download records, make spreadsheets and pie charts/bar graphs etc., great for annual reports.

eBird is operated by Cornell University in the US but it is global, go and take a look and you will see what I mean. Just because it is American don’t let this put you off, you drive a Japanese car and look through Austrian binoculars, your shoes are Chinese and you love curry.

*The eBird reviewer checks checklists. Rare or scare species or out of date range or high counts trigger an alert. For rare and scarce species you have toad them to the checklist. The filters are a continual work in progress as the eBird database grows and population situations change, hence the need to add Ruddy Duck every time.

 

And finally you may ask why someone in Canada is taking such an interest in Notts. I am from Notts and the birds of Notts will always be close to my heart. I served my committee time and contributed, especially when I was at Colwick Park for fifteen years. Notts has some excellent and enthusiastic birders and, for an inland county, a bird list to be envied. It matters that progress is not ignored and my contribution via eBird is all I can offer, that and my continued support.

A Bit Snowy

Looking out the window the snow continues to fall, nothing too heavy just persistent and I’ll need to be out before dawn tomorrow to clear the feeders ready for the onslaught. As it is February it is quiet and with us experiencing ‘weather’ for a few days, the chances of something new being found are slim. The year list, such as it is, currently runs to 115 and I’ve not even hit 100 on Cape Sable Island yet but I do have gaps that I expect to fill before the end of the month. This time last year we were energetically scouring CSI for year list additions and with some success. Not that there has been any less effort on that front from me it’s just that every year is different.

We are fortunate locally to have free-access to the fishing wharves and, provided you are sensible and don’t block the way or get yourself killed, it is not an issue to drive down and use the car as a blind for photography. These Black Guillemots are a case in point, both taken from the car in pretty awful weather. The first is well on the way to summer dress, the second in full winter plumage. Why they should be so it perhaps down to when they began their first full molt after fledging, seems a logical theory anyway.

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The same wharves work well for gulls too, although the one you want to photograph doesn’t always come close, but then sometimes they do. Today (February-10th) I was sitting on a wharf on West Head, CSI, just hoping to photograph a Red-necked Grebe that was chugging my way. There were gulls but also a gale-force northwesterly wind with driving snow so they were not too enthusiastic, also the numbers were about a fifth of what they were two days ago. Looking through the windshield I saw a gull approaching, got the camera up and ready in the knowledge that the Thayer’s Gull was back on home turf. For the next wee while it flew past or bobbed just off the end of the wharf, and in the lea, and I managed this collection of shots. I make no apology for putting lots of shots of this bird up, it is a Thayer’s Gull and deserves the respect given the distance it has travelled.

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Also around were two Glaucous Gulls, birds of last year, here is one of them.

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The last shots were of a semi-pretender. I’ve written before about the muddled Kumlien’s Gull situation, well this one is not quite in-between but nor is it at the pale end of Kumlien’s. For what my opinion is worth I think Kumlien’s needs a rethink and split into light and dark. Thayer’s characteristics require some tight definition and any thoughts on lumping need to be shelved.

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For around 15 years I was a warden on a country park back in Nottingham, England. I can now reveal that I did a lot of birding while I worked there, perhaps more that was expected of a warden. I also set up a site-based wildlife group, with the aid of Mike Walker and Sandra, and it went quite well. A few years ago I wrote about my time on the park in ‘Park Life’ and I thought I might reproduce a bit of the book here for your enjoyment. Our wildlife group did newsletters and I wrote a large facetious ‘Warden’s Diary’, comprised of snippets of my brand of sarcasm and bits from the lodge incident book.

A Warden’s Diary – August-26th: A walker/ambler reports FRENCH KILLER WASPS in a plantation near a path. Unfortunately the FRENCH KILLER WASP siren is temporarily out of action and so the wardens just quietly destroy the nest and hide the bodies instead. Samples from the slaughter are sent for analysis and they are indeed FRENCH KILLER WASPS. Lock up your children, grannies, pets and especially any French folk around, and quick.

A Warden’s Diary – September-17th: In a radical new gorse management policy, ‘joy’ riders dump a stolen Ford Sierra on the roadside gorse near the Marina and torch it. This should result in thick, luxuriant growth next year but, it is going to get expensive in Sierras if we intend to continue the project in the long-term.

A Warden’s Diary – October-4th: The height barrier at the Racecourse Road entrance shows signs of severe impact by a high sided vehicle. Wardens recommend that eye tests should be mandatory for drivers of such vehicles. Pain-relief all round for that thumping headache.

A Warden’s Diary – August-17th: Three ‘kiddies’ playing in the central toilet block report that the hand drier keeps giving electric shocks when touched with wet hands. In the spirit of completeness, the warden persuades the ‘kiddies’ (well one of them) to show exactly what is meant a minimum three times, aren’t some ‘kiddies’ thick.

A Warden’s Diary – August-11th: Naughty children decide to break into an outbuilding on the park. Clues were left and the Police intend to send them on a severe tropical holiday, if caught and convicted. An un-named warden appears on the local TV News and inadvertently refers to gangs of swimmers in the Marina as ‘Kiddies’. For those surprised by this terminology, this was the actual word used with no expletive uttered and a less volatile phrase over-dubbed. Hopefully, with extensive training, such a pleasant, innocent word will never again be used by wardens to describe these local monsters in public again.

A Warden’s Diary – April-29th: A Mr. Grundy reported a shaved rabbit and headless dog in the river by the church ruins. “Something funny is going off there” said Mr. Grundy. The Police arrested Freddie Starr as a precaution (for this one you must be familiar with the headline of a national newspaper that read ‘Freddie Starr ate my Hamster)…

A Warden’s Diary – December-28th: A trout angler was hit on the head by the traffic barrier. No barrier damage was reported and the attending warden found the barrier to be working as normal, if a little spitefully.

A Warden’s Diary – December-26th: Mr. P Dixon had his dog attacked by a bulldog/terrier type. On trying to prevent the fight, he lost a finger to the attacking dog. Police are to interview the victim later to see whether he can finger the culprit. They will also search the attack area, hoping to find a few pointers.

A Warden’s Diary – August-6th: A Mr Ward reported three men spinning in the Colwick Lake. Wardens are to look out for the phalarope brothers. You need to know that the spinning is the using of illegal lures to steal trout and that a phalarope is a bird that spins to disturb food in the water.

A Warden’s Diary – June-1st: A youth fires shots at Head Warden Nigel Oram but misses. The rest of the staff club together for a shooting course for the assailant, clearly an attempt to enhance their promotion prospects!

A Warden’s Diary – July-19th: A lorry driver reported that someone had stolen his shorts, shirt, shoes and dog lead; Police are looking for a very crafty thief with a pet fetish.

A Warden’s Diary – July-5th: An Asian family was caught catching ducks by the West Lake with hooks and silk lines. A short educational programme ensued, was understood and the offer of a free meal at the Tandoori Palace, Carlton, accepted, Bombay Duck extra!

A Warden’s Dairy – May-26th: A naked man is reported around the West Lake. The area was searched but no one found. The lady reporting the incident only gave a brief description, it was, she explained, a cold day.

A Warden’s Diary – April 10th: A warden is attacked by a man in a Talbot Solara. The assailant had rammed through two five-bar gates to gain entry to the park, unbeknown to the warden who was asking the man if he was lost. Fortunately the Police chose not to prosecute the warden for getting in the way of the driver’s boot, a close shave all round!

A Warden’s Diary – August-22nd: Several carp are reported dead around the West Lake. An investigation reveals gill parasites and algae blooms are to blame. Watch this space to see how the problem is tackled by the highly proactive Council sick fish division. On the same day, a member of the public drives their car too close to the traffic barrier and damages a wing. Solicitors have been engaged and the wardens are to erect a sensor with the audible warning broadcasting “idiot, you’re too close”, purely as a temporary measure!

A Warden’s Diary – March 1986: Mr. Tizzard complained that he got hooked by a fisherman while riding past on his motorcycle. It was not the hooking that upset him, it was when the angler tried to belt him over the head and stuff him in his basket that really hurt.

A Wardens; Diary – mid-1990’s: An un-named angler decided to spend the day boat fishing, testing out his shiny new electric outboard motor. The day was fine and calm, the angler elderly and built for buoyancy!

Now, despite there being a rule forbidding anglers to fish standing up in a boat, Mr. shiny new engine knew better and spent the morning stood up and annoying the fish before disaster, he falls out of the boat. Given the water temperature, age and mobility of the individual it really should have been ‘Pearly Gates and ask for your wings’ time but, amazingly, a passing lifeguard was on hand to rescue Mr. shiny new engine, hauling his substantial frame to safety.

Enter the wardens into the fray. The angler is ferried (on dry land!) to the Fishing Lodge and given warm clothing and sweet tea. The boat (complete with shiny new engine) is recovered and parked on the jetty.

After a rapid and remarkable recuperation, the angler’s spirits are lifted and he decides, for he knows best, to fish on and from the boat, still using his shiny new engine. Off he strolls from the Fishing Lodge, steps into the boat, misses his footing and lands in the water.

One week later we had a hastily written note. ‘For sale, one shiny new electric engine, barely used, one careful owner!’  – a true story, I swear it.

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February Fortitude

Not many birders (in the north) like February. It is a dead month, the depth of winter and a time when nothing much is expected to happen in the bird world. We always have gulls to look at though, omnipresent around the bays and fish plants, loafing, feeding, looking nothing like those illustrations in the field guides in some cases but what’s new there? I’m not complaining though, I could still be in Quebec with snow up to my Ass (never keep a quadruped outside in the winter in QC) and nary a blade of grass to see until April. At least we still have the rare geese in our area to enjoy, when you can find them that is. The Yarmouth duo, the Pink-footed and Greater White-fronted Geese, had gone missing until February 2nd when Ervin found them in nearby Pembroke, hiding in with the Canada Geese. Sandra and I were in Yarmouth to pick up bits and so went along and got distant views. Just the pinkie here.

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While in Yarmouth we wandered along to see the two male Barrow’s Goldeneye that are lingering off Lobster Rock wharf, this Glaucous Gull looked on. It seems to be a good winter for glaucs.

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Nearby, House Sparrows were still present in their favourite tangle. In many parts of the world the House Sparrow population has shrunk, mostly due to the changes in houses, no spacious soffits to breed behind and folk are oh so fussy if a sparrow nests on their property. On Cape Sable Island where we live they are hard to find and that is with plenty of feeders around, still the Yarmouth area seems to be to their liking and long may it continue.

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Just as we arrived in Yarmouth, a text from Alix prompted us to pay our respects to his Red-bellied Woodpecker on the way home, always nice to add it to the year list.

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As a little surprise, nay delight, I took Sandra along to Dennis Point Wharf to look at gulls, she loved it. We didn’t see the hoped for Thayer’s, it had been on CSI earlier in the day but we’d looked and missed it, but we did get this hybrid gull which is a different one from the regular hybrids we’ve been seeing there, I feel a blog post coming on about hybrids.

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On Saturday (2/4) the weather was cold with northerly winds chilling the bladder. West Head, CSI was covered in gulls but, as Obe Wan Kenobi might say, “not the gull you are looking for”. I did see this though, a Herring Gull probably, in an odd plumage possibly or whatever, it really stuck out. A web trawl has not been too useful so far and I suppose I could post to the Facebook gulls page but, to be honest, it gets a bit wearing when some pasty-faced geek, who only sees gulls occasionally, tells me it is good for something common. I really must stop yelling “if it was common I wouldn’t be posting the damn thing now would I?” at the computer, although it does cheer me up when I do!

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Another Alix text later in the afternoon, followed by one from Ronnie, told us that the Thayer’s Gull was back at Dennis Point. Sandra missed it by three minutes on CSI last time so, as a very special treat, I took her along to the point where we had great views. If you look at the last photo you can see a clipped off P5, same as the CSI bird, absolute confirmation.

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And finally, a female Northern Harrier from CSI.

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New World Order

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You cannot have a blog post without a photo so here’s one, the rest is just reading. Incidentally, NS birders who have never seen a Great Gray Owl might like to know that the cyclic influx is on, plenty around Montreal plus Hawk Owl and a Ross’s Gull down the road in New York State. What are you waiting for? Pack those snacks and off you go!

Taxonomy: a branch of science that encompasses the description, identification, nomenclature, and classification of organisms.

Or, in more detail: is the science of defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics and giving names to those groups. Organisms are grouped together into taxa (singular: taxon) and these groups are given a taxonomic rank; groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super group of lower rank, thus creating a taxonomic hierarchy. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus is regarded as the father of taxonomy, as he developed a system known as Linnaean classification for categorization of organisms and binomial nomenclature for naming organisms.

With the advent of such fields of study as phylogenetics, cladistics, and systematics, the Linnaean system has progressed to a system of modern biological classification based on the evolutionary relationships between organisms, both living and extinct. (Source, Wikipedia).

Depending on the level of your involvement, your interest in taxonomy may either be at best, indifferent, or it is the basis of your birding life rules so to speak. The fact that taxonomy changes occasionally, and sometimes quite dramatically, shows that what we formerly knew to be fact has changed and now we are just paddling wildly to keep up for a while. Perhaps ‘paddling wildly’ is a bit strong, but there often seems to be an air of a raffle draw about these things when changes are announced. True, the changes are always well-referenced but, as our species needs a label to tell us that Peanut Butter contains nuts, no further explanation of our lack of understand why changes are made is required.

The more bird species you see, the more you realise just how close some species really are, and how different parts of the world have basically the same thing that you’d find in your Nova Scotia yard. Take, for example the Blue Jay. A common, and much appreciated yard bird in Nova Scotia but in the tropics you don’t get Blue Jays, but look at any Motmot and tell me you don’t see similarities. In between are the fancy crested jays, Blue Jays with long tails and bigger crests, more or less, intergrades between Blue Jay and motmot. Keep going south and various nunlets and jacamas join in, still with basic jay-like qualities. Now leap the Atlantic eastwards and the same latitudes will have jacamars too, but they are called bee-eaters there, do you see what I mean?

It is important for taxonomy to be there, if only to give the pastime/hobby/religion of birding, )a sort of Ornithology-lite), some structure when it comes to the species. Non-birder logic always asks the same question when presented with a field guide, ‘why not in alphabetical order’? It is a logical question and, as we move inexorably towards our reference being solely digital, that option will always be available for those that prefer it. Fair enough in many ways, alphabetical is simpler than a taxonomic order but as it only requires the most basic of thought but for birders, an alphabetical list of birds just will not do. Learning the taxonomic order instils an understanding of the sequence of bird evolution and relationships as it was designed to do, and all bird books using the list provide a subliminal indoctrination if you like, which is why it is a bugger when they change it!

Perhaps the best way to work through this new taxonomic order, is with the new order viewed alongside the old; then try digesting it in chunks. The new order shunts some species into previously unknown territory while others barely move. All your books are now wrong at a basic level and you are a first-grade student until you have grasped the new order, by which time ‘they’ will have changed it again. Think of it as aerobics for the birding brain.

In the old days, and in a Nova Scotia context, loons and grebes kicked off the show. Think of them as talented penguins, same shape, just still able to fly, and don’t ask obvious questions such as why Dovekie, murres and Razorbill aren’t that end too, that would be inconvenient. Then the order changed so that geese, swans and ducks led the field with loons and grebes getting pushed down the list past what we still sadly call ‘game birds’. The status quo there in the new order remains but, in a surprise to many, after loons and grebes, pigeons and doves, cuckoos, nighthawks and then hummingbirds rock up, a real departure from the traditional here.

I’m not going to do all of the changes one by one in this way, I just mention the above to point out how either ground-breaking or downright illogical it all is. There will be references to explain it all, just like previous orders and revisions, but how many of us are going to sit and read them as presented?

Don’t take this list used as the official list of Nova Scotia birds, the standard reference is ‘All the Birds of Nova Scotia – Status and Critical Identification’ by Ian McLaren. Also, where for example I use Mew, *Common and *Kamchatka Gull within the taxonomic list, this does not infer that they are AOS*** full species, merely placed there for context as all three have occurred in NS. Also I use Myrtle and Audubon’s Warbler, just as many do.

The thinking birder keeps a list of races and forms that they have seen in NS anyway and so this is no surprise to anyone. The * shows that it is still a subspecies. I deliberately ignored the Red Crossbills as that can of worms is for someone else to unpick. I hope I have this right, if not please say so, we don’t seem to discuss this stuff much here.

***American Ornithological Society, was AO Union until recently when they merged with another society.

NEW Taxonomy 2016                      OLD Taxonomy 2011

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck            Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Fulvous Whistling-Duck                     Fulvous Whistling-Duck

Tundra Bean-Goose                            Tundra Bean-Goose

Pink-footed Goose                              Pink-footed Goose

Greater White-fronted Goose             Greater White-fronted Goose

Graylag Goose                                    Graylag Goose

Snow Goose                                        Snow Goose

Ross’s Goose                                       Ross’s Goose

Brant                                                   Brant

Black Brant*                                       Black Brant*

Barnacle Goose                                   Barnacle Goose

Cackling Goose                                   Cackling Goose

Canada Goose                                     Canada Goose

Mute Swan                                          Mute Swan

Trumpeter Swan                                  Trumpeter Swan

Tundra Swan                                       Tundra Swan

Wood Duck                                        Wood Duck

Gadwall                                              Gadwall

Eurasian Wigeon                                 Eurasian Wigeon

American Wigeon                               American Wigeon

American Black Duck                         American Black Duck

Mallard                                                Mallard

Blue-winged Teal                                Blue-winged Teal

Cinnamon Teal                                    Cinnamon Teal

Northern Shoveler                               Northern Shoveler

Northern Pintail                                  Northern Pintail

Garganey                                             Garganey

Common Teal*                                    Common Teal*

Green-winged Teal                             Green-winged Teal

Canvasback                                         Canvasback

Redhead                                              Redhead

Ring-necked Duck                              Ring-necked Duck

Tufted Duck                                       Tufted Duck

Greater Scaup                                     Greater Scaup

Lesser Scaup                                       Lesser Scaup

King Eider                                          King Eider

Common Eider                                    Common Eider

Harlequin Duck                                   Harlequin Duck

Labrador Duck                                    Labrador Duck

Surf Scoter                                          Surf Scoter

White-winged Scoter                          White-winged Scoter

Black Scoter                                        Black Scoter

Long-tailed Duck                                Long-tailed Duck

Bufflehead                                          Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye                           Common Goldeneye

Barrow’s Goldeneye                           Barrow’s Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser                             Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser                            Common Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser                     Red-breasted Merganser

Ruddy Duck                                       Ruddy Duck

Northern Bobwhite                             Northern Bobwhite

Chukar                                                            Chukar

Gray Partridge                                                Gray Partridge

Ring-necked Pheasant                                    Ring-necked Pheasant

Ruffed Grouse                                                Ruffed Grouse

Spruce Grouse                                     Spruce Grouse

Willow Ptarmigan                               Willow Ptarmigan

Rock Ptarmigan                                  Rock Ptarmigan

Wild Turkey                                        Wild Turkey

American Flamingo                             Red-throated Loon

Pied-billed Grebe                                Pacific Loon

Horned Grebe                                     Common Loon

Red-necked Grebe                              Pied-billed Grebe

Eared Grebe                                        Horned Grebe

Western Grebe                                    Red-necked Grebe

Rock Pigeon                                        Eared Grebe

Band-tailed Pigeon                             Western Grebe

Eurasian Collared-Dove                      American Flamingo

Passenger Pigeon                                Yellow-nosed Albatross

Common Ground-Dove                      Black-browed Albatross

White-winged Dove                           Northern Fulmar

Mourning Dove                                   Bermuda Petrel

Yellow-billed Cuckoo                         Black-capped Petrel

Mangrove Cuckoo                              Fea’s Petrel

Black-billed Cuckoo                           Scopoli’s Shearwater*

Groove-billed Ani                               Cory’s Shearwater

Common Nighthawk                          Great Shearwater

Chuck-will’s-widow                            Sooty Shearwater

Eastern Whip-poor-will                       Manx Shearwater

Chimney Swift                                    Audubon’s Shearwater

Ruby-throated Hummingbird             Barolo Shearwater

Black-chinned Hummingbird             Wilson’s Storm-petrel

Rufous Hummingbird                         White-faced Petrel

Calliope Hummingbird                       European Storm-petrel

Yellow Rail                                         Leach’s Storm-petrel

Black Rail                                           Band-rumped Storm-petrel

Corn Crake                                          White-tailed Tropicbird

Clapper Rail                                        Red-billed Tropicbird

King Rail                                             Magnificent Frigatebird

Virginia Rail                                        Red-footed Booby

Sora                                                     Masked Booby

Purple Gallinule                                  Brown Booby

Common Gallinule                              Northern Gannet

American Coot                                    Double-crested Cormorant

Limpkin                                               Great Cormorant

Sandhill Crane            American                     White Pelican

Black-necked Stilt                              Brown Pelican

American Avocet                                American Bittern

American Oystercatcher                     Least Bittern

Northern Lapwing                              Great Blue Heron

Black-bellied Plover                            Great Egret

European Golden-Plover                    Little Egret

American Golden-Plover                    Western Reef-Heron

Pacific Golden-Plover                         Snowy Egret

Snowy Plover                                      Little Blue Heron

Wilson’s Plover                                   Tricolored Heron

Common Ringed Plover                     Reddish Egret

Semipalmated Plover                          Cattle Egret

Piping Plover                                       Green Heron

Killdeer                                               Black-crowned Night-heron

Upland Sandpiper                               Yellow-crowned Night-heron

Eskimo Curlew                                   White Ibis

Whimbrel                                            Glossy Ibis

Eurasian Curlew                                  White-faced Ibis

Long-billed Curlew                             Black Vulture

Black-tailed Godwit                           Turkey Vulture

Hudsonian Godwit                             Osprey

Bar-tailed Godwit                               Swallow-tailed Kite

Marbled Godwit                                 Mississippi Kite

Ruddy Turnstone                                Bald Eagle

Red Knot                                            Northern Harrier

Ruff                                                    Sharp-shinned Hawk

Broad-billed Sandpiper                       Cooper’s Hawk

Stilt Sandpiper                                                Northern Goshawk

Curlew Sandpiper                               Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-necked Stint                                Broad-winged Hawk

Sanderling                                           Swainson’s Hawk

Dunlin                                                 Zone-tailed Hawk

Purple Sandpiper                                 Red-tailed Hawk

Baird’s Sandpiper                                Rough-legged Hawk

Little Stint                                           Golden Eagle

Least Sandpiper                                  Yellow Rail

White-rumped Sandpiper                    Black Rail

Buff-breasted Sandpiper                    Corn Crake

Pectoral Sandpiper                              Clapper Rail

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper                       King Rail

Semipalmated Sandpiper                    Virginia Rail

Western Sandpiper                              Sora

Short-billed Dowitcher                       Purple Gallinule

Long-billed Dowitcher                       Common Gallinule

Wilson’s Snipe                                     American Coot

American Woodcock                          Limpkin

Spotted Sandpiper                              Sandhill Crane

Solitary Sandpiper                              Black-necked Stilt

Spotted Redshank                              American Avocet

Greater Yellowlegs                             American Oystercatcher

Common Greenshank                         Northern Lapwing

Willet                                                  Black-bellied Plover

Western Willet                                    European Golden-Plover

Lesser Yellowlegs                               American Golden-Plover

Common Redshank                            Pacific Golden-Plover

Wilson’s Phalarope                              Snowy Plover

Red-necked Phalarope                        Wilson’s Plover

Red Phalarope                                     Common Ringed Plover

Great Skua                                          Semipalmated Plover

Brown Skua                                        Piping Plover

South Polar Skua                                Killdeer

Pomarine Jaeger                                  Spotted Sandpiper

Parasitic Jaeger                                    Solitary Sandpiper

Long-tailed Jaeger                              Spotted Redshank

Dovekie                                               Common Redshank

Common Murre                                   Greater Yellowlegs

Thick-billed Murre                              Common Greenshank

Razorbill                                              Willet

Great Auk                                           Western Willet

Black Guillemot                                  Lesser Yellowlegs

Atlantic Puffin                                                Upland Sandpiper

Black-legged Kittiwake                      Eskimo Curlew

Ivory Gull                                           Whimbrel

Sabine’s Gull                                       Eurasian Curlew

Bonaparte’s Gull                                 Long-billed Curlew

Black-headed Gull                              Black-tailed Godwit

Little Gull                                           Hudsonian Godwit

Ross’s Gull                                          Bar-tailed Godwit

Laughing Gull                                     Marbled Godwit

Franklin’s Gull                                     Ruddy Turnstone

Black-tailed Gull                                 Red Knot

Mew Gull                                            Ruff

Common Gull*                                   Broad-billed Sandpiper

Kamchatka Gull*                                Stilt Sandpiper

Ring-billed Gull                                  Curlew Sandpiper

California Gull                                    Red-necked Stint

Herring Gull                                        Sanderling

Yellow-legged Gull                            Dunlin

Thayer’s Gull                                       Purple Sandpiper

Iceland Gull                                        Baird`s Sandpiper

Lesser Black-backed Gull                   Little Stint

Slaty-backed Gull                               Least Sandpiper

Glaucous Gull                                     White-rumped Sandpiper

Great Black-backed Gull                    Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Sooty Tern                                          Pectoral Sandpiper

Bridled Tern                                        Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Least Tern                                           Semipalmated Sandpiper

Gull-billed Tern                                   Western Sandpiper

Caspian Tern                                       Short-billed Dowitcher

Black Tern                                           Long-billed Dowitcher

White-winged Tern                             Wilson`s Snipe

Roseate Tern                                       American Woodcock

Common Tern                                     Wilson`s Phalarope

Arctic Tern                                          Red-necked Phalarope

Forster’s Tern                                      Red Phalarope

Royal Tern                                          Great Skua

Sandwich (Cabot’s) Tern                    Brown Skua

Black Skimmer                                    South Polar Skua

White-tailed Tropicbird                      Pomarine Jaeger

Red-billed Tropicbird                         Parasitic Jaeger

Red-throated Loon                             Long-tailed Jaeger

Pacific Loon                                        Dovekie – Alle alle

Common Loon                                    Common Murre

Yellow-nosed Albatross                     Thick-billed Murre

Black-browed Albatross                     Razorbill – Alca torda

Northern Fulmar                                 Great Auk

Bermuda Petrel                                   Black Guillemot

Black-capped Petrel                            Atlantic Puffin

Fea’s Petrel                                          Black-legged Kittiwake

Cory’s Shearwater                               Ivory Gull

Scopoli’s Shearwater*                         Sabine`s Gull

Sooty Shearwater                                Bonaparte`s Gull

Great Shearwater                                Black-headed Gull

Manx Shearwater                                Little Gull

Audubon’s Shearwater                        Ross`s Gull

Barolo Shearwater                              Laughing Gull

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel                         Franklin`s Gull

White-faced Storm-Petrel                   Black-tailed Gull

European Storm-Petrel                        Mew Gull

Leach’s Storm-Petrel                           Common Gull*

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel                 Kamchatka Gull*

Magnificent Frigatebird                      Ring-billed Gull

Masked Booby                                    California Gull

Brown Booby                                     Herring Gull

Red-footed Booby                              Thayer`s Gull

Northern Gannet                                 Yellow-legged Gull

Double-crested Cormorant                 Iceland Gull

Great Cormorant                                 Lesser Black-backed Gull

American White Pelican                     Slaty-backed Gull

Brown Pelican                                     Glaucous Gull

American Bittern                                Great Black-backed Gull

Least Bittern                                       Sooty Tern

Great Blue Heron                                Bridled Tern

Great Egret                                         Least Tern

Little Egret                                          Gull-billed Tern

Western Reef-Heron                           Caspian Tern

Snowy Egret                                       Black Tern

Little Blue Heron                                White-winged Tern

Tricolored Heron                                 Roseate Tern

Reddish Egret                                     Common Tern

Cattle Egret                                         Arctic Tern

Green Heron                                       Forster`s Tern

Black-crowned Night-Heron              Royal Tern

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron            Sandwich Tern

White Ibis                                           Black Skimmer

Glossy Ibis                                          Rock Pigeon

White-faced Ibis                                 Band-tailed Pigeon

Black Vulture                                      Eurasian Collared-Dove

Turkey Vulture                                    White-winged Dove

Osprey                                                 Mourning Dove

Swallow-tailed Kite                            Passenger Pigeon

Mississippi Kite                                   Common Ground Dove

Bald Eagle                                          Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Northern Harrier                                 Mangrove Cuckoo

Sharp-shinned Hawk                          Black-billed Cuckoo

Cooper’s Hawk                                   Groove-billed Ani

Northern Goshawk                             Barn Owl

Red-shouldered Hawk                                    Eastern Screech-Owl

Broad-winged Hawk                          Great Horned Owl

Swainson’s Hawk                                Snowy Owl

Zone-tailed Hawk                               Northern Hawk Owl

Red-tailed Hawk                                Burrowing Owl

Rough-legged Hawk                           Barred Owl

Golden Eagle                                      Great Gray Owl

Barn Owl                                            Long-eared Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl                          Short-eared Owl

Great Horned Owl                              Boreal Owl

Snowy Owl                                         Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Hawk Owl                           Common Nighthawk

Burrowing Owl                                   Chuck-will’s-widow

Barred Owl                                         Eastern Whip-poor-will

Great Gray Owl                                  Chimney Swift

Long-eared Owl                                  Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Short-eared Owl                                 Black-chinned Hummingbird

Boreal Owl                                          Rufous Hummingbird

Northern Saw-whet Owl                    Calliope Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher                               Belted Kingfisher

Lewis’s Woodpecker                           Lewis’s Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker                   Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker                    Red-bellied Woodpecker

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker                   Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker                           Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker                              Hairy Woodpecker

American Three-toed Woodpecker     American Three-toed Woodpecker

Black-backed Woodpecker                 Black-backed Woodpecker

Northern Flicker                                  Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker                          Pileated Woodpecker

Crested Caracara                                 Crested Caracara

Eurasian Kestrel                                  Eurasian Kestrel

American Kestrel                                American Kestrel

Merlin                                                  Merlin

Gyrfalcon                                            Gyrfalcon

Peregrine Falcon                                 Peregrine Falcon

Olive-sided Flycatcher                        Olive-sided Flycatcher

Western Wood-Pewee                                    Western Wood-Pewee

Eastern Wood-Pewee                         Eastern Wood-Pewee

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher                   Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

Acadian Flycatcher                             Acadian Flycatcher

Alder Flycatcher                                 Alder Flycatcher

Willow Flycatcher                               Willow Flycatcher

Least Flycatcher                                  Least Flycatcher

Gray Flycatcher                                  Gray Flycatcher

Hammond’s Flycatcher                       Hammond’s Flycatcher

Dusky Flycatcher                                Dusky Flycatcher

Pacific-slope Flycatcher                      Pacific-slope Flycatcher

Eastern Phoebe                                   Eastern Phoebe

Say’s Phoebe                                       Say’s Phoebe

Vermilion Flycatcher                          Vermilion Flycatcher

Ash-throated Flycatcher                     Ash-throated Flycatcher

Great Crested Flycatcher                    Great Crested Flycatcher

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher                  Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher

Tropical Kingbird                                Tropical Kingbird

Couch’s Kingbird                                Couch’s Kingbird

Cassin’s Kingbird                                Cassin’s Kingbird

Western Kingbird                               Western Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird                                 Eastern Kingbird

Gray Kingbird                                     Gray Kingbird

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher                     Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Fork-tailed Flycatcher                         Fork-tailed Flycatcher

Brown Shrike                                      Brown Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike                              Loggerhead Shrike

Northern Shrike                                  Northern Shrike

White-eyed Vireo                               White-eyed Vireo

Bell’s Vireo                                         Bell’s Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo                        Yellow-throated Vireo

Blue-headed Vireo                              Blue-headed Vireo

Plumbeous Vireo                                 Plumbeous Vireo

Cassin’s Vireo                                     Cassin’s Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo                              Philadelphia Vireo

Warbling Vireo                                   Warbling Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo                                  Red-eyed Vireo

Gray Jay                                              Gray Jay

Blue Jay                                              Blue Jay

Black-billed Magpie                            Black-billed Magpie

Eurasian Magpie                                 Eurasian Magpie

Eurasian Jackdaw                               Eurasian Jackdaw

American Crow                                   American Crow

Fish Crow                                           Fish Crow

Common Raven                                  Common Raven

Horned Lark                                       Horned Lark

Purple Martin                                      Purple Martin

Tree Swallow                                      Tree Swallow

Violet-green Swallow                         Violet-green Swallow

Northern Rough-winged Swallow      Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Bank Swallow                                     Bank Swallow

Cliff Swallow                                     Cliff Swallow

Cave Swallow                                     Cave Swallow

Barn Swallow                                     Barn Swallow

Black-capped Chickadee                    Black-capped Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee                                Boreal Chickadee

Tufted Titmouse                                 Tufted Titmouse

Red-breasted Nuthatch                       Red-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch                    White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper                                    Brown Creeper

Rock Wren                                          Rock Wren

House Wren                                        House Wren

Winter Wren                                       Winter Wren

Sedge Wren                                        Sedge Wren

Marsh Wren                                        Marsh Wren

Western Marsh Wren*                        Western Marsh Wren*

Carolina Wren                                     Carolina Wren

Bewick’s Wren                                    Bewick’s Wren

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher                        Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Golden-crowned Kinglet                    Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet                       Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Northern Wheatear                             Northern Wheatear

Eastern Bluebird                                 Eastern Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird                              Mountain Bluebird

Townsend’s Solitaire                           Townsend’s Solitaire

Veery  Veery

Gray-cheeked Thrush                          Gray-cheeked Thrush

Bicknell’s Thrush                                 Bicknell’s Thrush

Swainson’s Thrush                              Swainson’s Thrush

Hermit Thrush                                     Hermit Thrush

Wood Thrush                                      Wood Thrush

Fieldfare                                              Fieldfare

Redwing                                             Redwing

American Robin                                  American Robin

Varied Thrush                                     Varied Thrush

Gray Catbird                                       Gray Catbird

Brown Thrasher                                  Brown Thrasher

Northern Mockingbird                        Northern Mockingbird

European Starling                               European Starling

Bohemian Waxwing                           American Pipit

Cedar Waxwing                                  Bohemian Waxwing

House Sparrow                                   Cedar Waxwing

American Pipit                                    Lapland Longspur

Common Chaffinch                            Chestnut-collared Longspur

Brambling                                           Smith’s Longspur

Pine Grosbeak                                     Snow Bunting

House Finch                                        Ovenbird

Purple Finch                                        Worm-eating Warbler

Red Crossbill                                      Louisiana Waterthrush

White-winged Crossbill                      Northern Waterthrush

Common Redpoll                                Golden-winged Warbler

Hoary Redpoll                                                Blue-winged Warbler

Pine Siskin                                          Black-and-white Warbler

American Goldfinch                           Prothonotary Warbler

Evening Grosbeak                               Swainson’s Warbler

Lapland Longspur                               Tennessee Warbler

Chestnut-collared Longspur               Orange-crowned Warbler

Smith’s Longspur                                Nashville Warbler

Snow Bunting                                     Virginia’s Warbler

Ovenbird                                             Connecticut Warbler

Worm-eating Warbler                         MacGillivray’s Warbler

Louisiana Waterthrush                        Mourning Warbler

Northern Waterthrush                         Kentucky Warbler

Golden-winged Warbler                     Common Yellowthroat

Blue-winged Warbler                          Hooded Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler                    American Redstart

Prothonotary Warbler                         Cape May Warbler

Swainson’s Warbler                             Cerulean Warbler

Tennessee Warbler                              Northern Parula

Orange-crowned Warbler                   Magnolia Warbler

Nashville Warbler                               Bay-breasted Warbler

Virginia’s Warbler                               Blackburnian Warbler

Connecticut Warbler                           Yellow Warbler

MacGillivray’s Warbler                       Chestnut-sided Warbler

Mourning Warbler                               Blackpoll Warbler

Kentucky Warbler                               Black-throated Blue Warbler

Common Yellowthroat                       Palm Warbler

Hooded Warbler                                 Pine Warbler

American Redstart                              Myrtle Warbler*

Cape May Warbler                              Audubon’s Warbler*

Cerulean Warbler                                Yellow-throated Warbler

Northern Parula                                   Prairie Warbler

Magnolia Warbler                               Black-throated Gray Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler                         Townsend’s Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler                         Hermit Warbler

Yellow Warbler                                   Black-throated Green Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler                      Canada Warbler

Blackpoll Warbler                               Wilson’s Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler              Yellow-breasted Chat

Palm Warbler                                      Green-tailed Towhee

Pine Warbler                                       Spotted Towhee

Audubon’s Warbler*                           Eastern Towhee

Myrtle Warbler*                                  Cassin’s Sparrow

Yellow-throated Warbler                    American Tree Sparrow

Prairie Warbler                                    Chipping Sparrow

Black-throated Gray Warbler             Clay-colored Sparrow

Townsend’s Warbler                           Brewer’s Sparrow

Hermit Warbler                                   Field Sparrow

Black-throated Green Warbler            Vesper Sparrow

Canada Warbler                                  Lark Sparrow

Wilson’s Warbler                                 Bell’s/Sagebrush Sparrow

Yellow-breasted Chat                         Lark Bunting

Green-tailed Towhee                          Savannah Sparrow

Spotted Towhee                                  Ipswich Sparrow*

Eastern Towhee                                  Grasshopper Sparrow

Cassin’s Sparrow                                 Henslow’s Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow                      Le Conte’s Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow                               Nelson’s Sparrow

Clay-colored Sparrow                         Saltmarsh Sparrow

Brewer’s Sparrow                                Seaside Sparrow

Field Sparrow                                     Red Fox Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow                                  Song Sparrow

Lark Sparrow                                      Lincoln’s Sparrow

Bell’s/Sagebrush Sparrow                   Swamp Sparrow

Lark Bunting                                       White-throated Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow                              Harris’s Sparrow

Ipswich Sparrow*                               White-crowned Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow                          Golden-crowned Sparrow

Henslow’s Sparrow                             Dark-eyed Junco

Le Conte’s Sparrow                            Summer Tanager

Nelson’s Sparrow                                Scarlet Tanager

Saltmarsh Sparrow                              Western Tanager

Seaside Sparrow                                 Northern Cardinal

Red Fox Sparrow                                Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Song Sparrow                                     Black-headed Grosbeak

Lincoln’s Sparrow                               Blue Grosbeak

Swamp Sparrow                                  Lazuli Bunting

White-throated Sparrow                     Indigo Bunting

Harris’s Sparrow                                  Painted Bunting

White-crowned Sparrow                     Dickcissel

Golden-crowned Sparrow                  Bobolink

Dark-eyed Junco                                 Red-winged Blackbird

Summer Tanager                                 Eastern Meadowlark

Scarlet Tanager                                   Western Meadowlark

Western Tanager                                 Yellow-headed Blackbird

Northern Cardinal                               Rusty Blackbird

Rose-breasted Grosbeak                     Brewer’s Blackbird

Black-headed Grosbeak                      Common Grackle

Blue Grosbeak                                                Boat-tailed Grackle

Lazuli Bunting                                    Great-tailed Grackle

Indigo Bunting                                   Shiny Cowbird

Painted Bunting                                  Bronzed Cowbird

Dickcissel                                            Brown-headed Cowbird

Bobolink                                             Orchard Oriole

Red-winged Blackbird                       Bullock’s Oriole

Eastern Meadowlark                           Baltimore Oriole

Western Meadowlark                          Common Chaffinch

Yellow-headed Blackbird                   Brambling

Rusty Blackbird                                  Pine Grosbeak

Brewer’s Blackbird                             House Finch

Common Grackle                                Purple Finch

Boat-tailed Grackle                             Red Crossbill

Great-tailed Grackle                           White-winged Crossbill

Shiny Cowbird                                    Common Redpoll

Bronzed Cowbird                               Hoary Redpoll

Brown-headed Cowbird                     Pine Siskin

Orchard Oriole                                    American Goldfinch

Bullock’s Oriole                                  Evening Grosbeak

Baltimore Oriole                                 House Sparrow

So there we are, a look at the new taxonomic list at least. If you are interested there are various things on-line, check out the ABA site and the AOU, AOS or whatever it is this week too.

Just to reiterate, although I have based this on the Nova Scotia bird list, there are species which may, or may not be worthy of being there and that, for completeness, I have included in this post. Comments are always welcome, debate is healthy. At least I tried even if I got it wrong!

CSI Thayer’s

Regular readers will know of my search, ok obsession, with seeing Thayer’s Gull in Nova Scotia and how, quite recently (January-15th) I did, when one found by Alix d’Entremont at Dennis Point Wharf, Lower West Pubnico, made an evening appearance. That bird has been very elusive and only seen for certain on a handful of dates despite much gulling. I have tried for another view several times without success and I’ve searched our gull throng on CSI with similar luck, until today.

It being February 1st it was necessary to get out, just like any other day really. I have rather neglected CSI recently, making just quick sorties although having some luck. As I checked West Head, Newellton today it was mainly to get Glaucous Gull for the month and to see whether a recent Black-headed Gull was still around. It was snowing heavily when I arrived so I opted for car-bound observation. Scanning the gulls, I was drawn to an adult Iceland type gull. I say type as the regular Iceland Gulls are Kumlien’s, this one had a hint of nominate glaucoides about it. Proving it to be an Iceland Gull and not a Kumlien’s (and I am assuming you know what I mean here) required a decent view of the wings, preferably via a digital image, so I spent time snapping as it wheeled amongst the other gulls. I kept losing it and so switched to the bins to pick it up again. On the fourth such time I raised the bins and saw a Thayer’s Gull.

The Thayer’s was hard to track as it stayed on the opposite side of the pipe I was viewing, frequently drifting well out of sight. It took about five circuits of the bird before I got a wing shot which allowed me to see the diagnostic primary pattern. Then I made calls and set about getting more documentation, results below.

Mike arrived quickly and saw the bird well, Sandra a little later and missed it. I’m not sure whether Johnny got there was we started a search, meaning we left the main area, and may have missed him. Unfortunately the bird was nowhere around, and we looked hard for it, here are the photos. A careful analysis of the bill pattern by Alix strongly suggests it is the Pubnico bird, perhaps no surprise given that Thayer’s Gull is a genuine rarity in Nova Scotia.

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Earlier I saw this Herring Gull along Island Bait Road, very white headed as some are becoming now.

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The day before I’d had a bit of time at Dennis Point, here are a few photos with comments.

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Two different Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

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Above, a neat Kumilen’s. Below, the right hand bird looks interesting, same bird dipping showing just limited enthusiasm for being a Thayer’s.

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Below and inbetweener, best left at that, I didn’t see or photograph the open wings.

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Murre Massacre

On January 31st I came across a Common Murre (Guillemot) inside the dunes on Daniel’s Head, Cape Sable Island. eBird requires the species to be added to a Nova Scotia checklist but this past few weeks they have hardly been scarce. We are probably seeing the effect of the 24 hours south-easterly storm with driving rain as alcids just seem to at most sites.  The Daniel’s Head murre was a good photo op and so I sat in the car and waited for it to come to me on the falling tide.

It took a while for it to get the hang of things, slipping into the draining water off the large marsh before the bend in the road, and not the ocean entrance side either. It came past and photos were taken, then it zipped through the pipe and hopes were that it was on its way, albeit with a gull gauntlet to run. It got so far then paddled into a side pool, one that would soon be mud, and climbed out of the water. At this I tried to catch it, intending to take it to the ocean side where it at least stood a chance. It wasn’t having any of it though and scuttered out into the flow, last seen heading the right way.

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Today I was at West Head gull watching when I saw another Common Murre. This one was inside the wharf and was soon killed by a Great Black-Backed Gull. If I have seen this happen to two so far (I saw one meet the same fate about ten days ago) how many are perishing, Dovekies too? You wonder why they come inside and why they don’t dive and get the hell out of there when the big gulls notice them. Sad to see and the gulls have to eat too but you do feel for the murres.