Seriously, who wouldn’t want to drive three hours to a sewage plant to look at a gull? Well, as a treat I took Sandra, along with Mike, to just such a place after Jake Walker had found a Franklin’s Gull in summer plumage at the Wolfville facility. It had been seen plucking the previously enjoyed minutia off the rippling surface of the water, liquid that had been passed by many as being previously fit for consumption. We went along in hope of seeing the gull and there and, although it would often wander off a bit, it had been regularly returning to enjoy the subtle piquancy of all those off-yellow Sweetcorn kernels, energetically careening around the lively surface of sewage bed two.
Such trips are always fun, as you see so much of life away from the sophistication of the Banana Belt, such as the guy with the truck towing a yard trailer, a thing (the trailer)carefully engineered to withstand the stress of being pulled by a ride-on mower at breakneck speeds of up to 10kmph. The truck driver, a fine example of a spirit unburdened by thoughts of Elfin Safety, pulled the thing at speeds of up to 100kmph, fully loaded with a cast-iron stove and chimney. You can only think it is a matter of time before he licks a live wire and the whole, interesting trip down an evolutionary dead-end reaches its inevitable conclusion. As it was, I overtook him as fast as I could, not wishing to bear witness to a most obvious impending event, the departure of toy trailer from truck, much to the disappointment of those following.
We got to the sewage plant only to find our boy had scooted out onto the expanse of mud, seaward side. Gulls dotted the distant view and it was not long before we had the dusky dot lined up in the scope. The tide was rising and it was only a matter of time before it came back, but how much time? You can only say that it looks like it is getting restless so often before you give up and set off back. We were moments from that unhappy time when it did come back and did its thing. The light was a tad against us, so mantle colour was hard to get true but it did perform well and was very much enjoyed. Franklin’s may be a common species in parts of North America but in the north-east is rightly prized.
As predicted, the good birding brought about by the arrival of spring and complimentary south-westerly airflow continued to provide. The residence of Johnny and Sandra Nickerson in Lower Clark’s Harbour once again attracted a good bird, this Eastern Towhee on April 14th, thanks for the call Johnny.
The same day Sandra and I had a short tour of CSI and came up with a late Horned Lark in the yard off Fish Plant Road, only the second I’ve seen this year on CSI.
I think we can expect year birds to come thick and fast from now until the end of May. No doubt some will be rarities, hopefully most won’t be three hour away but, if they are, you can be sure that there will be something en-route to entertain, such as the large roadside sign outside a charity store in New Minas requesting, in all innocence, that you drop your clothes there. Given that the trailer usage innovator was not too far away, I would not bet against a well-meaning bare ass making CBC Nova Scotia news as clothes were indeed, dropped and traffic interuped.