It Just Gets Better

Despite the wind changing its direction frequently, giving migration no real continuity or predictability, the birds ignored everything and pushed on in anyway. We dipped a Wood Thrush on April-29th at Pinkney’s Point, but its presence was fuel for optimism. This morning a call from Johnny about a female Purple Martin on The Hawk, CSI had me scooting Hawkwards hoping to see it. On arrival it had flown, they do that, and so a search began. I chanced upon it along Atwood Road sitting on wires, interestingly another three males had joined it. Murphy’s Law saw the guy who lived in the house adjacent just happened to choose that moment to drive out, flushing the lot.

The birds went all directions but the female flew around the immediate area and landed briefly, allowing doc-shots. The others dispersed and were only seen fleetingly elsewhere. Purple Martin is not at all common in Nova Scotia although these were number five to nine for me so far.

In the course of the search, I had a Sharp-shinned Hawk breeze past me and off over the trees. Later I found what was presumably the same bird, getting up close and personal with a recently retired Starling. The two smaller accipiters are both found in our area now, Sharpie being the commonest by far but you have to consider both, and the feeding bird was quite big. I suspected it to be an immature Sharpie female on size, the big eye and the thick, quite blotchy breast streaking are good features. If seeing hawks eating prey upsets you, well, try to get over it, life and death happens.

After the Hawk tour, I opted for checking through to West Head on the way home to see whether the martins had changed their scenery. I always check the little pools there and did so today hoping to come across a Lesser Yellowlegs, we are due. Pool one was a bust but pool two had a very smart Little Blue Heron pottering around snatching tiddlers with aplomb. I managed a few shots before it wandered further away and other birders arrived to share the enjoyment. We didn’t get twitchable one on CSI last year, my last was 2015 at Mike and Sandra’s place, so seeing this bird and especially it being an adult, was most welcome. This was also a self-found in Nova Scotia for me.

On April-29th I dropped into the parking lot at the head of Cripple Creek just for a quick scan. Luck was on my side and this Belted Kingfisher pair actually played the game, well partly. Against the light the photos are not too bad, but when one landed on a wharf piling I gave it a go. Window down and driving slowly I managed to grab shots on the move before it inevitably panicked and fled.


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