Fall-out Day #3

The inevitable slowdown happened fairly quickly around Cape Sable Island, as birds amalgamated into flocks and went about being elusive most of the time. Nothing new appears to have arrived, although Indigo Bunting numbers are getting silly so perhaps they just are slipping in and joining their mates. I had a good spin around in the morning, enjoying what I saw, but decided to go a little further afield in the afternoon; dragging poor Sandra along so that she too could enjoy herself. We went off to check-out Blanche then a bit of Baccaro as the light went. If what we found was the metaphorical dregs of the event, then there must have been lots of birds there during the peak of the fall-out.

Starting at the beginning of the day, a look at West Head only gave up a couple of Indigo Buntings. Next was The Hawk where I re-saw most of yesterday’s birds and a Yellow-throated Vireo I’d missed. Indigo Buntings there had also increased some, especially in the weedy field at the end of The Hawk, this became the theme of the day. Here are the morning CSI shots.


As we turned into Blanche Road an Indigo Bunt flushed from the roadside, a good sign. We’d gone about a kilometre when a green bird flew quickly across the track, really very green. We stopped and made a noise but the green thing never reappeared, a bad sign. We carried on along the birdless track and ended up going almost the length of the road before the buggers decided to show. On the bend at the end, where the Alder scrub ends we teased out two Yellow-throated Warblers, two White-eyed Vireo and a couple of good warblers for the time of year, Blackburnian and Chestnut-sided to add to the other good warblers we’d already seen.

Heading back up the road we found a few more flocks and were even inspected by four Grey Jays. We’d not seen them along Blanche for some time and I suspect this bunch were hanging around a trailer that seems to have taken up residence and has a bird table.


West Blanche Road is always worth a quick look and we were not at all surprised to add another Yellow-throated Warbler to the tally. A yellow blob in a distant bush morphed into a Scarlet Tanager, pity it stayed distant.


Last off we decided to do the West Baccaro loop, finding more vireos and noticing more Indigo Bunts. We found little flocks everywhere, feeding right by the road. Our count just for Baccaro was 22 birds.


I thinks we will see the fall-out fade quite quickly now as conditions make it hard to see small birds. Whether those conditions bring another fall-out remains to be seen, the wind is howling outside and the call of the migrating Gannets tempts me back to Baccaro.

I’ve seen stuff on social media where people are worrying about the birds affected by the fall-out, don’t, most will reorient. Those that don’t may last the winter, most won’t. This is called evolution and it what took you all from being apes to being bigger, better dressed apes that can work keyboards. It is natural, it happens on a scale you cannot appreciate and it is part of life in the wild. If you must fret about birds, then go after those who deliberately destroy them – whether via habitat destruction for a few dollars more or just because the poop on their shiny cars or any one of a hundred things used as an excuse to kill them. Left alone the birds can take care of themselves.

For the record, here are my personal fall-out tallies for the past three days. I have tried to remove duplication but some of those Indigo Buntings look so very similar!

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 1; Eastern Wood-Pewee, 1+; White-eyed Vireo, 17; Yellow-throated Vireo, 3; Red-eyed Vireo, 4; Veery, 1; American Redstart, 4; Northern Parula, 14; Magnolia, 8; Blackpoll, 5; Black-and-White, 2; Cape May, 3; Tennessee, 1; Blackburnian, 1; Chestnut-sided, 1; Hooded, 1; Black-throated Blue, 2; Black-throated Green, 5; Palm, 2; Yellow-throated Warbler, 5; Scarlet Tanager, 1; Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 1; Indigo Bunting, 49. Plus a couple of Orange-crowned and a bunch of Yellow-rumped that are normally here now anyway.

At some point I may take a broader look at the mix of the fall-out, the where’s and why’s unless someone else has a go at trying to match the weather and the species to the event. Finally, we had so many birds in this corner of Nova Scotia that all available birders were kept busy, Pity there was nobody on Seal Island to add their counts to the totals, it should have been even better than Bon Portage and that is saying something, what did we miss!


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