The wind is a howling and the trees doing their swaying thing again as we sit here, snug, but wondering what the ongoing ‘weather-bomb’ is going to bring. Already we have seen the highest water from a tide that we’ve experienced here, exacerbated no doubt by the ice-dams and storm surge, it didn’t quite get across the road though – this time. It is funny the way the media reports the impending, or more accurately now ongoing storm. Very US biased with just four lines devoted to Canada and that was the BBC. I suppose it is too much to hope that the storm is selective in the US and the 49% of decent people will be spared any damage, the other 51%, well, who cares?
Here in Canada we get on with it. Deck furniture has been moved and resources stock-piled for three days of independent survival, just as we are advised to do. It will mean catastrophic disconnection from the Internet, but we are children of the late 50s/early 60s so I expect we’ll cope. The poor birds are again having it tough. Following a prolonged and at times brutal period of below freezing temperatures, now they have to try to feed in these conditions; and then roost when 135km winds are expected to come along and try to blow them out of the trees. Those that make it through the night will no doubt be grateful for the slightly better weather to come.
We did get along to Yarmouth on January-2nd, finding a few of the hoped for birds including Barrow’s Goldeneye – doc shot below, and Eastern Bluebird. The weather was a bit iffy though and driving untreated roads a challenge. Even the highway was a mess, but we did see one plough out but no sign of any gritting though, perhaps they don’t use rock salt here. Our route home took in a quick look for the Thayer’s Gull at Pubnico (I know, a heresy, I used the T word and now the ABA will take out a contract on me). No Thayer’s but a few nice Iceland Gulls in various stages of denial.
Earlier we had lunch on one of the Yarmouth wharves and a male Surf Scoter came close enough to be immortalised. It has been a scotery (made up word) spell recently with a nice, male White-winged posing at Daniel’s Head posing for photos.
This last and rather crappy photo shows a Ring-billed Gull at Dennis Point Wharf with a well-defined hood and a hint of red in the bill. Nothing else is odd about it but I’ve never seen such a uniform hood on one before, the red might be an artifact of bad light. At some point I’ll wander back and try for better shots. Note the white eyelids too, a hint of Laughing Gull perhaps?
On the last day of 2017 hostilities, Mike found a passive Great Horned Owl by the side of the busy road that goes to the Oak Park connector. It sat for a couple of hours as appreciative birders slowed for a look. I even managed a five second window without a truck up my ass (come on boys, you’re slipping!) to grab a couple of snaps. In a coincidental twist, a Great Horned Owl was calling from the yard at around 11pm, no repeats in the New Year yet but there is hope.
In my stat post I didn’t give you all of the figures. On Cape Sable Island I managed 247 species in 2017, bettering my CSI big year score of 235 in 2016 by 12, something to go at again in 2018. My bird days, bolstered by a 365 birding day year, went up to 9287, while my eBird checklists rose to 12488. The bird days figure is lacking a few from the early years but, to reach that figure starting now, you would have to go out birding every day for 26.25 years, off you go!
Finally, thanks to all who have enjoyed this blog, who read it regularly and some who no doubt shake their heads and ask ‘did he really write that’! I do this for fun, I’m glad I occasionally entertain, and/or irritate and I’m grateful to those of you who take time to comment, good or bad. I hope the blog content in 2018 remains up to scratch, tell me if it isn’t – Mark.