Pelagic Training

As August nears, thoughts turn to the Pubnico Pelagic (11-Aug this year), a highlight in many birders’ calendar. Getting to see sea birds close is always a treat, it is a break from the regular, something that might only happen once or twice a year so encounters are always to be relished. Sea birds are enigmatic, their evolutionary niche is largely inhospitable to us and observing them is often a challenge and so when the offer was made to go out on a Seining trip off Brier, it was a no-brainer to go and get my pelagic eyes (and brain, a debateable area) into sea bird mode in prep for the Pubnico jaunt, so I did.

Thanks are due to Ellis and Ronnie for making the trip possible, and the Captain who was happy to accommodate a couple of nutcase birders in his place of work. We sailed out of Yarmouth at 5pm on 19-Jul, 2018 and got back the next morning around 08:40. Going out, we travelled north to Brier and then ended up off Grande Manan in the dark, so no New Brunswick list additions to be had. I did hourly checklists which covered roughly ten kilometers at sea at a time. The first hour was predictably quiet but, as we neared Brier, the action started and continued until dusk imposed a natural curfew. We enjoyed a pretty good species list considering that we were fairly early in the sea bird season, nothing mega but lots to enjoy.

We saw: Northern Gannet, Cory’s, Manx, Great and Sooty Shearwater. Leach’s and Wilson’s Storm-Petrel. Red and Red-necked Phalarope, Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, Black Guillemot and Common Murre. We had one Pomarine and two Parasitic Jaegers (with two more, probably parasitic) plus sundry gulls and cormorants. We had a breaching Humpback, pods of Atlantic White-sided Dolphins, lots of Grey Seals and Harbour Porpoise and four Sunfish, two of which showed very well.

Photo ops were limited but, here are a selection.

On Cape Sable Island a nice treat recently was a Little Blue Heron that Johnny and Sandra found on ponds by Island Bait Road – a lovely adult. A few days later, Cal Kimola Brown pulled a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron out of the hat in Stumpy Cove, two good year list birds for the year list I’m not doing on CSI.


My mothing continues unabated and I’ve posted more images, uncaptioned, to my moth pages. Go browse if you are interested, I will caption when I get a moment.


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