I realise I’ve been a bit absent from this blog recently, been busy as they say. It’s also fair to say that I have barely waved the camera at anything, mostly because the weather has been breezy and the birds reluctant to star.
One little project I’ve been working on is uploading bird songs and calls to eBird. Via the magic of Audacity, a sound manipulation app, I find I can extract all sorts of burps and grunts from video taken at various tropical places. Mostly the identification is straightforward, especially when the songster is front-centre of the video clip in question. The problem arises when you are in a jungle scenario and up to ten species can be bellowing at once. Again, some can be easy and we should all thank the Great Kiskadee for telling it like it is; not sure what I mean? This link http://www.xeno-canto.org/ will take you to Xeno-Canto where you can enter Great Kiskadee in their search engine and listen to their song from many places around the tropics, you’ll soon get what I mean.
So now I have the problem of a stack of songs and calls to identify from Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico east and west and Belize. Some of them are clearly enunciated and you would think a doddle to sort out. Others are rapids cheeps and the like and will probably remain in my ‘mysteries’ file ad-infinitum. I could add them to Xeno-Canto, they have a mysteries section, and hope someone familiar with the regions comes up with a name but, despite not having musical hearing – something those who can remember songs and calls must have, I prefer to keep digging until I crack it.
Locally, that is Cape Sable Island with tendrils as far as Yarmouth, the birding has naturally slowed. Because of the weather you have to dig deep to find anything but there are still the odd good sub-rarity out there and, who knows, just around the corner might be another ‘big one’. One bird we did go for was a Marsh Wren at Broadbrook Park in Yarmouth. It was blowing a gale but the bird still came out to play giving good views but no photo opportunities, hopefully I’ll get another crack at that one when it is less windy, say in June!
Around CSI Bonaparte’s can be uncommon at times. Recently a few have been lingering on Daniel’s Head, sometimes coming close too. I saw 11 there on Nov-19, 2017 so perhaps we are going to have a few hanging about for a while. I find very white birds a pain to photograph, the white balance never quite gets it right. This one, a bird of the year which I used to call first-winter but is now re-branded as hatch-year.
The fall-out brought lots of Indigo Buntings ad, naturally, some found our yard irresistible. At one point recently we had three together, then two and finally, just the one but it too has now departed. I had expected at least one to hang in there until November 30th, then to go overnight before making the winter list – that is the usual course of action for such winter list prizes.
On Nov-19th we had a belter of a south-easterly wind event, short lived but productive. Coupled with the variable but inevitably falling temperatures, Razorbills were on the move. I was a bit late getting to Baccaro but still counted 1418 going south in tight little packs. Black-legged Kittiwakes were moving too (444) and Red-throated Loons (117), all in the space of two hours. I also had an odd bird, logged as a shearwater sp., the photos are awful but it does look odd and behave quite differently too but you can never underestimate the effect the wind can have. On the day (Nov-19) it was actually 16°C, possibly a record for the date, and was part of a weather system that we are all hoping will deliver something good, again.
Here is a shot of one of the Razorbill packs plus the odd bird.
Around Daniel’s Head there have been three Great Egrets, just about a flock. Today (Nov-20) they were all lined up and I got a few shots of all three together. I don’t care much for photographing large herons and egrets – too big for the frame – but I suppose I’d get over it for a NS Jabiru!
And now some odd shots.
I just like this feeding Dunlin.
While out looking for a Yellow-breasted Chat we came across two Orange-crowned Warblers, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a Northern Parula, my latest ever.
We seem to have several Ipswich Savannah Sparrows hanging around Daniel’s Head. All have been scrutinised for coloured bands, part of the study in this endemic breeder, all were lacking.
A Turkey Vulture attending one of the many dumped deer carcasses, this one was at Bunkers Island, as was the Pied-billed Grebe below, quite late for one.
eBird adds, late Barn Swallows (3), Daniel’s Head Nov-20. Below, a Killdeer, Bull Head Wharf.
A not very good shot of the Summer Tanager that hung around Kenney Road for over a week recently.