As expected, day 2+ of the 2017 fall-out was again full of birds. When these things happen the event can last for some time as weaker birds take longer to restore their vitality ready for the push to get back on track. Some won’t, they’ll be too knackered and will settle for trying to sit it out, meaning that the Christmas count may contain a surprise or two, potentially. When birds arrive as they have, they are spread over a wide area. True, offshore islands will concentrate the birds, we can only speculate how many ended up on Seal, logically the first landfall during the arrival, but the majority will be spread like ink spattered across a sheet of paper. As they re-orient, some will just leave but many will filter south to further boost the birds already present, it is a good time to live on Cape Sable Island!
I started my day intending to check places that had been left alone on Oct-27th, our very busy day #1 of the fall-out. I started with Stoney Island Beach Road, logically just as likely to hold birds as anywhere. A quick White-eyed Vireo confirmed my suspicion, followed by this Yellow-throated Warbler, my first self-found in NS.
On Oct-27 Mike had glimpsed a flycatcher around Kenney Road, Southside end. My next mission was to see and photograph the bird. Late flycatchers hint strongly at something more exotic and I was hoping we might have a Dusky as one had been found on Bon Portage, close enough to CSI to spit on with the right wind behind you. I had to wait a bit and I tried various subtle call attractants before I got something. It was a pewee but which one? The extent of the yellow on the lower mandible suggests Eastern so I stuck with that, for now.
A little peek behind d’Eons Fishing Supplies added more Indigo Buntings to my day list but not much else. Pity the deep water pit is off-limits, there will certainly be birds there.
Next was Plastic Factory Road, a site currently being infested by boat projects but we work around them. Here the playing of chatter calls pulled in another White-eyed Vireo and a Yellow-throated too, otherwise it was a bit bird-light.
I had been hearing of roaming warbler flocks around The Hawk, said to number millions but more grounded sources confirmed that, while there was indeed a good number, it may have been rather exaggerated in size. Another draw that way was a report of a swift species, with Chimney the only logical choice. On Smith Lane the Western Kingbird greeted me after having taken a long-weekend away. The bushes were rustling and I son latched on to another Yellow-throated Warbler, two more White-eyed Vireo and a supporting cast of Indigos, Parulas, Blackpolls etc.
My last stop before refuelling was on Atwood where I sat for an hour as birds just moved around me. Nothing spectacular but Tennessee was nice. Pity the Turkey Vulture flock didn’t have a Black Vulture in there, I hear they are getting commoner in NS if your lucks in!
After lunch I went back to Daniel’s Head and communed with the Hooded Warbler for a while. I noticed it had a damaged bill but it was feeding actively and calling too. I managed to get a recording which is not on my eBird checklist. I wanted to see yesterday’s Yellow-billed Cuckoo again, preferably through my viewfinder but all I saw was a glimpse that may have been it, a pewee found earlier by Paul Gould was still around though and with a bit of graceful stalking I got a few shots. Last off I looked at the sea where only one Cory’s Shearwater was to be seen. I did see two Pomarine Jaegers beating the crap out of a Black-legged Kittiwake though so that was nice. Day #3 is upon us now. I’m hoping for a Summer Tanager, maybe I’ll drive to Yarmouth if yesterday’s Blue-winged Warbler shows or maybe something wow will find CSI a good place to rest for a while. With a big fall-out you just never know.
Here are some shots of the pewee. I reserve judgement on this one as the extensively dark lower mandible and rather uniform underparts hint at other things. Comments welcome. Apologies for any errors, this was ‘stream of consciousness’ writing as Sandra calls it! Can’t stop now, it’s getting light.