Sunday, Aug-27th Sandra and I went to sea on (yet) another pelagic, this time off Sambro Island near Halifax. We steamed out of Herring Cove around 07:00 intending for a five or so hours jaunt hoping for perhaps skuas and jaegers, maybe even a tropicbird. The sea was benign and the birds only moderately cooperative but that didn’t matter as our happy crew of 12 including the Skipper, Kevin. Once out where birds were appearing, apart from Northern Gannets which were ubiquitous, Sean took on the sole chumming duties, I stuck a fish oil drip off the back and we settled in to see what we attracted.
Kevin told us that the water had cooled somewhat recently, we reckoned that might affect the chances of a warm water rarity, they are not known for the resilience to chilly Nova Scotia waters. It was surprising to see so many Red-necked Phalaropes out there, cork-bobbing everywhere we went. Wilson’s Storm-petrels paid a few visits and we had a go with the fish oil/Rice Crispy mix but there we so few petrels out there that the chances of a swarm were remote. Shearwaters appeared with Greats showing off feet from us while the more wary, or perhaps just aloof, Cory’s gave us some good looks but didn’t join in the chum scrabble.
We got back in around 14:00, no on was sick and the birds we did see we saw pretty well. Thank to Diane and Sean for the organisation and chumming and to Kevin, our cheerful and very accommodating Skipper for the trip. Here are a few shots from the day. Looks like I’ll have to wait to get that elusive Great Skua for my North America list.
Red-necked Phalaropes above including quite a white looking one.
A few Wilson’s Storm-Petrels danced on the chum slick.
Mardy baby Great Shearwaters, you’ll know what I mean if you’ve been up close and heard them squeal over a fish head.
Cory’s Shearwater, an elegant flyer.
The day before the pelagic, we had motored up to the Halifax area and stopped over. While there we twitched a Diane and Sean find, a Baird’s Sandpiper in Sandy Cove. It played very nicely, as you can see. Unfortunately, a Western Kingbird that they found that morning chose to wander
A few shots of the Sandy Cove Baird’s.
A Solitary Sandpiper, just the one present.
Today, Aug-28th Myself, Ronnie and Mike again availed ourselves of Warren’s Cape service and had a good three hour wander. It was less birdy than the trip of a couple of days ago, due to the north-easterly airflow mainly. We did manage a few nice things, including three Baird’s Sandpipers that settled down nicely once we’d seen off a Merlin. Warblers were sparse with only a brief Cape May in The Forest. We saw three Buff-breasted Sandpipers but there may have been more. Later I checked The Hawk seeing a couple of Hudsonian Godwits, then I went to Daniel’s Head hoping that a Caspian Tern seen the previous day would come back, it didn’t. Once again I am up to date! The year list in NS stands at 264, still some way short of last year’s 281 but getting there. On CSI and the year list I’m definitely not doing, 219 and counting.
Baird’s on The Cape.
If you stand still some Short-billed Dowitchers will come and stand next to you.
The drab end of the Cape May Warbler spectrum.
One of many Savannah Sparrows on The Cape.