Another sunny day and two ferry rides from the mainland. First to Grand Manan Island and then to Whitehead Island, home of author and Birdpal Roger Burrows. Roger has worked for Parks Canada and is also a skilled naturalist, interpretive planner and avifaunal consultant. He also runs bird tours from his cottage on Whitehead Island.
Roger suggested that I look out for alcids on the way over from the mainland and soon into the trip I spotted four Razorbills, a Minke Whale and a pod of Harbour Porpoises.
|Herring Gulls follow a lobster boat,|
For every Black-backed Gull there are ten Herring Gulls.
Cormorant, Black Guilimot and thirty or so Common Eider. This male bird flew past during the thirty minute trip to the island (pop125)
It was here on the Grand Manan archipelago that the last pairs of Eider Duck were protected form certain extiction so valuable were their feathers and down in Victorian times.
As we arrived at Whitehead Harbour several groups of Common Eider, maybe thirty birds, both male and female were feeding along the Dulce beds.
|This male was quite a way but better have an ID shot than nothing.|
At Grand Manan I first went to Castalia Marsh to look for Nelson’s Sparrow, a had a quick glimpse but will have to go back on my way to the mainland. The next stop was a long shot. A Yellow-crowned Night Heron had been seen feeding behind a church, I could't find it plus it was in the middle of the afternoon and there had probably been too much activity around the area by then. I’ll have to try again (Never did see it)
|Lobster fishermen keep their catch here until time for market|
Then it was off to Cap Southern Head where Basalt cliffs rise 300 feet out of the Bay of Fundy. Down below Black Guilimots could be seen fishing. Even with my super zoom P900 they were still too far away, besides I get terrible vertigo when I lean over the edges of cliffs.
|Basalt column rise 100 metres out the ocean.|
|Common Eider with chicks.|
|Roger has published 10 books include Birding in New Brunswick and Birds of Atlantic Canada.|
|Black-throated Green Warbler|
It too, like the Lake Superior bird was taken metres from the shore on a rocky outcrop covered in stunted conifers.
The time to leave the island and continue my journey but not before wondering how John James Audubon came to the very bay of the above picture to observe tree nesting Herring Gulls. Normally Herring Gulls nest on secluded beaches, apparently there were so many gulls during Audubon's time they adapted the unusual behaviour, an interesting enough phenomenon to pique the interest of Audubon and draw him to the island. Now I am going to have to find the painting he made and perhaps frame it as a memory.
For more about the island
I left the island with a few more Canadian lifers* (26 on this X Country trip)
*Greater-black Backed Gull
and 7 new birds for my 2015 Canada list
Great Egret #264
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