Monday 15 June 2015

The Bay of Fundy "Little Big Year" Part 17

Morning Feb 9 2015 The Bay of Fundy

Leaving Grand Manan I headed past St John and then along the coastal road to Fundy National Park. Apart from one viewpoint it held little interest although this covered bridge did make me hit the brakes and screech to a halt.

Sawmill Creek Bridge. 1905
Now part of a coastal walking path system stretching across the Maritimes.

A few miles past the bridge along windy country roads was Shepody Marsh where a vagrant Caracara was spotted a few days earlier. I looked but could't locate it. Most probably it is making its way back south after being blown off course during a recent weather system. It had been photographed near the Gaspe a week earlier unless of course there were two birds.

 I however shoot this Merlin from the car window with the P900. 

Not all was lost. I was really searching for a Nelson’s Sparrow and Shepody had the perfect habitat. Low lying marsh with sufficient grass for the birds to hide and nest in. The first chip, chip I heard was the Swamp Sparrow. I did get a few shots that I am very happy with but it wasn’t the main reason for birding the East coast.

Swamp Sparrow

Finally I saw a pair of sparrows darting around then fluttering about twenty feet above the ground similar to Skylarks. This had to be them. Their bright ochre coloured faces gave them away so when there was no action I resorted to playing a call. That worked a treat, within seconds, 4 birds, perhaps two pairs came to investigate. Rather than flying in they crawled through the grass to check out what all the fuss was about.

Nelson's Sparrow

One thing I am learning is that to find the bird you really have to understand their needs first and often the most unlikely looking places make perfect habitats.

I had one more chance of a shot when another Nelson's landed near my van. It was early in the morning, dull and drizzle so I used a flash to get these shots after a number of  futile attempts with available light.

As I left the marsh and travelled through some pretty countryside I passed beautiful turn of the century homes, quaint villages and many wineries.
On a whim I followed a deep rutted, bone shaking minor road to Cape Enrage. Sometimes that is the best way to travel. As it turned out I found fossils on the beach, Snowshoe Hares and American Redstarts.

"It's never too late stop start birding"

John Gordon
BC Canada

1 comment: