Thursday 2 July 2015

PEI A Quick Visit "Mini Big Year" Part 21

June 19/20 2015 Prince Edward Island. Sunny.

It was with a certain feeling of exitement that I finally arrived at my last Maritime destination, Prince Edward Island. Leaving New Brunswick I made my way over the 13 km/8 mile long Confederation Bridge. Grey clouds welcomed me after the remnants of a tropical storm continued to blow through the Maritimes.

Confederation Bridge.
My first destination was Charlottetown for the night. After a quick look around the historic city I made my way to East Point and its historic lighthouse. Miracles, the sun came out for me. East Point Lighthouse is one of PEI's best known attractions. Built in 1867 by William MacDonald, his two sons and a blacksmith. MacDonald went on to build many more structures, many of which are now heritage buildings. I went on to visit a number of lighthouses, some of which have been turned into B&B.

*Note: I will be presenting an hour long presentation of the trip at Langley's Muriel Arnason Library in September for those who would like to see a little more of the trip.

By this time the foliage had grown in and many of the song birds were on the nest and hard to see so I resorted to sightseeing.

East Point Lighthouse and strange sign. Guess what the other side says! 

On the tip of the island Common Eiders gathered to moult and will be in eclipse plumage for several weeks. The upwelling of nutrients make the area rich in food and good place for the ducks to take haven. Just off-shore, large rafts of Black Scoter and other seas ducks could be seen through a scope but too far and out of range for camera shots. Black Duck, scores of non-breeding Double-crested Cormorants, Herring and Ring-billed Gulls were closer to shore, taking advantage of the pounding waves that have carved off large sections of cliff face. A few buildings associated with the lighthouse have already been swallowed up by the ocean.

Wind and wave action is slowing eroding away the grounds of the lighthouse.
Immature Double Crested Cormorants gather at the tip of the island where there is a plentiful food supply.
Both shots above and below P900 at 2000mm. All other scenics P900.

Just off shore Herring Gulls and Common Eider bob in the waves . 

These fields will have potatoes sprouting soon but for now the colours create an interesting pattern.. 
I then drove along the East coast of the Island to a mixed decidious stand of trees where another birder suggested I check for the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.
Sure enough the trees were full of Yellow and Magnolia Warblers and thousands of nasty blood sucking mosquitos. These pictures were taken in haste as I was determined not to sucked dry of blood after my recent Newfoundland experience.

Red-eyed Vireo. ( both bird pictures Tamron 150mm-600mm D7000)

I set up to photograph whatever I could find, did some phissing and right away this Red-eyed Vireo popped out of the forest to see what all the fuss was about.

There was no mention of the swarms of mosquitos in the PEI visitors guide but eventually they drove me crazy and I decided to play the flycatcher's call. I checked for marauding crows or cowbirds, there were none around so with the Yellow-bellied call playing it didn't take long for this beautiful bird to show. The colours of the dappled sunlight filtering through the leaves and bathed the bird in a brilliant yellow and green.
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
The 33rd lifer for the trip and a bird not found in the BC. 

The red soil of PEI is famous for its potato crops, there is even a potato museum.

This Red fox is still loosing its winter coat in June only to grow new one in September.

This Snowshoe Hare will also turn white with advent of winter.
I did take in an evening of traditional folk music which made for a great evening's entertainment. 
It was a whirlwind visit of Canada and now I will take a breath and start my way back through Quebec, along the St Lawrence to Ottawa and the spectacular scenery of the Canadian Shield. I also plan to video the Chimney Swifts in Sault St Marie. Who knows what I'll find but the past eight weeks has been an amazing experience and it's not over yet.
My other plans are to bird the Manitoba Grasslands in the south-west part of the province where there is still remnants of the original grasslands that have never been ploughed. I plan to look for Sprague's Pipit and the Grasshopper Sparrow.
After that I plan to spend Canada Day in Regina Beach if that is I can see the parade for smoke as forest fires in NWT, and Alberta have blanketed all the Prairies in a thick layer of smoke severely reducing visibility.

"It's never too late to start birding"
John Gordon
BC Canada


  1. lovely PEI shots!
    I love PEI one of my fave provinces in Canada love Cavendish in particular.

  2. ps beautiful red-eyed vireo shot