20+ ATLANTIC PUFFINS
5+ WILSON'S STORM PETREL Razorbill
5+ Northern Gannets
Black Legged Kittiwakes
The LAUGHING GULL on the 23rd was sighted in head harbour passage, next to Casco island. It vocalized briefly and then flew over the boat in the direction of Eastport, Maine. This is my first laughing gull seen aboard the Quoddy, and in Canada in general, although I am quite familiar with them in Costa Rica.
The MANX SHEARWATER, POMARINE JAEGER and WILSON"S STORM PETRELS seen on the 25th were in the area Northeast of Grand Manan, close to the ferry track. I have only previously recorded one Manx Shearwater in the area. Manx shearwaters can be told apart from the similar greater shearwater by their smaller size, extensive white underside and entirely dark black brown back and wings.
Puffins have been unusually abundant in the area. We rarely see puffins, with most sightings occuring later in the season once they have left Machias Seal Island after breeding. Although a few were spotted in the western passage, near Deer Island, most were spotted out between the Wolves and Grand Manan. Most birds were singles or in small groups of 2-3 birds. If anyone has any ideas as to why so many puffins are in the area I would love to hear your thoughts. For anyone looking to spot some puffins, the Grand Manan ferry would be a good place to go, as this is the general area where most of the birds were spotted.
Breeding on White Horse Island is well underway, with the usual gull species, cormorants and guillemots. Black legged Kittiwakes appeared busy collecting nest material and many single birds are sitting on nests. With an incubation period between 23-32 days these birds are likely on eggs, as last year I noted newly hatched chicks on the 13th of July. A few Razorbill pairs have been hanging out very close to the island, and may be breeding although no evidence has been seen. The black guillemots mostly nest on the western side of the island, away from the gulls so maybe a few razorbills are nesting there as well.
|Nesting black-legged Kittiwakes|
This unusually colored female eider was also on Whitehorse, I havn't seen one with so much white on it's head before. Any ideas?
|Atypical plumage in female Common Eider|
A flock of about 45 young Bonaparte's gulls were seen offshore near Grand Manan. Bonaparte's gulls are a two year gull and these second year birds can be identified from the young black legged kittiwakes by their smaller size, dark trailing edge of the wing and the dark carpal bar (forearm) and lack of the black collar seen in young kittiwakes.
|Flock of Bonaparte's Gulls|
I haven't seen many eider broods, aside from this one that spends most of it's time around the wharf in St.Andrews. It started with about 8 young and is now down to 4. This morning I found a dead duckling near the wharf. The bald eagles often try to get the young, although I have not yet seen them be successful.
|Brood of Common Eiders|
That's it for now. We will start with our daily scheduled trips soon and I hope to keep this blog well updated with new sightings. Feel free to comment and or send me an e-mail at email@example.com. Your comments and input are much appreciated.