Welcome to Quoddy Link's Bird Blog! A place to report the many bird species sighted while aboard the Quoddy Link. Sightings are recorded by the skilled interpreters aboard the Quoddy link's whale watching catamaran that frequents the areas around Campobello Island, Deer Island and Grand Manan. For more information about our company, or to make a reservation on one of our trips please visit our main site at www.quoddylinkmarine.com. If you have any comments our questions, or would like to add your own sighting please respond by adding a comment in the comments section below each post or email nickjameshawkins@gmail.com. Thanks and enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22nd

Arctic terns with juvenile
Manx shearwater
Sooty shearwater
Atlanic puffin
Black guillemot
Semipalmated sandpiper
Great blue heron
Northern gannet
Bald eagle
Common loon
Black legged kittiwake
Bonapartes gull

The day started out with an adult PEREGRINE FALCON perched atop the power tower on Macmaster Island. This was my first peregrine of the year, I usually see them quite often later in the season.

We then made our way east of Whitehorse island where we were treated to a spectacle of feeding shearwaters and alcids. Lots of MANX shearwater as well as the less numerous sooty shearwater, no great shearwaters today. Puffins, razorbills and murres were diving below the flocks of gulls, not to mention the large adult fin whale that lunged so close to the boat I could have jumped right into his mouth! It was quite a privilege to witness such a display.

There was a notable increase in the number of arctic terns in these feeding groups. Terns only join when the herring is small enough for them; about 3 inches, which is sometimes called "brit". They are very noisy, constantly vocalizing while diving down to pluck the small fish from the waves. I looked for common terns but all the terns seemed to be arctic terns. I even spotted a juvenile perched atop floating piece of wood.

Juvenile arctic tern
Herring gull feeding over a ball of small herring, also known as "brit"
Of particular excitement to me was my first sighting of a common murre that displayed the "bridled" phenotype (morph). I had seen it in my bird guide but before today had never actually spotted a bird in the field. All the murres I have seen have been all black on the head. I did some reading and found out some interesting information about this example of polymorphism, when a single species shows multiple forms or morphs. The "bridled" form is only seen in Atlantic birds and is more common the more north you go, where the breeding range of thick-billed murre and common murre overlap. This may be a way for birds to better recognize members of their own species when breeding in dense colonies that contain both thick-billed murres and common murres (Research "character displacement" for more on this phenomenon). Since thick-billed murres do not breed in the Bay of Fundy, there is less chances of confusion amongst the two species and the bridled morph is less prevalent. Isn't nature incredible? Anyway, enough of the evolutionary gibber y-ju. Here's a pic...

Common murre, "bridled" morph

On the evening trip I had a quick flyby of what I am quite sure was 10-15 semipalmated sandpipers, I managed to pick out one SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, which is my first of season.

Thanks to Beverley and Mark Schneider for coming with us on this mornings trip, it's always nice to have some experienced naturalists out there who enjoy the birds as much as I do!


  1. Somewhere around 12%-15% of the Murres found at the breeding colony on Machias Seal Island are BRIDLED MURRES.
    It's reasonable to speculate that the same proportion holds true for the general population in this Fundy Isles region.

    1. Thanks for the info Ralph, i'll start recording the proportion that I see in this part of the bay and see if it is the same as at the breeding colony

  2. After a wonderful weekend kayaking with Seascape earlier this month, I'm back home in NY. But I want you to know how much I am enjoying this blog and the way it's continuing to make me feel connected to your beautiful part of the world. Thank you!

    1. Thanks! I used to work for Seascape, I am glad that you enjoyed your visit to the bay.