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!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Aug. 2nd- Aug 4th

JAEGER sp. (see photo)
First 3 RUDDY TURNSTONES of the season
First Black legged kittiwake juveniles
Arctic terns
Common terns
Common eider
Sooty shearwater
Great shearwater
Wilson's Storm petrel
Atlantic puffins including first young of the year
Common murres
Northern Gannet
Bonaparte’s gull
Common loons
Great Blue Heron
Activity continues to build around head harbour passage with hundreds of terns being the most recent arrivals, mostly arctic terns with juveniles but also some common terns as well. Bonaparte's gulls and kittiwakes number in the several of hundreds if not more as they feed in the strong currents. I have also noticed young of the year bonaparte's and kittiwakes are beginning to show up. 

Bonaparte's gulls roosting on Casco island
Shearwaters and alcids remain abundant both offshore and inshore near head harbour passage. MANX shearwaters are still the dominant shearwater, with fewer numbers of great and sooty. Still lots of puffins around with fewer numbers of razorbills and murres. Northern gannets have also increased in numbers. 
Sooty shearwater with Manx shearwater in background

Great shearwater

Atlantic puffins
Over the last few days, large schools of herring off of black's harbour have attracted many gulls, terns, shearwaters and alcids in addition to several adult fin whales. These feeding groups make for exciting days out on the water. There were also small numbers of wilson's storm petrel among the birds and whales.

Breeding activity on Whtehorse island is coming to a close. In the last couple weeks nearly all of the kittiwake nests have disappeared? The ledges that once held nests are now empty with a few remains of nesting material. The kittiwakes are now roosting on ledges around the island and on some tours they are completely absent. I don't think that any kittiwake chicks successfully fledged from whitehorse this year, and find it very strange that the nests disappeared in such a short period of time. Bald eagles are still hanging around to snatch up any late fledgling gulls...

Juvenile bald eagle with prey
On August 4th I spotted two PARASITIC JAEGERS harassing feeding groups of terns off of black's harbour, both were dark morph adults.  The image below is a composite image made of five separate exposures showing a parasitic jaeger stealing a fish from a young arctic tern.

Parasitic jaeger stealing from Arctic tern
The first young of the year ATLANTIC PUFFIN was seen on Aug. 4th 

Juvenile Puffin
Also on Aug. 4th...a PEREGRINE falcon was perched atop the power tower on Macmaster Island

Also of interest is an increase in the number of great blue herons feeding around the islands, this species was fairly absent up until now.

I will leave you with a photo of a jaeger species that I photographed on Aug. 4th. The bird was a long way off. I could notice the distinctive jaeger flight but was unable to ID through the binoculars. I am curious if anyone can ID this bird with certainty and what features they are looking at. I am leaning more towards a light morph parasitic then a pomarine but it is hard to judge size at such a distance.
Jaeger sp.

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