Sept. 6th - 10th
First BLACK TERN of the season
2 RED-THROATED LOON
MANX SHEARWATERRed-necked phalaropes
Great blue heron
Black legged kittiwake
The West isles have been incredible for bird activity over the last week and we have been spending most of our time within these islands with Minke whales, which works out very nicely indeed. Very large groups of gulls, terns, shearwaters and gannets have been feeding on herring schools around Casco Bay island and off the southern part of Deer island. Within these groups are the largest number of jaegers I have ever seen. On the AM of the 9th I stopped counting at over 50, mostly POMARINE with fewer numbers of PARASITICS. I had one very small jaeger that was quite possibly a long-tailed but it did not lend itself for a decent look and thus my search continues. Bald eagles have been seen joining in these groups, grabbing large talon fulls of herring from the surface. Good numbers of MANX shearwater, with some great and sooties around as well. Red-necked phalaropes continue to be quite numerous and afford good looks. Lots of gannets can be seen and sometimes put on quite a spectacle as they dive, javelin style into the waves.
|Herring gull with herring|
|Common murre, bridled phenotype molting to winter plumage|
I have developed a particular affinity for the jaegers and their piratical behaviour of harassing other birds until they drop prey or regurgitate their last meal. I also enjoy the identification challenges of the similar jaeger species and the possibility of turning up the rare long-tailed jaeger, which has eluded me thus far.
|Dark morph jaeger|
|Pomarine jaeger on log|
On Sept. 9th I spotted two RED THROATED LOONS and today captain Mathias pointed out a nice LONG-TAILED DUCK
Raptors have been spotted on the few good days for much movement. A NORTHERN HARRIER was spotted crossing the passage at Letete on Sept. 7th A PEREGRINE FALCON came in and tried to grab a kittiwake from a feeding flock off Hospital island on Sept. 8th and two MERLINS were seen on the 10th.
I also watched a bald eagle try and grab a MANX shearwater from the water. The shearwater repeatedly dove to avoid the talons of the eagle, who was very persistent. We were not able to stick around long enough to see the outcome.
Today, the 10th, I got my first BLACK TERN! No pictures, just wanted to enjoy the feeling of another lifer. The bird was a juvenile and was seen feeding amongst other tern species in Head Harbour.
Also very exciting this week was an encounter with the rare and bizarre Mola mola, or ocean sunfish. This was only my second time seeing this awesome animal and I managed to capture it with the underwater camera. Be sure to check the video out by clicking HERE
If you havn't already signed up for the BIRD TRIP on the 30th of September and are interested be sure to make reservations by calling the Quoddy office at (506) 529-2600 and say that you would like to reserve for the birding trip. Still lots of room on the boat and birds on the bay :)