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, September 17, 2012

Sept. 11th - 17th
First SURF SCOTERS of fall
First BLACK SCOTERS of fall
Red-necked phalaropes
Great cormorant
Sooty shearwater
Great shearwater
Common murre
Black guillemot
Northern Gannets
Common eider
Great blue heron
Bald eagle
Arctic tern
Bonaparte’s gull
Black legged kittiwake
Bald eagle

There is still lots of activity in the islands, particularly around Head Harbour passage and Casco Bay island. Large groups of gulls, terns and cormorants are feeding on herring in the turbulent waters. The bald eagles have also been joining in on the feeding frenzy, snatching talons full of herring and devouring the fish on the wing. PARASITIC JAEGERS have also been quite numerous in this area. The larger POMARINE JAEGERS seem to hang offshore more where activity has picked up again after a brief lull. The fin whales have resumed feeding off of Blacks Harbour and the large shearwater groups that were common during July and August have been forming up again. The number of NORTHERN GANNETS have also increased. There have been relatively fewer alcids around lately with only the odd razorbill or puffin.

Feeding group of gulls of Casco
Double-crested cormorants
Parasitic jaeger and tern
Bald eagle
Bonaparte's gulls and Black-legged kittiwakes
Northern Gannet
The most recent arrivals out on the bay have been the scoters; stalky seaducks that breed further north and then come down in the fall to spend the winter feeding on crustaceans and molluscs in the Bay of Fundy. The three species are SURF SCOTERS, BLACK SCOTERS, and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS. They are very striking birds, with their brightly colored bills and contrasting black and white plumage. They are beginning to show up in good numbers, with small mixed flocks being spotted in Passamaquoddy bay and Head Harbour passage. It is important to look closely at each group, as often times it will contain two or sometimes all three species.
5 Surf scoters, 4 Black scoters
On Sept. 13th I spotted another BLACK TERN hunting over patches of floating rockweed just off of Whitehorse island.
Black Tern
Sept. 14th saw very large groups of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES in head harbour passage. I estimated one group to contain over 400 birds.
Red-necked phalaropes
On Sept. 14th I spotted a STORM PETREL sp. in Passamaquoddy bay. It has been months since i've seen a storm petrel so I thought it quite odd to see one at all let alone all the way in Passamaquoddy. I was not close enough to identify to species.
Also on the 14th, an adult PEREGRINE FALCON was seen eating a recent catch in the usually spot atop the power tower on Mac's island.
Peregrine falcon
Today, the 17th I spotted a MERLIN and a BROADWING HAWK crossing over little Letete passage.

A week or so ago we had quite an interesting experience while watching minke whales off of Deer Island. A young herring gull decided to land on the boat and spend some time aboard the Quoddy Link. He was quite content to walk around the deck and peck away at anything resembling a meal. It wasn't until I picked up the bird and coaxed him to fly that he went on his own way. He had a zip-tie around his leg, so we figure that he must have been raised by people.

Danielle and I with the friendly herring gull
Unrelated to birds, but certainly interesting, was a grey seal that I photographed with a very large shark bite on it's right side. This is not a small seal, likely weighing in at 300-400 pounds. You can clearly see the teeth marks and the outline of the bite left from a very large shark. A great white is the only species of shark that could go after a large grey seal as large as this and inflict this much damage. Last year we saw first hand proof of a great white in our area of the bay, watching one devour a porpoise just off our stern.

Shark attack
Still a bit of room on the pelagic bird trip on the 30th of September. Be sure to call the quoddy office at 529-2600 to sign up if interested.

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