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!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sept. 18th - 25th

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

Some excellent bird activity on the bay lately. Most of the activity remains near the inshore, near a small grassy rock called Green's island that lies between Deer island and Campobello. During ebb tide this area has been the location of the largest gull feeding groups that I have ever seen, containing mostly HERRING, BLACK-BACKED GULLS and BONAPARTE'S gulls, ARCTIC TERNS and KITTIWAKES as well as hundreds of DOUBLE CRESTED CORMORANTS and a few GREAT CORMORANTS as well. These groups easily numbered in the thousands of birds. At times, the groups of feeding birds are so thick that you can not see the minke whales that are surfacing within them.
Gulls feeding of Green's island
Juvenile Bonaparte's gull with herring
Adult Bonaparte's gull with herring
Kittiwakes and Bonaparte's gull
Great Cormorant
The island itself has been covered with BALD EAGLES, with up to 15 spotted on the small island at one time and a few GREAT-BLUE HERONS can be seen perched alongside the eagles. Both species are feeding on the abundant herring schools that surround the island.
Adult and immature bald eagles on Green's island
Eagle pursuit
Adult bald eagles
Immature with adult Bald eagle and herring
Adult bald eagle
Great-blue heron on Green's island
Great Blue heron on Green's island
The astounding numbers of feeding gulls have attracted numerous PARASITIC and POMARINE JAEGERS. My fascination with these birds continues as I am astounded by the diversity in plumage within these two species. It seems like no single jaeger is the same and telling the species apart can be very difficult for even the most skilled observer.

Parasitic jaeger
Parasitic jaeger and Bonaparte's gull
Parasitic jaeger and Bonaparte's gull
Pomarine jaeger
In this next photo you can see a PARASITIC and a POMARINE jaeger pursuing a BONAPARTE'S GULL. This image highlights how difficult it can be to identify to species and how both species can appear very similar in size. I am pretty confident at ID'ing these species after reviewing my images, but in the field it is a different story.  If anyone sees that I have made a mistake please let me know, these guys are hard!

Parasitic jarger on left, Pomarine on right
Small groups of the three SCOTER species can be seen moving through the area. I have not seen many on the water yet.

Things in the offshore areas are quieter then they were at the beginning of the year but still small numbers of MANX, GREATER and SOOTY SHEARWATERS are around. A few RAZORBILLS, MURRES and PUFFINS can also still be spotted. NORTHERN GANNETS have increased greatly over the last week or so, with large groups of birds plunge diving off of Whitehorse island.
Feeding Gannets
The numbers of migrant raptors are down from earlier, with only a NORTHERN HARRIER spotted crossing letete on the 18th and a RED-TAILED HAWK seen in the same area on the 25th. However, an interesting sighting occurred on the 22nd when I spotted a NORTHERN GOSHAWK over open water off of Head Harbour light. The bird was being chased and harassed by a PARASITIC JAEGER.
Northern Goshawk and Parasitic jaeger. Terns in foreground.
Other noteworthy sightings include a LEACH'S STORM PETREL seen well offshore on the 22nd and a first of fall RED-NECKED GREBE seen swimming near the St. Andrews wharf on the morning of the 24th.

I havn't had a whole lot of time to scan for rare gull species amidst the masses of feeding birds, but I did manage to spot a LITTLE GULL on the 25th. 
Little gull
I am sure that these large groups of gulls hold other rare species, like SABINE'S GULL and hope to pick one out soon, hopefully during the pelagic trip on the 30th! If havn't already signed up for the trip and are interested make sure to call the office and book in, we still have a bit of room. The number to the office is 529-2600.
Happy birding!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful captures of all these birds. Amazing.
    Really enjoy seeing them. Thanks for posting.