Friday, June 19, 2009

Grand Manan Birds

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Date:    Thu, 18 Jun 2009 18:40:29 -0300
From: Roger Burrows, NBNature listserv
Subject: Grand Manan birds, inc. Great Egret , Black-crowned Night-Heron, Barred Owl and Brown Thrasher

June 13

Ox Head area 08:40-10:25
Double-crested Cormorant, 2 American Black Duck pairs. singing Red-eyed Vireo, 2+ red-breasted Nuthatches, 7 wood-warblers

Grand Harbour--Foster Hill Road & Woods 18:45-19:35
4 wood-warblers

Grand Harbour--Hill Road & Woods 19:35-20:40 Green-winged Teal pair

June 14

Ox Head area 07:00-08:30 10 American Black Ducks, male Mallard, male American WigeonxMallard, 3 male American Wigeons, adult Bald Eagle. possible singing Canada Warbler

June 15

North Head area 06:00-07:45
GREAT EGRET flying over the harbour towards Castalia, Eastern Phoebe, Northern Mockingbird

Tatton's Corner 08:15-09:00
Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-breasted Nuthatch pair at a nest, female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Castalia Marsh 09:10-10:10
2 Bald Eagles, Blue-headed Vireo, 5 wood-warblers, 5 Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows

Grand Manan Bird Sanctuary 10:35-11:35
2 American Black Duck broods, 9 Ring-necked Ducks, adult BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON, adult Bald Eagle

Deep Cove 11:50-12:30
Eastern Kingbird; no sign of the territorial White-eyed Vireo seen in late May

North Head 13:45-15:15
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, 5 wood-warblers, Northern Cardinal pair (Durant Drive)

June 16

North Head area 08:15-09:15
2 duelling Eastern Wood-Pewees, 5 wood-warblers

Bay of Fundy trip from North Head 09:30-15:30
3 immature Great Cormorants, 140 Common Eiders, inc. the first 20 small ducklings (Net Point), adult Bald Eagle, 2 Black-legged Kittiwakes, 2 Razorbills, 39 Black Guillemots, 4 Atlantic Puffins, 30+ Bank Swallows (Nantucket Island colony)

June 17

Thoroughfare Road & Shore Road 13:10-15:30
first Alder Flycatcher with food, 6 wood-warblers

Marathon Inn ca 17:00
BROWN THRASHER being chased by nesting Gray Catbird

Dark Harbour Road 20:15-22:15 an extremely co-operative BARRED OWL (excellent views in the open for 20 Elderhostelers), 2 singing Winter Wrens

June 18

North Head area 05:00-06:30
Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 2 singing Winter Wrens, 5 wood-warblers and a possible singing Canada Warbler

From my Elderhostel tours and Atlas work, I've noted an appreciable drop in nesting flycatchers (even Alder), thrushes, kinglets and wood-warblers (except Northern Parula, Yellow, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, American Redstart and Common Yellowthroat. I suspect the problem is mortality at wintering sites as species that don't leave North America seem to be at their usual numbers. Particularly hard-hit seem to be Least & Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, Swainson's Thrush & Veery, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black-throated Blue and Mourning Warblers, Northern Waterthrush and Wilson's Warbler. There has been an explosion of wood-cutting here on Grand Manan in the last two years but there appears to be lots of unused habitats. Unlike others, I have yet to hear a territorial Tennessee Warbler on Grand Manan.

Roger Burrows
Ingalls Head
Grand Manan

PS We had 2 LUNA MOTHS and what appeared to be a CERISY'S SPHINX MOTH on the Marathon Inn entrance door this morning.
Photo Credit: Black-crowned Night Heron -

1 comment:

  1. Date: Mon, 15 Jun 2009 14:45:13 -0300
    From: "Diamond, Tony" NBNature listserv
    Subject: The Machias Seal Island seabird colony

    Recently David Christie invited me indirectly to summarise the situation with the tern
    colony on Machias Seal Island from the perspective of one who has studied the seabirds
    there every year since 1994. The summary below is a belated response to that

    There seem to be many changes going on around Machias Seal Island that have created a
    “perfect storm” for the tern colony there, which first abandoned in 2006 and has
    continued – including this summer – to begin nesting each year in small numbers but
    then abandon some time during June. Note that in CWS records going back about 120 years
    there is only one previous record of abandonment, in 1944, & the birds were back the
    following year.

    The recent changes include:

    a) a “bottom-up” change in the foodweb, initiated by (as yet unclear)
    oceanographic/climatic changes; this is suggested by the change in diet of the seabirds,
    showing a steady reduction in the proportion of juvenile herring ("brit") with a sharp
    drop since 2001, in all the species monitored, and their replacement by lower-quality
    food (euphausiid shrimp, larval fish);

    b) increased predation by gulls, clearly implicated in the initial abandonment
    2006), and increasing every year - this year and last, 20+ pairs of Herring gulls have
    nested just offshore on Gull Rock, compared with a handful in previous years; this is
    related to reduced gull-control efforts by CWS since 2000;

    c) increased availability of food to those gulls (from bait discarded by lobster-
    and crab-fishermen) perhaps subsidizing them to stay through the summer; the increase in
    this fishing in the “Grey Zone” referred to earlier by David is part of this;

    d) “greening” of the coastguard facility, leading to construction of solar panels
    and a wind turbine; the wind turbine did NOT kill any terns, was not operational in the
    year the terns first abandoned, and cannot be “fingered” as a direct cause, but is yet
    another construction on the island that may have had a cumulative impact on the birds’
    decisions not to return;

    e) Regarding fishing pressure, the last stock assessment I saw (from the Dept. of
    Fisheries & Oceans) showed unprecedented fishing mortality and low “stock biomass” but
    they maintain stoutly that herring are not being overfished. They have however reduced
    the purse-seine quota and established a quota on herring weirs (previously

    My research students and I continue to try to figure out this tangled web of potential
    causes and their interactions, focusing now – by default – on the puffins and
    razorbills, whose continued presence must be put in doubt by the absence of the
    “protective umbrella” of the tern colony and the subsequent increase in gull predation
    on the island.

    Tony Diamond

    A.W. Diamond, Ph.D.
    Research Professor, Wildlife Ecology
    University of New Brunswick