Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Birds at Point Lepreau, Bay of Fundy

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Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2010 12:58:27 -0300
From: Jim Wilson NatureNB
Subject: March 19th at Point Lepreau Bird Observatory (PLBO)

On Friday morning, March 19th ... we arrived about 7:20 AM and began the four-hour Seawatch at 7:30, just as a brilliant spring sun peeked over the eastern sea. It was a beautiful morning, temperature at +2C, light wind and calm ocean.

Migration on the water was relatively quiet as expected, but we did tally a total of 265 COMMON EIDER moving east (north to them) as well as 62 BLACK SCOTERS. In addition there was a smattering of other migrants, including a few SURF and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, two handsome single GREAT CORMORANTS in breeding plumage, 32 CANADA GEESE, three GADWALL (a species we don't often see there), two GREEN-WINGED TEAL and one AMERICAN WIGEON.

A few visits to the alders produced five SONG SPARROWS but little else. On our way home we drove the coastal circuit through Dipper and Chance Harbours and saw a total of seven ROBINS and seven SONG SPARROWS as well as three RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and a few GRACKLES. (Remember, it was the day before Saturday's big wave of passerine migrants.)

It was a lovely start to our spring migration monitoring at the PLBO and we couldn't have asked for a more pleasant day. For us the first morning at the PLBO has become another "rite of spring" and we look forward to more visits in the weeks to come.

Subject: Report from Point Lepreau March 22

I arrived at the PLBO at the tip of Point Lepreau at about 7:15 AM and started the four-hour migration monitoring at 7:30 AM. The breeze was from the east and the temperature stood at about the freezing mark.

A new-to-us weather monitoring system ...  is now operating and records outside temperature
but also barometer, wind speed and direction (in Beaufort) and wind chill. The former system provided only wind speed. This addition is greatly appreciated!

At dawn a racket started in the spruces behind the lighthouse as several CROWS began harassing something they didn't like. Seconds later a medium-sized PEREGRINE FALCON flew out for some peace and quiet, and made a slow exploratory circle over the sea off the tip of the Point in search of inbound passerine migrants. We sometimes see them do this at first light and they're often successful. Unfortunately (for the hawk) and fortunately for smaller migrants, it found nothing. It later perched awhile on the rocks ust to the west and proved to be an immature, just beginning to show the darker feathers of more maturity on its upperparts. It eventually drifted off down the eastern shore of the Point and was not seen again.


A pair of THICK-BILLED MURRES fed off the Point for some time late in the morning, providing good looks through the scope.

There were very few passerines at the Point on Monday morning, despite the large influx on the weekend. It appears they all had moved inland.

One final note - on my way home I drove through Welsh's Cove, just to the west of Point Lepreau, and there found a carpet of resting RED-NECKED GREBES on the water - a total of 142! Whatever the bottom sediments and related food sources are at that location seem to attract this species in numbers and there is evidently a significant migration underway at the moment.

Another interesting day at the Point.

Jim Wilson

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