With the spring migration underway, I’m avidly watching the States wind direction forecast for the upcoming week for the eastern part (Upper Midwest and Northeast Forecast) that will also affect the bird migrating trends on our end here in New Brunswick.
But that’s for next week. This past week has seen an influx of sparrows, some warblers and there have even been reports of a few Ruby-throated Hummingbirds being spotted, so I set out to visit two parks here in Moncton to see what I could find. I was rewarded handsomely with a list of 30 species for Centennial Park on Sunday the 3rd and from Irishtown Park on the 6th, I gleaned 19 species from very windy conditions. This Red-breasted Merganser skirted past me behind some shrubs and I couldn’t resist that stunning red eye.
A note about my photos: Please click on the image
to enlarge for a crisper, clearer picture.
The deciduous trees are taking their time in putting out flowers and leaves, so perhaps it’s a good thing that there aren’t many warblers showing up quite yet. I saw a Black-throated Green Warbler on the 5th near the feeder area that I have at Fairview Knoll Park, and last week I was blessed to see a flock of 15 Rusty Blackbirds. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me on either occasion.
At Centennial Park, I walked to the lake and watched a pair of Canada Geese who seemed unaffected by the drop in water level. One individual was nesting on the little island with her mate swimming nearby. It was a hot day and I admired her (if it was the female) tenacity to sit on that nest for so long.
As I sat at a picnic table I soon noticed some bird action behind me in the shade. I turned, stood still and focused. There appeared out of the shadows several species: the White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows, a few Rock Pigeons, Dark-eyed Juncos, a couple of courting Blue Jays and one lone Mallard, intent on figuring out what I was doing with my camera.
Three days later, I visited Irishtown Park on a very windy day and frankly, because of this I didn’t expect to see many birds. But I was hopeful the Loons had returned so I went anyway. There, too, the deciduous trees are pretty much still quite bare.
After taking the Yellow Trail through the woods I was alone for most of the way until I first heard, and then saw, a shy Hermit Thrush in the underbrush. Being late afternoon, all the photos I took in the forest came out too shadowy for my liking. But as soon as I reached the bridge that spans the reservoir, the light was just right and there it was: my first Common Loon this year. Then later two more appeared. This one was so hard to capture that I’m sure she knew that I wanted to take her photo and was being evasive on purpose. As soon as I would aim and try to hold the camera still in the high winds, she would duck underwater and disappear from view for minutes at a time.
Then along came the Red-breasted Mergansers and I completely forgot all about the Loon! There were fifteen males and females. I managed to capture them up close and personal, then again I caught them in the mad rush to get away when I came too close, on their flight shoreward. The shrubs between us kept me camouflaged, but it was also a hindrance to a clear, open view. Nevertheless, they seemed to cooperate nicely. This next photo shows the long, curved bill.
But the week wasn’t over after my two park visits. There was still the Global Birding Day leftover as a special treat, and this day I decided to spend at Grande-Digue near the water. The different habitats I visited included wetlands, meadows, deciduous and coniferous woods, the shoreline from Cap de Cocagne to Caissie Cape, and different human habitations, including my sister’s feeder that she keeps amply stocked. Seen with their attractive heads looking away are: White-throated Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Purple Finch females and one male. Later a couple of Pine Siskins, a Blue Jay, and the ubiquitous Black-capped Chickadees made their late afternoon visits, as well as the Ring-necked Pheasant, a resident in these parts.
On Global Day, May 9th, my sister and I saw or heard 40 different species. Most of the time, she spotted, and I recorded, the birds. Of note on the list is my first of the year Black and Surf Scoter, American Kestrel, an immature Great-crested Cormorant, Northern Pintail Duck, Ring-necked Duck, and several Yellow-rumped Warblers, and an Osprey. But no Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Yet.
Speaking of warblers, I must refresh my memory on calls, songs and the myriad array of colourful plumage our guests will sport as they migrate to our fair land. Until next time…
Wishing you great Birding Days!