With migration season and spring in full swing I’ve finally been able to see some new to me birds. For a while it was getting pretty tough to find anything I had not seen before but May brought me 9 new to me birds (lifers) and 10 Nova Scotia ticks (birds never seen in NS). Last week with some help from Keith Lowe who was kind enough to give me a personal tour of the best birdie spots in Jerry Lawrence Park, the Black-throated Blue Warbler became my 200th Nova Scotia tick. Without eBird tracking my stats I may not have had my eye on that milestone but once I saw my list hit 190 for the province I was pretty keen to achieve the 200. (worthy of note perhaps, I have a long way to go as 478 birds have been documented in our province!)
Yesterday I found two more birds that are completely new to me and I’d been looking forward to for some time. In fact, I’ve been out looking for them a few times with no success to find them both in one day was amazing. My friend Paul and my canine birding pal Macy were great company for a walk on the Herbert River Trail which is about the birdiest place I’ve been in some time! We bumped into Diane and Sylvia as they were on the way out and we were on the way in and had a little chat about the trail. I checked their checklist later on and they got a few species we didn’t get and vice versa but overall a lot of overlap and wonderful birds for us all.
So back to the new to me birds I was so delighted to have a nice show and lovely song from the gorgeous Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. They are a stunning bird in time I’d like to get better photos but for now it was wonderful to enjoy them in their natural habitat.
The Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have eluded me a few times and when I was at this location 2 day previous I happened upon their nesting area but didn’t realize this until later that evening. I had heard a very loud mewing call and a ruckus in the top of the trees and noted a fairly large bird moving around (larger than Warblers I mean) and incorrectly noted it as a Gray Catbird because of the mew call. Later that evening I was listening to the calls of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and realized that was what I had heard. So when Paul and I hit the trail yesterday I made that location the destination and we found their nesting area and saw 3 individuals. My photos are the pits but they were high up and moving a lot. Now I know a bit more about their behavior and will find them more readily and get better photographs in time. You really have to put in the time, like Paul says to get to know the birds and their habitat.
We also had a lovely show from one of the many Veery thrush that sing their flutelike song all along the trail and some Northern Parula and a variety of other pretty Warblers, a few Vireos, and Flycatchers made appearances along the way.
Hands down this was one of the best birding days I’ve ever had. I wish I could walk that trail every day with my dog to enjoy the birds but will keep hunting for new places with good friends and return when I can.
I must mention that although it is certainly not easy to photograph small, fast-moving birds with an on leash dog in tow, it certainly is great practice!
Angela & Macy (my newly adopted Border Collie birding companion extraordinaire)