a Louisiana Waterthrush and the case for quiet birding


My friend Diane found a very rare bird the other morning all by herself.  She is a pretty new birder, but walking quietly in her “patch” she found a Louisiana Waterthrush mixed in with some American Pipits.

I am also a pretty new birder and have often found great birds in the same fashion, which to me pleads the case for quiet birding.  Good eyes and ears are required for silent birding, but the reward is great.  When you find them this way you are able to observe their natural behavior and watch them for a while if you are lucky.  Certainly I understand there are exceptions to the rule and have many birding friends with differing approaches but for me this is most in line with my way of thinking about nature.  I am also fortunate enough to be able to spare the time to walk and observe which many are not.  So do not take offense if you have a different opinion, instead discuss it with me in person when next we meet.  The birders in Nova Scotia are a good lot all round I find when I’m out and about  🙂

So with this in mind today I found some time this afternoon and was able to make it over to Crystal Crescent to look for the bird myself.  It appeared the coast was clear but then I realized some birders were coming up behind me and was disappointed to think about them scaring off the little rare treasure I was “twitching”.  You may know that I don’t do a lot of “twitching” as it usually gets me something bad like a rusty nail and a tetanus shot but I digress.

Luckily the birders approaching were Fulton Lavender and Mike King and one thing that is even better than silent and solo birding is bumping into excellent field birders when you are on a hunt.  Fulton really knows bird behavior and calls very well in addition to their appearance and had excellent pointers on how to locate the bird.  It eluded us on our first pass of the beach but shortly we were joined by Richard Hatch (also an excellent birder) and it did a fly by and then we waited patiently for it to show itself.  Although a small bird at a distance I was lucky enough to capture a few ID shots and learn some of its behavior as it stuck around for a bit.
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It was a really great experience and I’m fortunate I could find a few hours of daylight and do my paperwork tonight.  I couldn’t rush out this morning to find it as of course I had work to do in the morning and into the afternoon but it managed to sort itself out as the day progressed…whew!

When I reached my car the cutest porcupine was above in a tree eating some shoots and was not disturbed at all by a photo shoot.

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We had seen a mink at Crystal Crescent and I missed the chance to nab a photo but I saw another one in West Penant on the way home and also spotted my first Great Blue Heron of the season.

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It was a fantastic couple of hours in the fresh air ahead of the snowstorm tomorrow.

I will be hunkered down as of tomorrow doing office work for the next 8 days while I babysit my friend’s big dogs.  Shortly after that I will be living on the road for about 10 days while I travel New England for work, so I am thankful this opportunity presented itself today.  And also that migration season has finally arrived!

Happy Spring,