Posted in Angela's Dog Blogs Atlantic Canada Birding Uncategorized

Of birds and dogs and bird dogs (and Piping Plovers)

Of birds and dogs and bird dogs (and Piping Plovers) Posted on May 2, 2016

Tomorrow my life is going to change a lot as I have adopted a 15 month old Border Collie / Australian Shepherd from Ontario and she will be arriving on Tuesday night.

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It has been a tough time living without Nelson since September and I still miss him dearly, but it is time for new pawsteps in the house.

I have done a lot of birding this year to fill the void and been able to be footloose and fancy free as far as my schedule goes and I know that is about to change.

So today I took the day off to spend it birding alone as it will be the last chance I get hands free for some time I think.

My plan of course is to take my new girl birding with me whenever possible.  She really can’t be off the leash for some time anyway so I think I’ll hook up the hands free leash and get moving!

Honestly unless you have a dog with high prey drive, or have them off leash where they can step on birds by accident they are great birding companions and some of the best birders I know take their dogs with them.  Well why wouldn’t you?  Who wants to go for a 2 hour walk in the woods and leave their dog home?

Anyway, I digress.

(PS – For the dog people in general one very important thing to note is that it is now breeding season for shore birds like the Piping Plover and other small shorebirds.  Make sure your dog stays off all dunes and dry areas of the beaches so he doesn’t squish the babies!  Wouldn’t you be heartbroken to know this had happened?  From May to September I would recommend very strongly your dog is only on the wet part of the beach.  Humans too!  We love our little shorebirds and some like the Piping Plovers are endangered and protected so you can be fined too.  Although I know you love all animals and would never let your dog step on a baby birdie on purpose.)

Moving on to my last day of dog-free birding.  My first stop was to watch my first goslings of the season in Lower Sackville.  So cute, even rare birds have a tough time holding up against them.

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Second stop was to look for one of my target birds for the day and voila….right where some local birding folk promised in their eBird reports they would be.

I was so delighted to have a nice sighting of a mated pair of Blue-winged Teal who were both lifers and Nova Scotia ticks for me so highly prized.

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There were also so many Red-winged Blackbirds there I could not believe it, and a healthy number of Grackles in the mix too.

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Then off to the Herbert River Trail which is a generally great spot to visit I found out, and known to have Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers who were my second target bird.  I left empty handed but was entertained by a number of other woodland birds including this nosey Purple Finch.  Perhaps she was nesting because she was quite agitated even though I did not pish her or make any other noise.  I was simply too close for her liking.  Well if she weren’t so noisy I would not have stopped to investigate what can I say.

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I did also here many Northern Flickers and 4 of them in a group flew right in front of me it is fun to watch the yellow and red flash of them in a group.  There was a loud drumming I would love to attribute to a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, but I would not be so bold.

But the who-cooks-for-you of the Barred Owl I am happy to record by ear.

I spent an immense amount of time on the mountain outside of Canaan looking for Sapsuckers but with no luck, although I did locate a good birding trail for the future.

The adventure ended with a little stop to Miners Marsh where it was difficult not to locate the Pied-bill Grebes noisy little things.

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A great day of sunshine and quite reflection.  It’s raining now and for most of the week they say, as well I have quite a bit of work to do.

And Spacey Macy arrives soon enough to really mix things up!

I hope she will be as good a bird dog as Nelson was, he was a king among bird dogs…my favorite memory of him and birds was when he casually tried to smell the Sanderlings here in Eastern Passage and the birds hardly noticed.  Good times and more to come  🙂

Happy outdoor adventures,

Angela

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