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bird sightings

Mid-July Birding Report – July 12, 2017

Hello everyone, Danielle with Quoddy Link Marine here and I have a birding report to share from Todd!

“Things got interesting today. Seabirds suddenly became numerous in the waters between Bliss Island and Head Harbour Light. Birds seen included 500 or more Razorbills (the largest concentration I have seen), several Atlantic Puffin, several Common Murre, several Northern Gannet, one or more Greater Shearwater, one adult Laughing Gull, one Red-throated Loon in full breeding plumage, one Wilson’s Storm Petrel, the first Razorbill chicks of the season, a few dozen Bonaparte’s Gulls, 135 Black-legged Kittiwake (an average day at the colony), 1000+ Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls (a conservative estimate), numerous Black Guillemot (more numerous than usual), and more. These were all casual observations made while whale watching. Had I actually been birding, the list of species and their numbers would certainly have been higher.
A dozen or more phalaropes were reported by one of my co-workers.
Laughing Gull seem to be easier to locate this year. During the last week, I have seen immature and adult birds on several occasions. All of these sightings have been in Head Harbour Passage (from Indian Island up to the East Quoddy Light).
Cross Jellies are starting show up again along with the more common Moon Jellies and some Lion’s Manes. Three or more Fins Whales are also present, as are a few Minke Whales.
it seems that Krill have attracted many of the birds. However, some of the more interesting species were seen well before the Krill arrived. Wind direction and fog can be determining factors when trying to find some of these birds. The storm petrel that was observed was seen very near Eastport, ME which is an unusual location for this species. The individual likely got a bit lost in fog. The Laughing Gulls might have drifted in on SW winds or got lost in fog.”

Razorbills

Atlantic puffins

feeding herring gull and razorbills in the water

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes with chick

Bald eagle on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemot

A big thank you to Todd for the report and Thank You to Jolinne for the images!

Cheers and thanks for checking in,

Danielle

Early July Bird Report

Hello everyone, Todd has written up an early July bird report that I wanted to share, also some pictures from Jolinne

“The Western Hemisphere’s southernmost colony of Black-legged Kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island seems to be doing well. The number of birds on the island is varying from 100 to 150 depending on how many are at sea. Last year was a good year for this colony and we are hoping to once again see good numbers of young birds fledge.

Also on or around the island are several dozen Black Guillemot, a half dozen Razorbill, an occasional Common Murre, a few non-breeding Bonaparte’s Gulls along with the more common Herring and Great Black-backed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant and Common Eider. A single Atlantic Puffin has been observed and more will almost certainly arrive as the summer progresses.

Laughing Gull have been observed near Eastport, ME as well as in Head Harbour Passage. Other uncommon or rare gulls are likely out there or will soon enter the bay.
Bald Eagle are common sightings with several pair nesting on the islands. Non-breeders are also being seen.

Common and Arctic Terns will soon begin to arrive along with Bonaparte’s Gulls, both phalaropes, tubenoses and more. Late summer and fall bring the greatest diversity of avian life to the bay.”

Adult bald eagle

Razorbills on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Atlantic puffins

Thanks again to Todd and Jolinne for the updates and images

Cheers,

Danielle

September

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Sorry about the lack of posts lately. We have had a very busy season! Bird activity within the Bay of Islands peaked during the end of August and early September, when we had some of the pelagic species that have been mostly absent from the area move in for a short time. Small groups of SOOTY and GREAT SHEARWATER were seen on and off as well as a few days when Atlantic Puffin were seen in the areas around Campobello and the Wolves in high numbers. We also had quite a few RED PHALAROPE in the area for a short period of time, a species we do not usually see in this area.

During our annual pelagic whale watching trip off Grand Manan, on the 13th of Sept. we saw our first SOUTH POLAR SKUA, off of Whitehead Island. You can see a photo below of this uncommon southern visitor!

On Sept. 27th we had our annual birding trip. Although no rarities were spotted we did get to see the massive feeding groups of BONAPARTE’S GULLS feeding off Eastport as well as all the common bird species for this time of year. A couple GREAT CORMORANTS were seen on Whitehorse Island and we had good lucks at all three Scoter species that are beginning to show up to their wintering grounds in the Bay of Fundy. We also got to check out the high number of BALD EAGLES that have been feeding on schools of mackerel off the coast of Campobello Island. A big thanks to everyone who came out!

Below our some photos taken during our September trips!

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South polar Skua

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Great and Sooty Shearwaters

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Arctic tern

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Red-necked phalaropes

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Red phalarope

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Bald eagle

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Jaeger or Skua? Anyone?

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Great shearwater

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Great Shearwater

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Bonaparte’s Gulls

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Bonaparte’s gull

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Bald eagle

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Remains of gull from bald eagle predation

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Bald eagle

July 19th – 31st

Bird activity in the West Isles continues to build. The most recent arrivals have been hundreds of BONAPARTE’S GULLS that can be seen feeding in the tidal upwellings around Campobello and Deer island. A few LITTLE GULLS have been spotted in the area by another observer as well. There has been quite a few ARCTIC TERNS with smaller numbers of COMMON TERN beginning to show up in the area.

Whitehorse Island has been very busy with most of the HERRING and BLACK BACKED GULL chicks fledging in the last week. This draws lots of attention from the local BALD EAGLES and we have been getting some exciting views as they hunt the young gulls. As many as a dozen have been seen at the island at one time. The BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE chicks are doing very well with some of the earliest birds already fledging. It looks like the colony will be fledging a good number of chicks this year in contrast to past years. Good to see!

Alcid numbers have been up and down, we were seeing very good numbers of RAZORBILLS with a good number of father-chick pairs being seen after July 20th. A few COMMON MURRE and ATLANTIC PUFFIN have been sighted on most trips. Small numbers of GREAT CORMORANTS have also been sighted.

It has been fairly quiet for other seabirds. We did see 3 GREAT SHEARWATER in Passamaquoddy bay recently and there are a few NORTHERN GANNET in the area. At times we have been seeing good size groups of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES and the odd WILSON’S STORM PETREL and PARASITIC JAEGER.

Just  reminder the the bird trip is set for September 27th and is filling up fast. Please call the Quoddy office at 506-529-2600 for details and to reserve your spot on the boat!

Cheers,
-Nick

Young herring gull testing wings

Young herring gull testing wings

Great black-backed gulls with young

Great black-backed gulls with young

Arctic tern

Arctic tern

Red-necked phalaropes

Red-necked phalaropes

Herring gull fledging with pursuing adults, we saw lots of this behavior of young birds being attacked by adults during their first flights

Herring gull fledging with pursuing adults, we saw lots of this behavior of young birds being attacked by adults during their first flights

Herring gull fledging

Herring gull fledging

Arctic tern

Arctic tern

Young great black-backed gull

Young great black-backed gull

Immature northern gannet

Immature northern gannet

Great cormorant

Great cormorant

Herring gull on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull

Herring gull

Razorbills

Razorbills

Razorbill father with chick

Razorbill father with chick

Group of gulls feeding on bait ball of herring

Group of gulls feeding on bait ball of herring

Peregrine falcon on Macs tower

Peregrine falcon on Macs tower

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Bald eagle pair on Spruce Island

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Juvenile bald eagle in nest on Spruce Island

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Common ravens on Whitehorse Island

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Bald eagle on Whitehorse Island

Three kittiwake chicks in a nest on Whitehorse, first time seeing this many chicks in one nest.

Three kittiwake chicks in a nest on Whitehorse, first time seeing this many chicks in one nest.

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemots on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemots on Whitehorse Island

Least and semipalmated sandpipers

Least and semipalmated sandpipers

Black legged kittiwake

Black legged kittiwake

Bonaparte's gull

Bonaparte’s gull

 

 

 

Annual Offshore Trip – September 13th

Join us on Sunday, September 13th for our annual Offshore Trip to search the open Bay of Fundy for North Atlantic right whales, humpbacks, pelagic seabirds and other incredible wildlife beyond Grand Manan. We have always called this a “Right Whale Trip” but since 2012 the NA rights in Fundy have been very inconsistent (lots of research into where they may be and why they are not in Fundy, check out the interview HERE with Moe Brown). So instead we are calling it an offshore trip and we do still hope to see rights but also humpbacks and other species commonly seen past Grand Manan. For more information and reservations please call our office at 1-877-688-2600/529-2600

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July 9th – 18th

After a slow start to the season, bird activity in the West Isles area of the Bay of Fundy is starting to pick up. In recent days there have been groups of several hundred gulls feeding in the typical areas of tidal upwelling around Deer and Campobello and the Head Harbour passage area. BONAPARTE’S GULLS are the most recent arrivals to the area and I have seen a few groups of 50-100 birds. The BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE chicks on Whitehorse Island appear to be doing well. We have counted up to 10 chicks but there is likely more that we can not see. It is interesting to note that 6 of these chicks are in three nests that are all within a small area of cliff. It seems to be a safe spot that has escaped the predation from the other gull species and the ravens that often visit the island to raid the nests. The herring and black-backed gull chicks are nearly full grown and beginning to test their wings for the first time. We have been seeing small numbers of RAZORBILLS and BLACK GUILLEMOTS on each visit and have even seen a few ATLANTIC PUFFINS near the island as well.

The two bald eagle chicks on Spruce Island are still in the nest but now are very vocal and beginning to pump their wings and jump from one side of the nest to the other. We have even seen them perched on branches outside the nest and we expect them to fledge any day now.

Sightings of interest by day:

July 11th – An adult PEREGRINE FALCON was seen perched in the tower on MacMaster island.

July 17th – 6 ATLANTIC PUFFINS near Whitehorse Island

July 18th – First NORTHERN GANNET of the year sighted off South Wolf Island

We also have just announced the day for our Pelagic tour, which will depart at 9AM on Sunday, September 27th. For more information and to reserve your spot please call the Quoddy office at 529-2600

Cheers,
-Nick

Black-guillemot on Whitehorse Island

Black-guillemot on Whitehorse Island

View of black-legged kittiwake colony on Whitehorse Island

View of black-legged kittiwake colony on Whitehorse Island

View of black-legged kittiwake colony on Whitehorse Island

View of black-legged kittiwake colony on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes with chicks on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes with chicks on Whitehorse Island

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

Black-legged kittiwake with nesting material

Black-legged kittiwake with nesting material

Peregrine falcon on Macs tower

Peregrine falcon on Macs tower

Herring gull and chick on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull and chick on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemots on Whitehorse Island

Black guillemots on Whitehorse Island

Razorbills on Whitehorse Island

Razorbills on Whitehorse Island

Razorbill and black guillemots

Razorbill and black guillemots

Herring gull and chick on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull and chick on Whitehorse Island

Razorbill with sand lance

Razorbill with sand lance

Bald eagle chick testing wings on Spruce Island

Bald eagle chick testing wings on Spruce Island

Bonaparte's gulls

Bonaparte’s gulls

Great black-backed gull

Great black-backed gull

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Great black-backed gull in empty cormorant nest on Whitehorse Island

Great black-backed gull in empty cormorant nest on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull chicks on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull chicks on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

 

 

 

June 24th – July 8th

It is a great time of year to experience the bird life of the Bay of Fundy! Nesting and the raising of young is in full swing for most of our resident species which means plenty of interesting sights and some great opportunities for photography. Whitehorse Island is a star attraction this time of year and we make sure to visit this special area on each trip, when weather permits. The HERRING and BLACK-BACKED GULL chicks are getting big fast and the BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES have hatched their first chicks. It is difficult to see in many of the nests but I have counted at least 5 nests that have chicks, some with two in each one. Many kittiwakes appear to still be incubating eggs and some continue to bring nesting material to the island. We have seen at times up to four COMMON RAVENS and a few BALD EAGLES at the island attempting to rob nests and grab chicks. On one occasion we saw a young eagle take a herring gull chick. Up until a couple days ago the DOUBLE CRESTED CORMORANT colony on the island appeared to be doing quite well, but during our visit to the island today I noticed that not a single bird was present at the main nesting area. More and more BONAPARTE’S GULLS have been showing up around the island, some with adult plummage. Small numbers of RAZORBILLS and BLACK GUILLEMOTS are seen on each visit to the island.

We also got a chance to visit Southwolf Island and I was surprised to see no evidence of nesting kittiwakes. This would be the first year in my six years on the Bay that I have not seen a good number of kittiwake nests on the island.

We have been visiting a bald eagle nest on Spruce Island with 2 chicks that are going to be ready to fly very soon. The nest is very visible and a treat to visit on each trip. The two chicks look very healthy and we often see the adults are never to far, providing some great looks.

COMMON EIDERS are plentiful and I have seen a good number of broods this year.

Sightings of interest;

June 25th – An adult LAUGHING GULL was sighted off the Wolves Islands.

July 8th – An ATLANTIC PUFFIN was seen in the Western Passage area.

Photos from our recent trips:

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Atlantic Puffin sighted in Western Passage

Bald eagle chicks on Spruce Island

Bald eagle chicks on Spruce Island

Herring gull with chick on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull with chick on Whitehorse Island

Great black-backed gull chicks on Whitehorse Island

Great black-backed gull chicks on Whitehorse Island

Nesting herring gull and chick on Whitehorse Island

Nesting herring gull and chick on Whitehorse Island

Nesting herring gulls on Whitehorse Island

Nesting herring gulls on Whitehorse Island

Black-legged kittiwake on Whitehorse Island

Black-legged kittiwake on Whitehorse Island

Bonaparte's gull on Whitehorse Island

Bonaparte’s gull on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Common raven flying over Whitehorse Island

Common raven flying over Whitehorse Island

Common ravens flying over Whitehorse Island

Common ravens flying over Whitehorse Island

Black-legged kittiwake with chick on Whitehorse Island

Black-legged kittiwake with chick on Whitehorse Island

Double-crested cormorants on Whitehorse Island

Double-crested cormorants on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull with chicks on Whitehorse Island

Herring gull with chicks on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island

Razorbills

Razorbills

Razorbill

Razorbill

Razorbill

Razorbill

Bald eagle on Whitehorse Island

Bald eagle on Whitehorse Island

Common eider duck brood

Common eider duck brood

Common eider duck brood

Common eider duck brood

Common eider duck brood

Common eider duck brood

Double-crested cormorant in flight

Double-crested cormorant in flight

Double-crested cormorants nesting on Whitehorse Island

Double-crested cormorants nesting on Whitehorse Island

Double-crested cormorants nesting on Whitehorse Island

Double-crested cormorants nesting on Whitehorse Island

Atlantic Puffin

Atlantic Puffin

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Bald eagle chicks on Spruce Island

Bald eagle chicks on Spruce Island



 

June 18th – 23rd

By in bird sightings 3 Comments

It is exciting to be back on the water with Quoddy Link Marine and looking forward to another great season recording the bird life on the Bay of Fundy!

Early summer is a special time of year for the birds of the Bay, when many are busy building nests and raising chicks. It is a great time to visit places like Whitehorse Island, where many of our resident birds are midway through their nesting efforts. HERRING GULLS and GREAT-BLACK BACKED gulls already have chicks that are half grown, while the DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS are at various stages of nest building and incubation. The island is well known for having the southern most colony of BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES in the world. So far the colony looks like it will put forward a strong nesting effort with 65 nests counted and many birds appearing to be on eggs. Last year we had over 80 nests and still the colony failed to produce a single fledged bird so it will be very interesting to see how they do. The COMMON RAVENS have been making an appearance at the island on a regular basis to steal eggs and newly hatched chicks. It is interesting to see quite a few immature, non-breeding kittiwakes on the island, as these birds must have come from another colony. Also on Whitehorse island are a good number of nesting BLACK GUILLEMOTS as well as half a dozen RAZORBILLS that appear to be nesting as well. A few PARASITIC JAEGERS have been sighted harassing feeding kittiwakes around the island.

I have seen a few COMMON EIDER broods, with the largest of 30 chicks being seen in the St. Andrews harbor. This brood is relentlessly attacked by bald eagles. We haven’t been seeing many large groups of feeding birds yet, hopefully this will change when some feed shoes up in our area. Already we are seeing many planktonic animals like moon and lions mane jellyfish that are an indication that productivity is on the rise in the Bay!

Sightings of interest by day:
June 20th – A PEREGRINE FALCON was seen flying over the St. Andrews wharf in the direction on Navy Island. It appeared to be carrying a small songbird. 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS off Bliss Island. Male SURF SCOTER in Western Passage.

June 22nd – 2 immature BONAPARTE’S GULLS were roosting with immature kittiwakes on Whitehorse Island. A single SOOTY SHEARWATER was seen in the Owen Basin area, near Grand Manan.

 

Bald eagle in flight

Bald eagle in flight

Black-legged kittiwakes

Black-legged kittiwakes

Two parasitic jaegers

Two parasitic jaegers

Parasitic jaeger pursuing black-legged kittiwake

Parasitic jaeger pursuing black-legged kittiwake

Nesting double-crested cormorants on Whitehorse. Great black-backed gull chicks in background

Nesting double-crested cormorants on Whitehorse. Great black-backed gull chicks in background

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse island

Nesting black-legged kittiwakes on Whitehorse island

Immature black-legged kittiwake

Immature black-legged kittiwake

Herring gull nesting on Whitehorse island

Herring gull nesting on Whitehorse island

Herring gull regurgitating food for chicks on Whitehorse island

Herring gull regurgitating food for chicks on Whitehorse island

Great black-backed gulls on Whitehorse

Great black-backed gulls on Whitehorse

Black guillemots

Black guillemots

Razorbills on Whitehorse island

Razorbills on Whitehorse island

Black-legged kittiwakes nesting on Whitehorse island

Black-legged kittiwakes nesting on Whitehorse island

Herring gull nesting on Whitehorse island

Herring gull nesting on Whitehorse island

Black guillemots at nest entrance on Whitehorse island

Black guillemots at nest entrance on Whitehorse island