Welcome to Quoddy Link's Bird Blog! A place to report the many bird species sighted while aboard the Quoddy Link. Sightings are recorded by the skilled interpreters aboard the Quoddy link's whale watching catamaran that frequents the areas around Campobello Island, Deer Island and Grand Manan. For more information about our company, or to make a reservation on one of our trips please visit our main site at www.quoddylinkmarine.com. If you have any comments our questions, or would like to add your own sighting please respond by adding a comment in the comments section below each post or email nickjameshawkins@gmail.com. Thanks and enjoy!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sept. 23rd - 28th

The morning of the 27th was the date for our annual birding outing through the West Isles. I would like to thank everyone who came out! We had beautiful weather and were able to circumnavigate Deer Island in search of many different bird species. We started by crossing the Passamaquoddy Bay and had some good looks at SURF and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS that have started to show up in the area. On the way through Letete passage we caught a glimpse of a NORTHERN GOSHAWK being harassed by a group of ravens. We started to get into some large groups of feeding gulls at Green's Point and had some good looks at three different PARASITIC JAEGERS. We also had the chance to look at some very large rafts of moulting COMMON EIDER.

Our bird of the day came in the form of a 1st year LITTLE GULL that was feeding with BONAPARTES GULLS off of White Island, see photos of this bird below. We also had very good looks at GREAT CORMORANT and many other more common bird species. Thanks again to everyone who came out!

Here is a full list of the species we saw on the trip...

Common eider
Double-crested cormorant
Great cormorant
White-winged scoter
Surf scoter
Black guillemot
Great blue heron
Northern goshawk
Parasitic Jaeger
Black-legged kittiwake
Bonaparte's gull
Little gull
Ring-billed gull
Herring gull
Great black-backed gull
Common tern
Common loon
Bald eagle

Recent sightings of interest by day...

Sept. 23rd - LAUGHING GULL off Eastport. First of fall RED-NECKED GREBE. Single RED-NECKED PHALAROPE

Sept. 27th - Pelagic birding trip! NORTHERN GOSHAWK over Pendleton Island. 3 PARASITIC JAEGERS off Green's Point. LITTLE GULL, immature bird off White Island. MERLIN over Cherry Island. On the afternoon trip...BROAD-WINGED HAWK and OSPREY crossing Letete at 5:20pm.

Sept. 28th - A big day for raptor movement over the West Isles...On the way through Letete in the AM; 2 unidentified raptors over Pendleton, adult PEREGRINE on Macs tower, immature NORTHERN HARRIER and 3 OSPREY. Immature RED-TAILED HAWK over Sandy Island. Adult PEREGRINE crossing Letete on the way back through.

Bonaparte's Gulls

Gulls feeding in Head Harbour passage


1st year Little gull

1st year Little gull

1st year Little gull

Northern Harrier

Parasitic Jaeger

Adult Peregrine Falcon

Adult Peregrine Falcon

Adult Peregrine Falcon

Red-necked grebe with rock gunnel

Red-necked phalarope

Immature red-tailed hawk

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sept. 12th - 20th

Groups of feeding gulls within the West Isles is at a seasonal high, with Bonaparte's gull as the dominant species, numbering in the many thousands of birds. Kittiwakes are also quite numerous with a few young of the year showing up. I haven't had a lot of time to scan through these large groups, but did pick out a nice adult LITTLE GULL the other day. Looking forward to having many eyes on the boat for the upcoming Pelagic trip on Saturday the 27th, who knows what we will find! PARASITIC JAEGERS have also been fairly common in the area.

Recent arrivals include all three species of Scoter ducks that are beginning to show up in small numbers. I expect thay many more will be arriving this week. The common eiders have been forming some impressive rafts numbering in the hundreds of birds.

We have had a few good days with NW winds that brought some migrant raptors through the area as well as a few monarch butterflies. Also noted some light raptor movement on the 20th, a day with strong SW winds.

Bird activity offshore remains fairly low, with shearwaters, gannets and alcids being mostly absent. A few Great Shearwater, Atlantic Puffin, Razorbills and Northern Gannets have been sighted in very low numbers.

Sightings of interest by day:

Sept 12th - Unidentified raptor off Green's Point. MERLIN and NORTHERN HARRIER over South Wolf Island 3:25PM. PARASITIC JAEGER off Adam Island.

Sept. 13th - First 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS of fall in Passamaquoddy Bay. SHARP-SHINNED HAWK over South Wolf Island at 11:35PM

Sept. 15th - NORTHERN HARRIER over Macs Island at 2:20PM. 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS off Bliss Island

Sept. 19th - First of fall SURF SCOTER in Letete passage. 3 BROADWING HAWKS over Macs Island at 10:20PM. Adult male NORTHERN HARRIER over Fish Cove at 10:30PM. AMERICAN KESTREL and MERLIN over Macs Island at 2:15PM.

Also...Monarch and Mourning cloak sighted butterflies offshore

Sept. 20th - Juvenile RED-TAILED HAWK over Macs at 10:20AM. First 6 BLACK SCOTERS of fall off Spruce Island. SHARP-SHINNED HAWK settling onto Campobello Island coming from open bay in strong SW wind. PARASITIC JAEGER in Head Harbour passage. Adult LITTLE GULL off Black Rock, couldn't get a photo as it flew off too quickly.

Bald Eagles on Spectacle Island

Black and Surf Scoter

Great blue heron. Photo by Jolinne Surette

Raft of Common Eider

Raft of Common Eider

Gulls on Black Rock, mostly Bonapartes and kittiwakes and perhaps some rarities

Gulls on Black Rock, mostly Bonapartes and kittiwakes and perhaps some rarities


Monarch butterfly, female

Northern Harrier

Parasitic Jaeger

Juvenile red-tailed hawk?

Sharp-shinned hawk

Friday, September 12, 2014

Aug. 23rd - September 11th

Bird activity in the West Isles is coming to a climax with the greatest diversity being seen on the most recent trips. We have been spending most of our time in the areas around Black's Harbour and the Wolves.

Bird activity off the Wolves seems to come and go, with small numbers of Shearwaters, Puffins and Gannets moving to and from the inshore and offshore areas. Pomarine and Parasitic jaegers are been spotted on a daily basis in this area as well as the inshore around Green's Point lighthouse. A few common tern are still in the area.

Although we haven't been spending a lot of time within the Islands, the tidal currents around Eastport and Deer Island have attracted thousands of feeding gulls, as is usual this time of year. Bonaparte's are present in the many thousands as well as good numbers of black-legged kittiwake. These large groups of gulls usually hold other rarer species like little gull, black-headed and lesser-black backed gull and even SABINE'S GULL which has been reported in the area this year by Chris Bartlett. I look forward to spending some time looking through these flocks to see what we can find on the Pelagic trip on the 27th.

Fall migration has brought the first hawks of the season in the skies over Letete Passage as well as the first migrant hummingbirds of the fall season. Many immature great blue herons are appearing with the islands and more bald eagles are showing up as well. Also seen migrating are MONARCH BUTTERFLIES, an encouraging sign after not a single one was spotted last year.

The UPCOMING PELAGIC TRIP ON THE 27th of September is now almost full, with just 5 spots remaining. Some people may cancel so if you want to go and it is full please put your name on the reserve list. If you are currently signed up and unable to attend please let the office know ASAP.

Sightings of interest by day:

Aug. 23rd - 200-300 Shearwaters off South Wolf Island, mostly GREAT with a few SOOTY. One HUMMINGBIRD off Bliss Island. POMARINE and PARASITIC JAEGER off Eastern Wolf Island. Small rafts of ATLANTIC PUFFIN

Aug. 25th - small groups of GREAT and SOOTY SHEARWATERS with a single MANX. NORTHERN GANNET off Eastern Wolf Island

Aug. 26th - HUMMINGBIRD crossing Letete passage. Small numbers of Shearwater and 20-30 NORTHERN GANNET off Bliss Island. BELTED KINGFISHERS throughout islands. MERLIN over Simpson Island. 40-50 CALIDRIS sp. sandpipers on rockweed in Head Harbour passage.


Sept. 4th - 100-200 GREAT and SOOTY SHEARWATERS off South Wolf Island with small #'s of Atlantic Puffins. 2 MONARCH BUTTERFLIES

Sept. 8th - SHARP-SHINNED HAWK crossing Little Letete passage at 10:30 AM. 2 PARASITIC JAEGERS off Black's Harbour. MONARCH BUTTERFLY off South Wolf.

Sept. 9th - Adult PEREGRINE FALCON on Macs Island electrical tower. 2 OSPREY over Macs Island. First fledged juvenile BLACK_LEGGED KITTIWAKE of the fall (not from Whitehorse).

Sept. 11th - Small numbers of NORTHERN GANNET and ATLANTIC PUFFIN off South Wolf Island with 1 PARASITIC and 1 POMARINE JAEGER.

Bald eagle on Spectacle Island

Bald eagles feeding on herring ball off Campobello Island

Bonaparte's gulls with Campobello Island in background

Bonaparte's and Kittiwakes roosting on Black Rock

Bonaparte's and Kittiwakes roosting on Black Rock

Juvenile herring gull (top right) :)

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great shearwater

Great shearwater

Great shearwater

Gulls feeding on herring ball off Campobello Island

Gulls and terns roosting on Splitting knife shoal

Bald eagle and Head Harbour lighthouse

Parasitic jaeger (top) with pomarine jaeger (bottom)

Kittiwakes roosting on Splitting Knife shoal

Krill swarm at surface, a food source which draws thousands of gulls and other birds to the West Isles

Merlin over Simpson Island

Adult peregrine falcon on Macs tower
Jaeger sp.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August 14th - 21st

ARCTIC and COMMON TERNS are still abundant in the area around Green's Point lighthouse and Letete passage, although their numbers have decrease in recent days. A few PARASITIC JAEGERS can often be seen harassing these birds as they feed in the strong tidal currents throughout the passage.

Tubenoses are still generally absent from the area, with small numbers of GREAT SHEARWATER being seen on some days as well as the first SOOTY and MANX SHEARWATERS of the year.

BLACK GUILLEMOTS and RAZORBILLS are quite common and we are still seeing small numbers of ATLANTIC PUFFIN on almost every trip as well as the odd NORTHERN GANNET.

The numbers of BONAPARTE'S GULLS continues to grow and they are mainly feeding in the tidal areas around Eastport and Campobello Island.

The first signs of early raptor migration are being seen in the skies over Macmaster and Pendleton island. Migrant raptors often use these islands to move South past Passamaquoddy Bay. I am only able to observe the skies in this area for a few minutes each trip but often see quite a few migrant raptors moving South over the islands in the fall when winds are out of the North.

Sightings of interest by day:

Aug 14th - 5 NORTHERN GANNETS and a LEACH"S STORM PETREL in Head Harbour passage.

Aug. 15th - First of fall WHITE-WINGED SCOTER off Black's Harbour

Aug. 16th - 20-30 GREAT SHEARWATERS off Black's Harbour with a single MANX SHEARWATER

Aug. 18th - LESSER-BLACK BACKED GULL  off Head Harbour lighthouse. PARASITIC JAEGER off Green's Point. First of fall NORTHERN HARRIER crossing Little Letete passage. 5 GREAT and one SOOTY SHEARWATER (first of year) over the Wolves Banks. A TURKEY VULTURE over Macmaster Island

Aug. 21st - PARASITIC JAEGER off Green's Point. UNIDENTIFIED RAPTOR (see photo below) at 12:50PM crossing Little Letete passage, traveling south.

Northern Gannet

White-winged scoter

Lesser black-backed gull

Lesser black-backed gull

Bald eagle

Northern Harrier
Raft of Common Eider

Unidentified hawk