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!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Oct. 1st - 12th

First HORNED GREBE of fall
Black guillemot
Common murre
Sooty shearwater
Great shearwtaer
Common eider
Double-crested cormorants
Great cormorants
Arctic terns
common terns
Bald eagles
Bonaparte's gulls
Black legged kittiwakes

There has been moderate bird activity within the islands, but nothing like we experienced on the day of the pelagic trip. Indeed, the SABINE'S GULL has not been seen since. Still good numbers of feeding gulls with plenty of PARASITIC JAEGERS around. POMARINE JAEGERS continue to be spotted further offshore. During an exploratory trip far out to the Grand Manan channel in the scout boat to find the elusive Orca whale of the Bay of Fundy I saw a group of 15-20 POMARINE JAEGERS but little else in the way of bird life. We just barely missed seeing the Orca as well, which was sighted just off the coast of Grand Manan. We did however have a great encounter with a large BASKING SHARK and I was able to get my first underwater footage of this massive animal. To view the video click HERE. As far as birds go, the offshore has been very quiet, with small numbers of gannets and shearwaters around as well as the odd group of ATLANTIC PUFFINS.

On Oct. 5th I spotted my first immature LONG-TAILED JAEGER. The bird was seen in Head Harbour passage in close proximity to other jaegers that I identified as Parasitics. This bird was smaller with very buoyant flight, noticeably different from the parasitic jaeger in the strong wind conditions. The plumage was consistent with a first summer light-morph LONG-TAILED JAEGER. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me.

Migrant raptors continue to be spotted and sightings are as follows;
On Oct. 1st an adult PEREGRINE FALCON was seen crossing Letete
On Oct. 2nd another PEREGRINE FALCON was seen crossing in the same area
Also on Oct. 2nd, a MERLIN was sighted just off Head Harbour Light
On Oct. 3rd an immature PEREGRINE FALCON was seen crossing at Letete
On Oct. 4th a MERLIN was seen crossing Letete passage

An interesting observation occurred on Oct. 5th when a NORTHERN HARRIER was seen flying in very heavy south winds with moderate precipitation and fog. I first spotted the bird far offshore and followed it as it flew West towards the Spruce Island, it was obvious that it was struggling to stay airborne and it appeared to almost "fall" out of the sky and into the trees.

On Oct. 4th we were shuttling cruise ship passengers to and from the Roosevelt cottage on Campobello. While waiting for the passengers to return I was able to do a bit of birding on the island and noted the following species.

8 Blackpoll warblers
American redstart
Black and white warbler
Blue headed vireo
5+ Northern Flicker
Yellow-bellied sapsucker
20+ White-throated sparrows
10+ Song sparrows

The eagles have been particularly amazing on recent trips, allowing many close approaches. I got a chance to test out a new camera and therefore have plenty of eagle shots, which are the only photos i've taken in the last couple weeks.

Bald eagle with fish (Sebastes sp. a.k.a Rockfish)
Bald eagle in flight
Bald eagle taking off
Bald eagle in flight
Bald Eagle in flight with fish

In this next photo you can see the nictitating membrane, a type of third eyelid present in birds and many other animals. The membrane can be drawn across the eye horizontally to protect or moisten while still maintaining visibility.

Bald eagle with nictitating membrane drawn over eye

I also received a photo taken by a passenger named Barry Gutradt who was aboard one of our cruises. The photo was of a young eagle with two leg bands taken on Tinkers Island off the coast of Deer island. Barry spends a lot of time photographing whales and birds down in Bar Harbour and after showing the photo to some researchers down there it was determined that this was a bird banded on Doubleshot Island off the coast of Maine in 2009.

Bald eagle with leg bands. Photo courtesy of Barry Gutradt
We have been cancelled due to inclimate weather for the last three days but have two scheduled departures for tomorrow. I am looking forward to getting back out onto the bay and doing a couple more reports before the end of the season.