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!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pelagic Trip Report

I would like to thank everyone who came out for our second annual fall pelagic bird watching trip on Saturday, Sept. 28th. We really lucked out with the weather which made for some very pleasant birding. Although bird activity was not as high in the area as recent years we still managed to get some excellent look at a variety of species.

Trip highlights include excellent looks at Surf and White-winged scoters in Passamaquoddy Bay, large rafts of Common Eider and a pair of Red-necked grebes off Green's Point. We got to make good comparisons between Double-crested and Great Cormorants  and were also treated with quite great views of bald eagle as they fished for mackerel off Campobello island.

I didn't take a whole lot of photos on the trip so I would welcome anyone who was aboard to send their photos and I will put them up on the blog!

Trip list:

Bonaparte's gull
Herring gull
Great-black backed gull
Ring-billed gull
Bald eagle
Surf scoter
White-winged scoter
Common loon
Red-necked grebe
Black guillemot
Common tern
Belted kingfisher
Double crested cormorant
Great cormorant
Spotted sandpiper
Great-blue heron

Bald eagle

Bald eagle

Bonaparte's gull

Bonaparte's gyulls feeding on Campobello shore

Coopers hawk?

Bonaparte's gull
Common eiders

Gulls feeding in Head Harbour passage

Red-necked grebes

Red-necked grebes

Surf Scoter taking off

White-winged scoters

White-winged scoters taking off

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sept. 17th - 19th

Just a quick post to share some recent photos and sightings. We have seen some very impressive feeding groups of gulls, eagles, porpoises and whales! Also quite a few of raptors moving through the area with the sunny days and NW winds we have been having out on the water. A few Scoters starting to show up and we had our first Harlequin duck of the fall. Birding aboard the Quoddy link has been great!

Sightings of interest by day:

Sept. 17th - 5 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS and a single BROADWING HAWK seen crossing the Little Letete Passage.  Also a PEREGRINE FALCON seen feeding on a kill on Pendleton tower.

Sept. 18th - A BROADWING HAWK, a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, a KESTREL and a unidentified raptor crossing Letete passage. 7 SURF SCOTERS flying off Green's Point. A LESSER-BLACK BACKED GULL in a feeding group an the first HARLEQUIN DUCK of the fall.

Sept. 19th - a single WHITE-WINGED SCOTER and an adult POMARINE JAEGER off Black's Harbour. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK over Mowat Island. a NORTHERN HARRIER over MacMaster Island. Two RED-TAILED HAWKS crossing Letete passage.

Bald eagle diving on baitball of herring
Bald eagle diving on baitball of herring

Bald eagle diving on baitball of herring

Bald eagle diving on baitball of herring, porpoise in foreground

Bald eagle diving on baitball of herring, porpoise in foreground

Bald eagle feeding on the wing

This Black Guillemot has been hanging around the wharf in St. Andrews, great for taking pictures of the back of the boat!

Bonaparte's gull

Flock of Bonaparte's gull being attacked by a peregrine falcon at far right

Broad-winged hawk over MacMaster island

Common Eiders

Common murre

Double-crested Cormorant

Gulls feeding on herring

Northern Harrier

Not a bird! Orange sulfur butterfly?

Peregrine falcon feeding on kill on Pendleton tower

Pomarine Jaeger

Red-tailed hawk over Letete passage

Sharp-shinned hawk over Letete passage

Surf scoters

We still have room aboard the Sept. 28th bird cruise! It departs the St. Andrews wharf at 9AM and returns around 1PM. Cost is $55 per person. Be sure to call the office to reserve a spot if your interested. The Quoddy office can be reached at (506) 529-2600.

Happy birding

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sept. 3rd - 13th

Due to the recent wet and windy weather our trips have focused on the West Isles area, rarely venturing much further then Black's Harbour and Campobello island where a good number of Fin and Minke whales have been actively feeding.

Birding aboard the Quoddy Link has been great and many of our trips have been treated with excellent displays of diving NORTHERN GANNETS, numbers of which have increased greatly over the last week. Numbers of RAZORBILLS remain high and the odd COMMON MURRE and ATLANTIC PUFFIN have been sighted. Both POMARINE and PARASITIC JAEGERS have been sighted regularly as well.

Tubenoses are sparse, with only a few MANX SHEARWATER around and the odd WILSON'S and LEACHES STORM PETRELS being seen. We haven't been out near the Wolves lately but last time we checked this area was fairly quiet with only a few GREAT and SOOTY SHEARWATER.

The number of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES has increased and small flocks can be seen feeding throughout the area.

Large numbers of BONAPARTE'S GULLS remain in the area and many juvenile birds have joined. Most of the terns have moved on but a few COMMON TERN are still around. A 1st winter LAUGHING GULL has been seen in the area for close to a week now.

Raptors have been moving through the area steadily, see the "sightings of interest by day" section below for details.

A list of birds seen on most if not all of our trips:

Black Guillemot
Common Murre
Northern Gannet
Herring gull
Red-necked Phalaropes
Parasitic Jaeger
Great black-backed Gull
Black-legged Kittiwake
Bonaparte's Gull
Common Tern
Manx Shearwater
Double-creasted Cormorant
Great Cormorant
Common eider
Common loon
Bald Eagle

Sightings of interest by day:

Sept. 3rd -2 WILSON'S STORM PETRELS and a dark morph PARASITIC JAEGER seen off East Quoddy Head lighthouse

Sept. 4th - COOPER'S HAWK near Splitting Knife Shoal, an immature RED-TAILED HAWK soaring over Campobello and a SHARP SHINNED HAWK at little Passage

Sept. 5th - SHARP SHINNED HAWK crossing Little Letete passage at 2:20pm. One HUMMINGBIRD

Sept. 6th -  Two HUMMINGBIRDS

Sept. 7th - COOPER'S HAWK over Little Letete Passage. A 1st winter LAUGHING GULL feeding with other gulls off Black's Harbour

Sept 9th - a NORTHERN HARRIER crossing Letete Passage at 11am. The same LAUGHING GULL as on the 7th. A POMARINE JAEGER off Black's Harbour. 4 HUMMINGBIRDS

Sept. 10th - 2 SHARP - SHINNED HAWKS crossing Little Letete passage at 10:40am and another at 11am near Green's Point lighthouse. Dark morph PARASITIC JAEGER off Black's Harbour. An AMERICAN KESTREL and a SHARP SHINNED HAWK crossing Little Letete at 1pm. One HUMMINGBIRD

Sept. 11th - a LEACH'S STORM PETREL in Passamaquoddy Bay.


Sept. 13th - 5 RUDDY TURNSTONES on Whitehorse Island

Black Guillemot

Double-crested Cormorants

Double-crested Cormorants

1st winter Laughing Gull

1st winter Laughing Gull

1st winter Laughing Gull

Juvenile leseer black-backed gull with juvenile herring and great black-backed gulls. Can you find it?

Adult Northern Gannet

Osprey with fish, holding it head first minimizes drag

Osprey with fish

Parasitic Jaeger

Parasitic Jaeger and Kittiwake

Red-necked Phalaropes

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper's Hawk


Adult Bald Eagle perched on a herring weir

Adult Bald Eagle perched on a herring weir

Immature bald eagle with Double-crested Cormorant

Immature bald eagle with Double-crested Cormorant

Immature bald eagle
That's it for now! We still have room on the Pelagic Birding Cruise coming up on Saturday the 28th. It departs the St. Andrews wharf at 9AM and returns around 1pm and costs $55 per person. Please call the Quoddy Office at (506) 529-2600 to make a reservation.


Information on Tropical Birding in Costa Rica:

Some of you may know that I lead bird watching tours in Costa Rica during the winter months. The next tour I am leading begins in January and I have attached some information below. This tour is based out of a beautiful resort on Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula, in an area rich with bird life and rarely visited by the usual birding tours. One thing that I think is very cool about this tour is that it offers a birding and leisure option for those with differing interests in the days birding activities. You can bird the diverse habitats around you with me as your guide, or relax under the palms by the pool and beach! If you are interested, please e-mail me with any questions at nickjameshawkins@gmail.com.