Monday, 29 December 2014

Carolina Wren, Red-bellied Woodpecker

The Christmas Bird Count for Woodstock took place yesterday. I couldn't take part in a full day count like last year, but I did get to see two species in the morning before my family left for the day.

The Carolina Wren has been around for four months now! I've actually had it in my yard four days in a row day and I've seen it multiple times each day. Cold weather is returning later this week so maybe it will finally head south.

I've had a Red-bellied Woodpecker stop by five times this month. It is pretty difficult to get a picture of. I want it to continue to return so I've only been taking its picture through the window so I don't scare it away.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Pine Siskin - Christmas Bird Count

I don't see a lot of Pine Siskins each year. Yesterday was the Christmas Bird Count for Hartland so we were quite pleased to find two at a feeder we stopped at. Four of us found 29 different species yesterday and another 8 species have been found during the count period so far. Hopefully at least one Pine Siskin will be around for the Woodstock CBC next Sunday!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Red-tailed Hawk

I found two Red-tailed Hawks yesterday! Right after church I drove around Woodstock and Hartland for close to three hours. The first one I found on the Rosedale Road right in someone's yard and the other was on the highway on my way home. The last three or four times I've seen a Red-tailed Hawk, I haven't had my camera so it was great to get a picture of each yesterday.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Red-bellied Woodpecker

There are quite a few different reports of Red-bellied Woodpeckers in New Brunswick this winter. This is the second time I've had one come to my backyard. Even though it came twice this afternoon, I couldn't get much of a picture. It was enough to just watch it for a few minutes as I would much rather it come back again instead of scaring it off just for a better photo!

Sunday, 30 November 2014


It turns out there is a duck even more rare than a Redhead in the lagoon here in Woodstock, a Canvasback! I just returned from there and got to actually spend time studying it with my binoculars and got much better pictures. The picture below isn't the greatest as it is very cloudy today and I didn't want to scare it away, but there is enough to confirm its ID. I appreciate the feedback of a few great birders (Gilles Belliveau, Joanne Savage and Dwayne Biggar) that initially made this suggestion after the picture I posted yesterday. Their guidance helped me know what to look for when I returned today. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014


Yesterday I made a quick stop at the sewage lagoon in Woodstock. I was pleased to find a bright male Redhead! It is a first for me so I went back again early this morning. It was still there (it was actually the only duck present). I didn't get much of a picture due to the mist coming off the water, but as you can see there is enough there for a positive ID.

I plan on going back there tomorrow and definitely again on Monday. December 1st is the start of the Winter Bird List for New Brunswick so it would be great if it sticks around at least until then!

*Turns out, this was really a Canvasback! Some other great birders noticed features of Canvasback rather than a Redhead in this poor photo. I returned today to confirm the ID and will post a better picture in my next post.

Friday, 28 November 2014

American Tree Sparrow

The American Tree Sparrows have arrived in my yard. I had just one last week, but yesterday there were three. The Dark-eyed Junco's are around on a daily basis as well. I have had a high of twelve so far this winter.

Overall yesterday, it was a sparrow afternoon. A Song Sparrow has been sticking around these last few weeks of November. There were actually two yesterday and I was also surprised to see a White-throated Sparrow. We had quite a bit of snow (probably at least 25 cm) and by the time it stopped at noon, that's when all the sparrows showed up.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Northern Cardinal

This female Northern Cardinal was at my parents house this afternoon for a few minutes. It is the best picture I've managed to get of one in quite a while (I wasn't even outside to get this clear shot, it was through the window!). Since spring, I've seen one almost every month but they don't stick around very long so it can be a challenge to capture a decent photo.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Lesser Scaup & Bohemian Waxwing

The sewage lagoon in Woodstock still has a nice variety of waterfowl even though it is nearly December. I'm hoping a few different species stick around for the Christmas Bird Count which begins on the 14th next month. There were eight Lesser Scaup still there and this male was close enough to the fence for me to get a decent picture.

Some of the typical winter birds have arrived in Woodstock. I had my first American Tree Sparrow and Evening Grosbeak of the winter just last week. I also found a dozen Bohemian Waxwings just up from the lagoon last weekend. There are of reports of Pine Siskins, Gray Jays, Pine Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls and White-winged Crossbills across NB so there should be a much better variety of birds compared to last winter!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Horned Grebe & White-winged Scoter

Yesterday was a great day for birding. I ended up finding 3 lifers, 5 new species for the county and 4 I had yet to see this year. My two year old was really excited to join me and asked if we could find an owl :) He was quite content to jump in all the puddles, throw rocks in the river and look at the ducks.

I couldn't get a picture of the American Pipits or Lapland Longspurs that I found in a field, maybe next time. I'm also hoping the Red-bellied Woodpecker returns to my yard as I only got to see it for a minute and no picture either.

So thanks to yesterday I'm at 158 species for Carleton County (146 for the year) and 188 for New Brunswick (161 for the year).

Below are photos of a Horned Grebe and White-winged Scoter that I found along the Saint John River around the Woodstock Marina.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

White-throated & White-crowned Sparrows

My backyard has been pretty busy these past few weeks. I consistently get around a dozen Purple Finches, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is still around and both nuthatches make daily visits. Yesterday I even had two Ruby-crowned Kinglets that were passing through. Of course the usual's are still around too like Mourning Doves, Blue Jays, Black-capped Chickadees and American Goldfinches. Also, just when I thought it had moved on, my Carolina Wren was around after supper. I have seen or heard it for almost 6 weeks now!

My newest birds to my yard are what is pictured below. First two adult White-crowned Sparrows showed up and now three juveniles (2nd photo) have been here for a week now. I also am getting between 8-10 White-throated Sparrows along with a few Song Sparrows too. The Chipping Sparrows have moved on, but soon American Tree Sparrows and the Dark-eyed Junco's should both be regulars. 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Gray Catbird, Blue-headed Vireo

The majority of the time, I go birding alone. Today however, my four year old son tagged along and it was great to have his company. Four year old's ask the best questions and are incredibly observant. He actually called out a sparrow that I didn't even notice was there! (he goes around phishing just like I do)

We got to see and hear five Gray Catbirds (he gets a kick out of their name and even more out of how they sound) and a Blue-headed Vireo. I don't often see Blue-headed Vireos, but it was funny because once we got home, there were two right in the backyard! I feel like in the second picture, it was sticking its head right out at me so that it was very clear what kind of bird it is.

Carolina Wren - 100th post!

For over three weeks now, I have either consistently seen or at least heard a Carolina Wren right in my backyard. It is quite a challenge to get a decent picture as it really only appears at dusk. It has been around so long that I have been fortunate enough to hear many of its different songs and calls. 

I actually started to post on another birding site last month. My first post was actually about the Carolina Wren and when I first noticed it in my yard. On the 23rd of every month I will be posting so I will often save different pictures to post on Bird Canada. Here is last month's post; 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Bay-breasted Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler

Yesterday I noticed a new bird without even having to leave my backyard! A Bay-breasted Warbler showed up along with a Yellow, Common Yellowthroat and Black-throated Green Warblers (second picture).

I've now had 77 different species visit or flyover my yard. This also makes for 153 different species in NB for the year so I am that much closer to beating my record of 16.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Tufted Titmouse - Maine

While on vacation in Maine, I got to see my first Tufted Titmouse. There were actually three that came around every morning where we were staying.  I hope to eventually see one in New Brunswick. One was actually spotted in the Saint John area just last week. Not too many are reported in NB though so it might be a while before I do see another one.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Black-belled Plover, Bonaparte Gull - PEI

Here are two species I have yet to see in New Brunswick. The past couple of years I have found them pretty easily over on Prince Edward Island however. Bonaparte Gulls feed right in front of the cottage and I see Black-belled Plovers at the beach we take our boys to.

This trip I found 44 different species. Overall this summer I found 68 but there is still one in question and I will post on that later if I can get confirmation. I'm now up to 88 for my PEI life list. Maybe next year I can bring that up to 100!

Bobolink, Barn Swallow - PEI

Here are two species that are always nice to find over on the island. Many different groups are working hard to help Bobolinks and Barn Swallows so that they can properly nest and have their numbers grow.

At first I thought the first swallow on the power line was a Cliff Swallow. I observed it flying around and noted the different tail and noted it was a juvenile Barn Swallow so that was a neat find.

I heard a lot more Bobolinks that last time I was over to PEI. I only saw the one this trip, but I did get close enough for a decent picture.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

American Kestrel, Chestnut-sided Warbler

Once American Kestrels show up in the Spring, they are very easy to find in Carleton and York County. Just go for a drive and you will usually find a couple along most of the back roads perched on power lines.

I found a family of three Chestnut-sided Warblers last week in Woodstock. None of three came out in the open very long, but as you can see in the picture below, the chestnut really shows up on the sides of the male.

Great Blue Heron, Osprey

Sometimes there are up to twelve Great Blue Herons in front of the cottage over on Prince Edward Island. Once the tide starts to go out, they fly in and every day at least one comes quite close.

I found this Osprey a few days ago outside of Woodstock and its meal was still flopping away.

Great black-backed Gull, Song Sparrow

During the summer, you really only see Ring-billed Gulls around Woodstock. Sometimes a Herring Gull will show up and one did last week. I've only ever found a Great black-backed Gull once in Carleton County and that was just this past Spring. It was only around for one day and I don't expect I will see another anytime soon. They are common along the Bay of Fundy and over on PEI where I took this picture.
On the other hand, Song Sparrows are everywhere in every county in the province. I keep double checking each time I see one just in case it is a different type of sparrow I have yet to find. The one below was singing away in front of the cottage.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Eastern Kingbird, Red-tailed Hawk - PEI

My family just returned from another trip to Prince Edward Island. Once again, anything I happened to see or hear, I had at least one of my boys with me. I still managed to check 10 more species off my PEI life list bringing me up to 87. Just in the two trips we have made this summer, I'm up to 64 species.

I found two Eastern Kingbirds at the Cornwall sewage lagoon last week. There was also a Red-tailed Hawk that soared above the cottage for a few minutes over the weekend.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Killdeer, Savannah Sparrow

I found two Killdeer an two Savannah Sparrows yesterday. With such a great zoom on my camera I can get a close shot while staying far enough that the birds don't fly away on me.

Double-crested Cormorant, Common Yellowthroat

A dozen or so cormorants stick around Woodstock for most of the summer. I'd like to get a close enough shot of the inside of their mouth someday as its completely blue and their eyes are quite unique.

Common Yellowthroats are well, common. The males get quite loud and often the females (pictured) make you think for a minute that you have found a completely different type of warbler.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Least Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird

Flycatchers are a tricky bunch to ID. I started memorizing each of their calls and that has made all the difference in finding a few different types around Woodstock. Least Flycatchers seem to be the most common type around here. I'm hoping to find a Willow, Great Crested and Yellow-bellied this year and if I can find each one in Carleton County, that would be even better.

Right now I can find Eastern Kingbirds in a few different spots without too much trouble. I've never seen one over on Prince Edward Island however. Apparently they aren't nearly as common compared to here in New Brunswick. It is really interesting that you can drive just a few hours away and see so many different (to you) birds.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Wood Duck, Common Goldeneye

It is that time of year!

Cedar Waxwing, Belted Kingfishers

There are lots of Cedar Waxwings around these past few weeks. It is easy to hear them flying overhead pretty much anywhere.

I found three Belted Kingfishers in the same area a few days ago and got a picture of two of them together. They sure were noisy all flying around together!

Confusing Birds Quiz

There are quite a few confusing birds out there, but here are 5 that often get mixed up. Each of them baffled me at one point or another and a couple still cause me to do a double-take.

I will leave this post for a bit and will include the correct title for each at a later time. Please feel free to comment and take a stab at each one!