Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Lifer #200 for NB! Greater White-fronted Goose

Thanks for a tip for a friend who is a hunter (it is duck season!), I got to see my first Greater White-fronted Goose last week and #200 for NB. It was with a flock of thirty or so Canada's in the Saint John River. I watched it for ten minutes or so with my scope, but couldn't get the greatest picture as it was quite far out. He was telling me how it was easy to spot in flight and to hear it among the Canada Geese. Hopefully someday I'll get to experience the same thing and find one on my own. I played with the photo a bit so that its orange bill and the size difference would stand out more. 

Barrow's Goldeneye

For the past little while, I've been scanning Common Goldeneye's in hopes of finally seeing a Barrow's. This happened just a few weeks ago and since then, I've seen them on a few occasions in the Saint John River. The first I found was a male in the sewage lagoon. It really stood out since I have been so used to just seeing Common's. I later found a few females (the different color bill stood out) and I'm hoping one is still around for the Christmas Bird Count here in Woodstock.

Here is a photo of the male I saw. Its not the greatest photo as it was at the far end of the lagoon, but its clear enough for a positive ID.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Tufted Titmouse

Over the past 3 weeks, there have been close to 10 sightings of a Tufted Titmouse in New Brunswick. This was one of the first and was at a feeder twenty minutes northwest of Woodstock. It was my first for NB and I enjoyed watching it for nearly a half hour. This species appears to be moving north similar to the Red-bellied Woodpecker so it could become quite normal to have this many sightings each year from now on.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Least Sandpiper vs Semipalmated Sandpiper - PEI

I got this great shot last week comparing two shorebirds, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers. There were quite a few around on the beaches and their differences really stood out when they were mixed in together. This was taken at Canoe Cove. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Great Egret

I can't say I've ever been this close to a Great Egret as I was tonight and I've certainly never seen more than one in the same spot, let alone four all together! Many folks around Woodstock have got to enjoy this bunch for the past few days, they are quite the sight.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Ruddy Turnstone - PEI

I don't see much for shorebirds in the county that I live in New Brunswick. When its time to vacation over on Prince Edward Island however, I usually have a couple of opportunities to see some different one's.
We just returned from our second visit of the summer and unfortunately, the sun wasn't out very much. My 3 and 5 year old still wanted to go to the beach though so we drove a few minutes down the road to Canoe Cove. We didn't stay long because it was just too windy and cloudy, but I was pleased to see two Ruddy Turnstones. I have yet to see this species in NB so it was great to observe them for a few minutes yesterday afternoon.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Cartoons about Birds for Kids

My wife and I have three boys under the age of 6 and we pay close attention to what they can watch. Two shows that they enjoy are Berenstain Bears (a classic!) and more recently, The Cat in the Hat. These two episodes really got my attention because they relate to birds and conservation. Killdeer, Canada Goose, Purple Martin and others are mentioned in these two episodes. They are a great tool to teach children about birds!

The Cat in the Hat - Migration Vacation

Berenstain Bears - Showdown at Birder's Wood

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Purple Martin

I made a trip to the Gagetown area and got to check two species on my life list. There were two Black Terns and eight Purple Martins. A birding college, Joanna Savage, let me know about an enormous Purple Martin house just outside of Gagetown. You can see in the photo that it was raining and if you look closely, you can see a female peeking out beside the male.
Thanks to ebird, I noticed that Black Terns were consistently being spotted in the area as well so I was pleased to bring my total for NB up to 196 and 149 for the year.

Willow Flycatcher

The best way to know if you have seen a Willow, Alder or Least Flycatcher is by hearing it. Each species is fairly quiet in the fall so now is the time to hear them sing and tell them apart. I was fortunate to hear and see two Willow Flycatchers recently and check this species off my life list. It is one I'd still like to find around Woodstock as I saw them in the Fredericton area (Wilkin's Field).

Canada Warbler, Magnolia Warbler

Canada Warblers are hard to find in New Brunswick compared to Magnolia Warblers. It is a threatened species in this province and others so I've enjoyed getting to see and hear them the past couple of years along the Meduxnekeag Trails. A group of us hiked the trails for three hours recently and found two Canada Warblers singing high in the trees. One came down for a closer look, but it flew around so fast it was hard to get much of a photo.

American Bittern

Below are my first pictures of an American Bittern. I've seen a few each year that I've been birding, but they're usually flying away or too far off for a decent photo. A few days ago I saw one flying away and then looked on the other side of the road and there was another one "hiding" beside a pond. It let me take these three photos before it flew away as well.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Least Flycatcher, Evening Grosbeak

There are lots of Least Flycatchers around right now. Now is the time to figure out which is which because they are singing away. I've also heard Alder and I'm hoping that is this the year I find my first Willow. I should at least year an Eastern Wood Peewee this weekend and maybe even a Great Creasted Flycatcher.

I was surprised to see a few Evening Grosbeaks at my feeder a few weeks ago. They don't seem to come right into town (Woodstock) a lot so I really don't have many pictures of the species. I will be moving soon so hopefully I'll get them every winter as our new home is just outside of town. I already know there is a pair of Northern Cardinals around as I've seen and heard them each time we've gone to see the property.

Swamp Sparrow, Tree Swallow

The Swamp Sparrow can be hard to find, but if there is one around, it will respond very quickly to phishing. I recently found two on a trial that runs along the Meduxnekeag River.

Tree Swallows are everywhere right now. In one spot close to Hartland, there must have been almost one hundred (too many to count!) flying around a lake. I won a photography contest a few weeks ago and the prize is two bluebird/swallow houses. I have yet to have birds nest on my property so once I can put them up, maybe that will happen!

Chimney Swift, Greater Yellowlegs

There have been ten Chimney Swifts around Woodstock over the past couple of weeks. What a challenging bird to photograph! One of these evenings, I want to go downtown and see if I can find what chimney they are using. A couple will even fly up above my house with a few Tree Swallows, but most stay in the downtown area.

There aren't a lot of shorebirds around Woodstock. Greater Yellowlegs (pictured) can be found, and Killdeer and sometimes Lesser Yellowlegs. Soon I should be able to find some Least Sandpipers and maybe even a Semipalmated Sandpiper or two.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Wilson's Warbler

I took these photos and completely forgot about them. The day I took them, I was in a hurry and wanted to see if a Wilson's Warbler was still around that I had found the day before. Its only my second time seeing one and the first time I could get a few photos. It wasn't very cooperative, but man, I almost got a great shot!

Pine Siskin/American Goldfinch hybrid

I had this bird in my yard back in April. It came for a few days and really stood out from the many American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins that were around. Nothing came up when I did a few searches online, but based on the features I think it is a hybrid of the two species. Someday maybe someone will come across this post that has had one before or eventually sees one!

Bobolink, Pied-billed Grebe

Bobolinks are a threatened species. Prince Edward Island actively meets with farmers to encourage them to change their farming practices. Many have and now wait a few weeks before cutting their fields so that Bobolinks can properly nest. New Brunswick should follow suit, but they are all over the place with what is protected and what isn't.

Pied-billed Grebes aren't easy to find around Carleton County. There is one spot where I've now found them back to back years. I actually got to hear it call for the first time when I found one this week. Last year I found a juvenile so now I'm thinking they nest around this lake outside of Hartland.

Indigo Bunting

I had an Indigo Bunting in my yard for the first time today! I had been hoping to see one around so it was a bonus that I just had to look out my window. The trees are starting to fill in so getting a decent photo is pretty tricky now.

I've slowed down over these past two weeks, but I am going birding with a group on Saturday and should be able to check a few more species off. I'm up to 138 for the year and 124 for the county. I was challenged to find 155 just around here so I have lots of time left to get there!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Anytime I am home, every one in a while I take a quick look outside to see if anything is around. I looked out yesterday and saw a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak. It is the first time I've ever had one in my yard before and it was nice to get a decent photo. I kept looking into the evening and eventually the male showed up too and they took turns feeding.

May has been a great month for birding. So far I'm up to 95 species although I checked and last year I got up to 107. This is doable however as I've yet to see a few species that I'll eventually see for much of the summer (ex. Eastern Kingbird, Common Nighthawk, Least Sandpiper). I'm up to 134 for the year so I'm already just 31 away from beating last year's total!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Ring-necked Pheasant, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Today I finally saw a Ring-necked Pheasant well enough to get a photo. I actually saw one, but it went into the woods before I could get out my camera. Just a few more minutes down the road, there was another bright male.

Today I also finally saw a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Up until this afternoon, I had found four Black & White Warblers (in four different locations), but still no Yellow-rumped. When I got home from birding for about an hour, of course there was also one in my yard!

Monday, 4 May 2015


Thanks to more people in Carleton County posting what they are seeing, I got to see a Brant for the first time today! It was spotted right in town yesterday and I was very pleased that it was still around today. I couldn't get over the size difference between it and the Canada Goose. They were the only two geese around and it was interesting to watch them hang out together. I didn't want to scare it off so I didn't get very close, but right when I stepped out of my van, it went right under the Canada Goose. This brings me up to 103 in NB for the year and 194 for life.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

House Finch, Chipping Sparrow

There are still some winter birds around, but the numbers have certainly decreased since the beginning of April. I did see one Common Redpoll over the weekend and I'm still getting three Pine Siskins in my backyard. Actually, yesterday I was surprised to see a Bohemian Waxwing and Pine Grosbeak on my street. There was a great variety of winter birds here in New Brunswick, but it is nice to have our other backyard birds return.

Two weeks ago I heard a different song out back. I looked around and noticed two bright House Finches on top of a tree. I've had females before, but never males. The females can trick you when they are with Purple Finches or Pine Siskins, but they do stand out if you know what to look for. Just in the past couple of days Chipping Sparrows have been showing up around the province. One day I had an American Tree Sparrow (soon leaving) in my yard in the morning and then a Chipping Sparrow in the afternoon. They do have some similarities, but their differences stand out when you know what to look for!

Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher

You can tell it is officially Spring in New Brunswick when these three species have returned!

Snow Goose

There are lots of Canada Geese passing through and stopping around Woodstock now that it finally feels like spring. I was in Hartland last week and made a point to stop to check along the river as it opened up there first. I was pleased to find a Snow Goose as it was only the third time I have found one! I plan on continuing to scan the flocks of geese as it'd be nice to find a Cackling or Greater White-fronted Goose.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Boreal Chickadee

Yesterday a group of us went around the Juniper area for most of the day. We were hoping to see White-winged Crossbills, but none were to be found. We did eventually find Boreal Chickadees however so I was pleased to check these species off my life list. There were at least four around, but they flew around quite fast so they were hard to count and even harder to get a decent picture of one!

I'm now at 191 for NB and 62 for the year in New Brunswick. 62 is the most I've ever seen up to this point in the year so I'm well on my way to beating last year's record of 164 for the year.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Pine Grosbeak

I have been able to enjoy Pine Grosbeaks quite a bit over these past few months. They keep returning to my neighbor's tree across the street. I can easily check to see if they are there as we have a large front window. For a few weeks, there wasn't a sign of a male. Finally last week one did come with nine females/juveniles. You wouldn't think that the three photo's below are all the same bird!