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!