Thursday, 18 April 2019

The 5 best birds in Carleton County for 2018

     It has been an extraordinary year for birding in Carleton County. I've always known that there were rare birds to be found in our area, it was just a matter of having the time and for more people to be looking. Over the last couple of years, more and more have been looking and not surprisingly to me at least, other birders have started to flock to our part of New Brunswick to see a couple of unique sightings.
     Special thanks to Jim Wilson for unknowingly inspiring me to do this write-up and to Stu Tingley who has kept a close an eye on the Carleton County Birds Facebook page that I started and has confirmed and identified the most important species on this list.

1) Gray Kingbird - found and first photographed by Lorna Stokes on October 2nd in Wilmot. It feasted on insects while it was here and didn't mind the dozens of observers during its stay. Its behaviors are similar to an Eastern Kingbird which we see on a regular basis in Carleton County . This was the first confirmed record for this species in New Brunswick so that is why it made it to the top of the list!

2) Bullock's Oriole - found and first photographed by Dorothy Davis on October 27th in Charleston. This was the first record for the county and there are only a small handful of sightings of this bird for all of New Brunswick. This species of oriole is found in the western part of North America and upon first glance, looks much like our Baltimore Oriole. It stayed for just a few days and feasted on suet.

3)  Townsend's Solitaire - found and first photographed by Cheryl Cox on November 20th in Richmond Corner. The last time this bird was spotted in our area was way back in 1952! It is part of the thrush family which an American Robin is also a part of. The Townsend's Solitare is a western bird and feeds primarily on berries.

4)  White-rumped Sandpiper - found and first photographed by me, Nathan Staples, on September 29th along the St. John River close to Bull's Creek. This sighting has been included because we don't see a lot of shorebirds in our county and this was a first for our area. The water levels of the St. John and Meduxnekeag Rivers were especially low in the fall so it was a great time to see a number of different shorebirds here instead of traveling to the other parts of the province where they can be seen on a regular basis.

5) Tufted Titmouse - found and first photographed by Ellen Helmuth. There have been a handful of sightings of this species in our area, but what made this special was that it was the first time two have been found together in the county. This is a common bird in the New England area, but a few are spotted each year in different parts of NB. They can be as friendly as Black-capped Chickadees and a pleasure to listen to. The pair only stayed for a few days at the feeders of the Helmuth family in downtown Woodstock. No one managed to get a photo so I included a picture of the last time one was found in our area which was a couple of years ago in Bloomfield at the feeders of Mark and Suzanne Jobin.

Honorable Mention

Sandhill Crane - found and first photographed by Tammey Mclean on May 25th. There are only a handful of records of this species for the county. It didn't stay long, but Tammey posted a video of it close to her house in Watson Settlement on Carleton County Birds.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Cackling Goose

Ever since I got to see a Greater White-fronted Goose a few winters ago, I keep scanning large flocks of Canada Geese hoping to see a Cackling Goose. I did a lot of reading and studied a lot of photos in hopes that I would eventually find one.
There is nothing quite like locating and properly identifying a bird on your own! I did just that yesterday afternoon when a Cackling Goose stood out among hundreds of Canada's. At first I saw a smaller Canada Goose, but then another small goose floated by and this one had the stubby bill. Ideally I try to get a photograph of every bird that I count as a lifer, especially when the sighting could be questioned. This picture clearly shows the differences between the two species so this was a nice consolation prize for not being able to find the Barnacle Goose the week before!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Purple Martins

There are only a handful of Purple Martin colonies left in New Brunswick. I went to go see one of them a few days ago in Queenstown. I observed ten of them for over thirty minutes.

Here is a short video clip of the Purple Martins;

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Carleton County Waterfowl

Common - most everywhere and numerous

1. Mallard - year round
2. American Black Duck - year round
3. Canada Goose - almost year round
4 Common Goldeneye - late March to mid-December (sometimes around for Christmas Bird Counts)
5. Hooded Merganser - mid-March to end of November
6. Ring-necked Duck - early April to late November
7. Wood Duck - early April to late October
8. Green-winged Teal - early April to early December (2 still around for Christmas Bird Count 2013)

Fairly Common - could be a little harder to find and not as numerous. Early Spring to late Fall

9. American Wigeon
10. Northern Shoveler
11. Northern Pintail
12. Blue-winged Teal

Migrants - pass through the area between April & November and don't stick around very long

13. Snow Goose - check large flocks of Canada Geese, at least one around each spring or fall
14. Surf Scoter
15. White-winged Scoter 
16. Black Scoter
17. Long-tailed Duck
18. Red-breasted Merganser
19. Common Eider
20. Greater Scaup
21. Lesser Scaup
22. Bufflehead
23. Gadwall - 1-4 can be found each year in the Woodstock lagoon
24. Barrow's Goldeneye - scan through flocks of Common Goldeneye's. Best place to look is in the Woodstock lagoon in April or November.

*Best spots to find the above species - Woodstock Marina, Beardsley Road sewage lagoon and behind NBCC, in the Meduxnekeag River. 

Rare - very few records for the area
25. Brant - one record, found by Cassandra Short behind NBCC Woodstock, early May 2015
26. Cackling Goose - a few found by Matt Wilson (Duck Call Champion)
27. Eurasian Wigeon - 3 records, all at Woodstock sewage lagoon. Spring 2014, 2016 and 2017
28. Canvasback - one record that I know of, I found on Nov.28th 2014 at Woodstock sewage lagoon
29. Redhead - one record from 2014
30. Ruddy Duck - one record that I know of, I found on Oct. 29th, 2016 at Woodstock sewage lagoon

Other Possibilities - no records for the area that I know of
Pink-footed Goose - found in Fredericton spring 2017 and fall 2016
Harlequin Duck - found in Fredericton area before and one recent sighting in Grand Falls
Barnacle Goose - a few found in Aroostock County, Maine in the last few years
Tufted Duck - typically found with Ring-necked Ducks, at least one spotted each year in Saint John or Moncton area

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Pink-footed Goose

There's been a Pink-footed Goose in the Fredericton area for just over a week. A friend had sent me a picture of it, but it was on private property and it sounded like they wouldn't necessarily want a lot of people around. I let a few birders know in Fredericton though and they've been keeping an eye on the large flocks of geese all week. Yesterday, one of them spotted it at a golf course on the north side. I went in around noon and it was behind the driving range in the Saint John River. Hopefully it stays around so more people can see it!
I'm now up to 212 species for NB and 176 for the year.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Ruddy Duck

There were a lot of ducks in the Woodstock sewage lagoon this afternoon and a great variety at that. I found 15 different species of waterfowl around town, but the highlight was this Ruddy Duck. Its just the second time I've seen one and a first for the county. It stood out from the many Green-winged Teal (similar size) that were around because it kept diving and I noticed the stripe below its eye.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Red-necked Grebe

This is a busy time of year for me, but I try to check my usual spots around Woodstock when I can because you just never know what might be passing through during fall migration. Two springs ago, I found eight Red-necked Grebes in Woodstock so I wasn't that surprised to find two a few weeks ago by the marina. I don't see this species very much so it was a great one to check off especially since I had yet to see one this year. Usually I have to travel down close to the Bay of Fundy to find them and the one time I was down that way back in March, I couldn't find any. I'm pleased to now be up to 174 for the year in NB (previous record, 164).