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.

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