Jeannette and I enjoyed a summer roadtrip to the Atlantic Provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island from August 15th through 23rd. Shorebirds were our birding focus, because August, but our expectations were far surpassed! Here are a few photo highlights from the journey.
We began our roadtrip in Bangor, where we could not resist some quality time with an unusually-confiding family group of Least Bitterns that has been hanging out in Essex Marsh.
We then drove straight to Johnson’s Mills, New Brunswick, near the head of the Bay of Fundy.
Here, at and nearby the Shorebird Interpretive Center, nearly half of the world’s population of Semipalmated Sandpipers passes through. After a day count of 100,000 a couple of days before we arrived, we had to settle for a tally of about 60,000. It was awesome (in the literal sense of the word).
I wrote about this special place and how everyone needs to visit in a blog back in 2017 that can be read here.
Staying in the delightful town of Sackville, we made multiple visits to the downtown Waterfowl Park. Copious amounts of dabbling ducks breed and stage here.
. Here are a couple of Gadwall.
Good numbers of American Wigeon are also present.
But of course you’re really here at this time of year for the shorebirds, so on the next day, we were right back to Johnson’s Mills for the incoming tide.
. Here’s a Semipalmated Sandpiper pool party.
So. Many. Shorebirds.
It’s hard for still photos to do the scene true justice however, so we posted a few videos to our store’s Facebook Page.
They can be viewed here.
As per tradition in this blog, a photo of our meal of the trip! This was our “lifer” Kurdish food from Fener’s Place in Sackville. Since we have not had this cuisine before, it notched out the win from several great meals in Charlottetown and elsewhere throughout the tour.
Then it was off to Prince Edward Island, our primary destination of the trip. Our first stop was Brackley Marsh, but rain caught up with us and it was absolutely pouring. Birding was not easy, although we found two good birds: Long-billed Dowitcher and “Western” Willet. However, it took us until the next morning to find what we were looking for…
… this Gray Heron! A vagrant from Europe, this is the first we have seen in North America. With this trip cancelled for the last two years due to the closed border, it was serendipitous for it to show up when we could finally make it. A big thanks to our friend Dwaine for rising early and pinning it down for us!
We were amazed by the number of Great Blue Herons all over the island, too, such as this group near Savage Harbor.
… Dwaine showed us around, and after lunch, we birded Borden-Carlton
…where we returned the favor by finding this very rare for the island Black Tern at Borden Beach.
Standing next to Bonaparte’s Gulls and Semipalmated Sandpipers, you can see how tiny this marsh tern is.
Jeannette was put in charge of documenting it thoroughly!
We spent the next day vehicle-free in Charlottetown, starting with morning birding at Victoria Park, where we quickly tallied a dozen species of warblers in scattered mixed-species foraging flocks.
. After Charlottetown, we relocated to Goose River and the next morning began with sewatching at East Point. There, we found another mid-summer rarity in a first-summer male Harlequin Duck. Unfortunately, it was too distant for photos
Later, however, at Rollo Bay, we had plenty of opportunities for close shorebird photography, including ample numbers of Black-bellied Plovers.
And Semipalmated Plovers.
Common Tern fledgling following an adult. Six Red Knots were among the highlights here.
On our last morning in PEI, we once again began at East Point, where we enjoyed 3 Pomarine Jaegers chasing Northern Gannets, a few more Razorbills, and a Mourning Warbler along the road.
Then, as our last stop before crossing the bridge, it was back to Borden-Carlton Beach.
We just could not get enough of the shorebirds here, and photographing them against the island’s red sand really makes them – especially these Sanderlings – pop!
Sanderlings and White-rumped Sandpiper.
We just could not get over, nor stop enjoying, the plethora of White-rumped Sandpipers that stage and pass through the island. We had counts of over 200 in some places, and in some beaches and salt pannes, it was the most abundant shorebird. Here at Borden Beach, we took some more time to marvel at it.
Shorebirds tracks and probes.
And photograph some more Semipalmated Sandpipers…bringing our trip full-circle before beginning the trek home.
This entry was posted in
Birding "Away" and tagged "Birds, American Wigeon, Bangor, Birding, Black Tern, Black-bellied Plover, Common Tern, Essex Marsh, Gadwall, Gray Heron, Great Blue Heron, Johnson's Mills, Least Bittern, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Sackville, Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover, Semipalmated Sandpiper, shorebirds, White-rumped Sandpipers on August 27, 2022 by . Derek
Here are three of the incredible 26 White Ibis that were found in Webhannet Marsh in Wells beginning on August 10 th when one was photographed. I was able to see them in the late morning on the 11 th, as the number grew. Most interestingly, we observed them eating Green Crabs (such as the one on the left)! Well, we know we have enough of those invasive species around, so maybe we just need more White Ibis!
All. The. Shorebirds. And rare wading birds! Here are my observations of note over the past seven days:
1 TRICOLORED HERON (my first pure TRHE of the year), Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 8/9 (with Jeannette).
26 WHITE IBIS, Webhannet Marsh, Wells, 8/11. 29 were present earlier, but I had to settle for “only” 26. Either way, wow…A flock of White Ibis! Rapidly expanding up the Eastern Seabird, this was just a matter of time.
Shorebird high counts this week, with many species now peaking:
AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER: 2 ad with 1 juv, Upper Green Island, Casco Bay, 8/12 (with Seacoast Tours and private tour group). Is this a family group from Ram Island, or perhaps another pair is now breeding further up the bay?
Black-bellied Plover: 62, Pine Point, Scarborough, 8/8 (with client from NY). Killdeer: 5, Pelreco Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 8/7 (with Down East Adventures Shorebird Workshop Group). Semipalmated Plover: 300+, Pine Point, 8/7 (with Down East Adventures Shorebird Workshop Group). Whimbrel: 2, Pine Point, 8/8 (with client from NY). Ruddy Turnstone: 1, 8/7 (with Down East Adventures Shorebird Workshop Group). STILT SANDPIPER: 9 (great count!), Eastern Road Trail, 8/8 (with client from NY) and 8/9 (with Jeannette). Sanderling: 34, Hill’s Beach, Biddeford, 8/7 (with Down East Adventures Shorebird Workshop Group). Least Sandpiper: 75+, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 8/8 (with client from NY). White-rumped Sandpiper: 46, Eastern Road Trail, 8/8 (with client from NY). Pectoral Sandpiper: 3, Eastern Road Trail, 8/8 (with client from NY) Semipalmated Sandpiper: 550+, Eastern Road Trail, 8/9 (with Jeannette). Short-billed Dowitcher: 44, Eastern Road Trail, 8/8 (with client from NY). Spotted Sandpiper: 4, Sebago Lake State Park, 8/11. Lesser Yellowlegs: 64, Royal River, Yarmouth, 8/12 (with Seacoast Tours and private tour group). “Eastern” Willet: 8, Pine Point, 8/7 (with Down East Adventures Shorebird Workshop Group). “WESTERN” WILLET (FOY): 3 juv, Hill’s Beach, 8/7 (with Down East Adventures Shorebird Workshop Group). Greater Yellowlegs: 24, Royal River, Yarmouth, 8/12 (with Seacoast Tours and Private Tour Group). WILSON’S PHALAROPE: 1 molting juv, Eastern Road Trail, 8/8 (with client from NY). Phone-scoped video here: https://fb.watch/ePAQA03F_3/
Well, it wasn’t a rare bird, but I really liked this photo of a Ring-billed Gull from Sebago Lake Park on 8/11. In came to check out if I was going to have a snack after my weekly dip in the lake.
This entry was posted in
Week Reports and tagged American Oystercatcher, Birding, birds, Casco Bay, Eastern Road Trail, Maine, private guiding, Scarborough Marsh, shorebirds, Stilt Sandpiper, Tours, Tricolored Heron, trips, Webhannet Marsh, Wells, White Ibis on August 12, 2022 by . Derek
This Black Tern (far right, with Roseate Terns) has been slowly molting out of breeding plumage since it arrived at Pine Point back on July 2 nd. It was still present in the morning of August 5 th.
It’s August, so as usual, shorebirds were the focus. Here are my observations of note over the past seven days.
1 Surf Scoter, off Sisters Island, Casco Bay, 7/31 (with Birds of Casco Bay Tour group).
1 Fish Crow continues, Point Sebago Resort (private), 8/4 (with Point Sebago Birdwalk group).
1 Red Crossbill, our yard in Pownal, 8/5.
1 continuing molting adult BLACK TERN, Pine Point, Scarborough, 8/5.
Shorebird high counts this week:
Black-bellied Plover: 39, Pine Point, Scarborough, 8/5. Killdeer: 24, Mayall Rd, Gray/New Gloucester, 8/4. Semipalmated Plover: 389, Pine Point, 8/5. Piping Plover: 14, Popham Beach State Park, Phippsburg, 8/2. Whimbrel: 3, Pine Point, 8/5. Ruddy Turnstone: 2, Pine Point, 8/5. Sanderling: 16, Popham Beach State Park, 8/2. Least Sandpiper: 65+, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 8/5. White-rumped Sandpiper: 9, Eastern Road Trail, 8/5. Pectoral Sandpiper: 1-2, Eastern Road Trail, 8/5. Semipalmated Sandpiper: 240+, Popham Beach State Park, 8/2. Short-billed Dowitcher: 13, Pine Point, 8/5. Spotted Sandpiper: 2, Sebago Lake State Park, 8/4. Lesser Yellowlegs: 26, Rte 1/9 salt pannes south, Scarborough Marsh, 8/5. “Eastern” Willet: 14, Pine Point, 8/5. Greater Yellowlegs: 9, Eastern Road Trail, 8/5.