November 17th – From Grand Manan Island

My wife Marg and I came out to our little cabin on Grand Manan Island (at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy) last week to get a sense of what it’s like here in the “bad” weather. Well, we haven’t seen any of it yet. The first 3 days we were here it was 14 degrees, sunny, and almost no wind. Almost as good as being in Cuba! We’ll see what the next two weeks bring. If we’re actually going to retire out here we need to make sure that we can get through the Winter (and that there’s enough birding activity to make it interesting…..).

I find some of the best birding is from the deck of the ferry going to and from the island. It’s an hour and a half crossing and, for all intents and purposes, constitutes a pelagic birding experience. I’ve been across twice now on this trip and have racked up the following species: Common Loons, Red-necked Grebes, 1 Greater Shearwater, Northern Gannets (all, except one, adults), Common Eiders, Bald Eagles, 3 Parasitic Jaegers, Bonaparte’s Gulls, Herring Gulls, 1 Ring-billed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Greater Black-backed Gulls, Common Murres, Razorbills, Black Guillemots. You just never know what you’re going to see.

We also spent some time at Southwest Head Light and quickly spotted 4 Common Loons and 4 Harlequin Ducks (as well as Northern Gannets everywhere).
One of the first things I did on arrival was to put out the feeders and a couple of nets and traps. I quickly recaught 6 Black-capped Chickadees that I had banded in August. I also banded a chickadee, 3 Blue Jays, a Mourning Dove, and an American Goldfinch. I’m hoping to get some Evening Grosbeaks which have been reported about 10 km down the coast.

I’m currently in Halifax visiting with old friends (including bander Jeff MacLeod) and checking out the possibility of doing some seabird counts. I’ll return to Grand Manan on the 20th.

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