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Common Yellowthroat

June 05, 2021

This Common Yellowthroat was as the military expression goes, "under the guns". I was expecting a distant target so I was powered up with a 400mm-1200mm zoom lens but I had to retract to 400mm and even that was too much focal length for this bird. Needless to say image definition suffered somewhat.

Common Yellowthroat

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Ruffed Grouse

June 04, 2021

I was bumping along a country road when I spotted a dozen or so golf ball sized Ruffed Grouse chick-lets in the centre of the road. I stopped immediately and I am sure that's when the mother uttered a warning call and the the little grouse-lets scattered and hid. I did manage a few photos of the annoyed mother but she soon settled down when she realized I was not an immediate danger.

Ruffed Grouse

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Blackburnian Warbler

June 04, 2021

The Blackburnian Warbler is a stunning bird. I always look forward to meeting this bird. It is easy to find in its favored habitat thanks to its distinctive song.

Blackburnian Warbler

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Bay-breasted Warbler

June 02, 2021

Nova Scotia has been under a partial lockdown in recent weeks due to Covid-19 with residents restricted to movement within their own community. This restriction was lifted today, and I was able to travel and get out to some of my favourite locations.

A handshake was had between me and the Bay-breasted Warbler, a special bird friend of mine. It's common in favoured habitat but in other locations its hard to find. The song is high-pitched, but I can still hear it.

Bay-breasted Warbler

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Rose-breasted Grosbeak

May 24, 2021

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is near to an annual regular at our place in Portuguese Cove. It usually stays for two or three days and then moves on looking for the mature hardwood forests.

If you think this adult male is handsome just wait until you stand near it when it bursts into song. You'll be looking for your socks after that experience. The song is akin to an American Robin that has taken singing lessons.

Photos are taken through windows. This is a motivator to keep the glass clean.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

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Broad-winged Hawk

May 23, 2021

The Broad-winged Hawk is common in the mild seasons in Nova Scotia but uncommon in the winter after most move further south. It often returns to its same rough nest site year after year. The high pitched screech of this buteo is unmistakable. It is commonly found around water but soars widely looking for prey.

Back lit high photos are typical of this species. They are found in large numbers on Brier Island, Nova Scotia, in the fall.

Broad-winged Hawk

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Bullock's Oriole

May 21, 2021

The Bullock's Oriole is a rare bird although it has become an annual regular to Nova Scotia. It used to be combined with the Baltimore Oriole and known as the Northern Oriole. It resides primarily from the centre of the North American continent to the west.

This is a first spring male and as such is a tricky identification. When identifying birds never use Google images since about 30 percent of the identifications are wrong. Use only the accepted sources such as, "The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern (or Western) North America". Online sources such as the American Bird Association and The Cornell Lab of Ornithology do not provide enough examples or details on field marks to be useful.

So I have to resort to the tried and true Sherlock Holmes method of deduction, "If you eliminate what is impossible whatever is left, no matter how improbable, is the truth".

I eliminated the Orchard Oriole as a candidate because my bird is too large and has a rapier like bill. The Orchard Oriole, especially the female, is hardly larger than a warbler and has a shorter less pointed bill. Also it is yellow not orange like my candidate bird.

The other candidate is the Baltimore Oriole but I can find no reliable confirmed example of a first spring Baltimore Oriole with a black chin or goatee without  the associated black head.

The most reliable field mark is the black line through the eye of the Bullock's Oriole and although it is faint it is visible on some images. The Baltimore Oriole does not have the black line through the eye. The lack of a pale grayish under belly is inconsistent with the first spring Bullock's Oriole and this does concern me unless it is a second spring Bullock's Oriole. The beginnings of the large white wing patch is also evident which is another field mark for Bullock's Oriole. It is also possible that it is a hybrid Bullock's/Baltimore Oriole.

I will have lots more photos if the bird lingers feasting on my suet offerings. It is a yard first. Photographing through two panes of glass never produces good results so I will try to photograph it in the open.

Bullock's Oriole

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Ipswich Sparrow

May 13, 2021

The Ipswich Sparrow is an "all Canadian bird", almost all born on Canada's Sable Island. The proper name should be Sable Island Sparrow and it should be recognized as a species in its own right.

They bunch up along the coast and then make their over water sortie to Sable Island. The late Dr. Ian Mclaren was a strong proponent of this bird's nature and coauthored a book on its uniqueness.

It is larger and sandier in tone than the Savannah Sparrow with a different song and certainly a very different personality something naturalists experience when they meet these birds along our Atlantic coastal shores.

Ipswich Sparrow

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Eastern Towhee and Grey Catbird

May 11, 2021

I reedited my photos from yesterday due to excessive noise in the photographs. Noise is the curse of all good photography. Often it shows up in the opens spaces like the sky behind the subject but in all cases it compromises colour and definition.

Eastern Towhee

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Grey Catbird

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Eastern Towhee

May 10, 2021

The Eastern Towhee is an annual visitor best described as uncommon, certainly not rare. This example was a male in its finest regalia. I see one or two every year but they are usually juveniles or females.

I will update these photos with better copies in a day or two after I learn the new Adobe format  probably when it rains which is a reliable event in Nova Scotia

The Eastern Towhee and Spotted Towhee (the western variant) were once classified as the same species, the Rufous-sided Towhee.

Eastern Towhee

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