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Pileated Woodpecker

April 11, 2021

Laura and I enjoyed an early spring woodland walk this morning. Our target species was the Pine Warbler which was a no show but the Pileated Woodpecker was an excellent substitute. We also saw and heard a Winter Wren and heard a White-breasted Nuthatch.

Pileated Woodpecker

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American Tree Sparrow in Snow Storm

April 04, 2021

The Tree Sparrow is another all Canadian bird with most breeding well north of the U.S. of A. border in Canada's boreal forest. As usual Alaska gets credit for some nesters as well.

The use of the name American is bizarre since everyone living in South America, Central America and North America is American, people and birds included. How the abuse of this name evolved is a study in laziness.

Tree Sparrow

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Dark-eyed Junco in Snow Storm

April 04, 2021

The Dark-eyed Junco is actually a sparrow and challenging to photograph due to its (you guessed it) dark eye. The eye is the most important feature of all critters human and otherwise and focusing on it is the key to all successful photographs. 

It is a year round resident in Nova Scotia and all Canadian provinces. It is primarily a Canadian bird born and almost all breed north of the American border, although some breed in Alaska.

Dark-eyed Junco

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Blue Jay in Snow Storm

April 04, 2021

The Blue Jay is a common North American bird and is a year round resident in all Canadian provinces although many do migrate a little further south during the worst of the winter.

Although common to residents it is especially appreciated by European visitors. It is ironic that some of our best looking birds are so common and thus taken for granted.

Blue Jay

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Song Sparrow in Snow Storm

April 04, 2021

The recent snow storm, the last of the season we hope, brought most of our local birds up to the feeders. We usually have about 25 species and 200 to 300 birds with the peak activity occurring during and just after weather events.

The Song Sparrow is usually the first to sing in the spring and it has a varied and melodic series of tunes. It stays all year round in this area. The White-throated Sparrow is also a year round resident and it is also an early singer, "Oh...sweet Canada..Canada..Canada".

Song Sparrow

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West Pennant Sunset at Long Cove Point

March 26, 2021

Long Cove Point has spectacular views for seabirds and ocean vistas. It is sheltered water so bobbing and diving sea birds are easy to photograph.

The clouds that add character to a sunset were not present but it was a warm and calm evening with no biting insects. No complaints from me:)

Long Cove Point Sunset

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Fox Sparrow

March 19, 2021

The Fox Sparrow is among our most elegant sparrows with an amazing song. We had one stay with us for 18 months several years ago yet last year we had none. It has irruptive migrations such that there will be Fox Sparrows behind every bush in suitable habitat  followed by a year when very few are seen.

This Fox Sparrow was photographed through our kitchen window through two panes of glass in a snow storm.  It keeps scratching and scratching with snow flying everywhere.

Fox Sparrow

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Lesser Scaup

March 16, 2021

The Greater and Lesser Scaup can be hard to tell apart. On the Greater Scaup the high point of the head is ahead or over the eye whereas on the Lesser Scaup the high point of the head is behind the eye. The Lesser Scaup also has a flat topped head while the Greater Scaup's head is rounded like it was drawn with a compass.  These differences are most evident in breeding males. These birds are called Blue Bills in some areas.

Even when one knows all this separating the species can still be tricky. Bring your bird identification book.

................and please feel free to correct my identification but please tell me where I went wrong:)

Lesser Scaup

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Black Guillemot

March 16, 2021

The Black Guillemot is a stunning bird in breeding plumage with its jaunty red legs and feet. In winter it presents a more modest appearance as it forages along the inshore coast often in bays.

I've been to their breeding colonies and its amazing to see these birds at work and play. I hope to get to one of our offshore islands this year, Covid restrictions permitting.

Black Guillemot

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Iceland Gull

March 16, 2021

Whenever I see an Iceland Gull I usually take a good look just to make sure its not the mega rare Ivory Gull. I once had an Ivory Gull within two feet of me while I fed it chicken wieners. The gull loved them! I was leaning against a building on a off loading area for larger fishing vessels in the warm sunshine.

The face patch is confusing in the second photograph. It could be a Thayer's Gull a variant of the Iceland Gull. The Iceland Gull breeds in the arctic and winters in coastal areas further south like balmy Nova Scotia (-12C today).

Iceland Gull

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