Sunday, April 29, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
I strained the see the pictures but just couldn't make them any bigger in the small 3' X 2" LCD screen. At last, we came upon another group of birders who we could ask. In 1 second flat, Chris Brown said they were juvenile Bald Eagles. What? How can that be? I have never seen any eagle or pictures of such an eagle.
On that day, I added several new birds to my year list, but most importantly, I learned of yet another unexpected spin on a very familiar bird. I must have seen at least 50 Bald Eagles since the new year, two with white breast.
Friday, April 27, 2012
It takes five or six years for the Northern Gannet to reach breeding maturity. When they do, they choose a mate for life. The gannet can live for around 17 years, but the oldest recorded gannet has been 37 years old. Throughout this time, the bond between a pair of Northern Gannets is strong. They return to the same nest year after year to renew their ties and to breed.
The male gathers materials for the nest, often from materials left over from the previous year. They take their time wooing and re-building their nest. This is no Vegas marriage, it is enduring.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Tomorrow, I will take a look at the courtship of the Northern Gannet.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Any trip to Cape St. Mary's is subject to fog. On our drive out, we went through several patches only to emerge into sunshine again. It had been clear for quite a while until we got near the lighthouse. The fog horn was blaring and fog was all around us.
Knowing that it would take a while for us to walk out to bird rock, we repeated the #1 phrase of the day, "It will surely burn off." We arrived at the mid-way point, having seen one caribou and three Horned Lark when all of a sudden three figures emerged from the fog. Three dedicated bird watchers were perched on the edge of the cliff scoping out the birds. My stomach took a fearful flip, and we continued our trek toward them.
All that said, there is no experience like being on the edge at Cape St. Mary's at this time of the year.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The rocky crags of Cape St. Mary's will be teaming with activity for most of the summer, and each phase of breeding will offer a somewhat different experience for onlookers. For now, it is all about scouting and claiming the best possible spot to set up house.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
I ran into some birders yesterday who told me that a farmer in the area had told them about a large bird that had been flying over the fields in the area. It was most likely this same bird. On a return trip to the area the next day, I was surprised as soon as I stopped: A Sharp-shinned Hawk swept into the same area and quickly flew across the highway. Is this Hawk Alley? I looked closely at a silhouette of a large bird in the distance that was behaving like the harrier. I think it is quite possible it was the same bird. It seems to be sticking in the area for a while.
For anyone attempting to see this bird, take the gravel road just east of the entrance to Cochrane Pond road and look closely at the field on the left before the bend in the road. Good luck!