Archive for June, 2012

American Redstart 6/29/12

American Redstarts are fairly common wood warblers in northeastern North America, males like this one are mostly black with white bellies and bright orange patches in the flanks, wings, and tail that they flash to scare up and catch insects. Females have much the same pattern but their bodies are grey instead of black and the bright patches are yellowish rather than orange. Most often found in scrub, second growth, and open woodland.

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Sooty Shearwater 6/28/12

Taken the same day as yesterday’s pic, a Sooty Shearwater joined the gulls following the boat around John’s traplines off MacKenzie Point, but unlike the gulls, this bird can dive for discarded bait. For such a pelagic bird, it’s very unusual to see one this close inshore. With the greedy gulls, it fluttered around on long pointy silver-lined wings and just a stub of a tail, but we didn’t really get to see its shearing flight pattern so reminiscent of its tubenosed cousins, the albatrosses. Shearwaters are amazing migrants, traveling alone for the most of the year in a great circle around the North and South Atlantic, breeding in the Southern Hemisphere during our winter, and there are similar populations with similar habits in the Pacific. Only in good light and close up does the chocolate plumage really come out, unfortunately not well enough in this pic to do it justice.

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Herring Gull 6/27/12

aken from the back of John David’s lobsterboat in Cape Breton. After the traps have been processed and then reset, replaced bait bags have the bottom-rotten mackerel flung out of them and the gulls must act quickly and greedily—knowing they have only a second or two to get the fish before it begins to sink. I call them Larus gulpina. Great blacked-backed Gulls, of all ages and plumages, are also in the crowd following the boat from one trapline to another.

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Green Heron 6/26/12

This handsome little perked up heron has an injured left leg which I first noticed because it had difficulty moving around when stalking or striking at aquatic snacks between the lily pads. Flying was no problem, and indeed it flew very short distances around the lily pond at Fort McClary frequently because it was easier than putting weight on the injury to walk. Green Herons are more likely to be found in the smaller and denser wetlands than other herons and egrets, and if this adult has a nest nearby the chicks will likely be fledging next month.

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Bald Eagle 6/25/12


Bald Eagles are a common sight along the shore cliffs of Cape Breton, but usually I’m on land photographing them over the water or against the sky, rather than being on the water  and photographing them on land. This one hangs out at this spot regularly but I saw no sign of a partner or nest.

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Piping Plover (female) 6/22/12

This year 6 pairs of Piping Plovers are nesting in the short stretch of dunes at Hampton Beach State Park and across the river on Seabrook Beach. This is one of the females, and while most guides say the sexes are similar, the markings of females aren’t nearly as dark or pronounced as the males. While conservation efforts have helped stabilize populations of these endangered little shorebirds all along the Atlantic seaboard, in recent years the number of chicks fledging along NH beaches has been rather dismal.

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Cliff Swallow 6/21/12

Cliff Swallows look similar to Barn Swallows but with more white than red foreheads and short squared tails rather than long forked ones. I found at Fort Constitution in New Castle last month nesting with some Barn Swallows in the entryway to the Fort. I more frequently see these birds in Cape Breton where they dig holes for their nests at the tops of sandy cliffs near the mouths of rivers. Nests are made of mud daubs, and lined with grasses.

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