Sunday, April 29, 2007

male Common Merganser

While crossing a bridge over the North Oromocto I saw a couple of male Common Mergansers at a bend in the river further upstream. After taking a few, very long distance pictures, which were more landscape than wildlife orientated, I noticed that the mergansers had moved slightly downriver closer to my position so I decided to wait on the bridge above to see if I could get a closer view of these very attractive ducks. This fish-eating duck's colouring, in its male adult breeding stage, is rather spectacular I think. Having a white belly and breast, dark green head, red bill and feet, dark eyes, grey rump and a black back; the colours appear intense with their striking contrast.

Common Mergansers prefer open water of rivers and lakes . As can be seen in the photo above; the fast river current was pushing quite stongly against the merganser's body.

When these male mergansers got closer to the bridge I was able to get a few overhead pictures before the 'burst of clicking' from my camera alerted them of my presence.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Savannah Sparrow

The richness of yellow in the area above the eye of this Savannah Sparrow allowed for a quick identification of this little song bird.

Friday, April 27, 2007

White-throated Sparrows

Early morning visitors today were two White-throated Sparrows This was the first appear -ance of this sparrow species in our feeder area this spring. Two easily identifiable markings to look for on a White-throated Sparrow are its 'yellow lores' and the 'white bib' at its throat. This year's first sighting was a bit later than last year's which was on Apr. 24.

editing note: since this morning's count we now have 5 White-throated Sparrows at our feeders.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Great Blue Herons in the Evening Light

In the early evening this Great Blue Heron is standing watch at the river's edge.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Chipping Sparrow

Another returning song bird to our feeder area yesterday: a Chipping Sparrow. Other sparrows present at our feeders today were a couple of Song Sparrows and one lingering Tree Sparrow. Earlier this week I also found a Savannah Sparrow in our yard. And although I did not see it this morning; I heard a White-throated Sparrow calling nearby. Migrant Fox Sparrows spent a few days at our feeders around the first of the month before continuing on with their northward journey, and I am now hoping to find White-crowned Sparrows in our feeder area some day soon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ring-necked Ducks

I wait each year for these Ring -necked Ducks to appear. The pond where I always find them had an ice covering over it until just a week or so ago and I had wondered if I would find them again this year; yesterday we caught our first glimpse. The white outline seen at the along the bottom edge on the bill of the male Ring-neck to the upper left is a character -istic of the adult male breeding stage. The female Ring-necked duck is pictured to the right.

Monday, April 23, 2007

American Kestrel

We had spotted two American Kestrels on power lines adjacent to a meadow this morning while driving to a nearby community. The light was just right but, as has often been my experience when trying to capture a photo of a Kestrel, they hastily flew away with the slowing down of our car. Deciding that they could probably be found again near the same location upon our return trip home; we continued on. And as we had hoped, on our way home, there they were; the two American Kestrels at the same location on the power lines as before. The picture I took of this adult male Kestrel is not sharp with crisp details but its markings are clear enough to recognize the spotted flanks and blue-grey wings of the male; also the two vertical black stripes on its cheeks are easily seen. The Kestrel is the smallest falcon found in our region and is often found perched on power lines near open fields and meadows. This was our first of the season sighting of an American Kestrel.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Female Brown-headed Cowbird

Newly arrived at our feeder area today; a female Brown-headed Cowbird.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Tree Swallows Are Back!

Mid-afternoon today was highlighted with the arrival of a couple of Tree Swallows flying over our back yard. This was our first sighting of these birds this spring but it won't be our last. We have a Tree Swallow nesting house available for occupancy and each year, for the past several, we have watched the sequence of activities surround -ing their nesting habits; from the claiming of the house to the fledging of the young swallows sometime around the first week of July.

Paw Prints in the Silt

Its a match! Usually Raccoons don't leave such a clear sign of having been there, for often its empty feeders hanging at a kilter, or perhaps a missing suet feeder, later found on the ground a short distance away that tells me one has been around. However these paw prints I found yesterday, in the silt along a walking trail, are clear evidence of a Raccoon having been there before me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Four White-tailed Deer

While driving through Quispamsis I noticed a White-tailed Deer standing on the corner of an un- developed lot. While stopping the car, my spouse said, "Oh, look, there's another to its left!". Confusing right for left, I saw not only one more, but two. In all, a total of four beautiful
White-tailed Deer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Gulp of Cormorants

I had my FOS (first of the season sighting) of Double-crested Cormorants on April 10th at Oromocto. Found in open waters, both fresh and salt, these cormorants are pre-dominately fish eaters. I have seen several groups since then and have noticed a couple of times that some were hitching rides. Yesterday we spotted three standing on a log floating down the Saint John and last week I watched as a group, along with a few gulls, shared an ice floe floating down the river. Yesterday we found a large gulp of Double-crested Cormorants near the mouth of the Oromocto River. Bunched too close together to get an accurate count, they were an amazing sight as they all took to the sky.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

Green-winged Teal

My photo experience with Green-winged Teal is quite limited, for whenever I had seen one in the past, and it had seen me; it had swam or flown away quickly. However on Thursday of this week (April 12) such was not the case. This very small duck, a male Green-winged Teal, the smallest duck species in our region, just gave me the cold shoulder and walked away ! We had found four Green-winged Teal and two Black Ducks standing on the ice of the Mactaquac Headpond near the causeway. This encounter also presented an opportunity to compare the size of this small teal to that of a Black Duck.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Northern Harrier

Today, while driving along highway #105, at Keswick Ridge, we suddenly saw a harrier rise out of the ditch directly alongside of our car and fly over the adjacent field holding steadfast to its prey. We knew it was going to land soon and so I quickly pulled over and grabbed for my camera and just kept on clicking! What a grand photo opportunity presented to us of this handsome adult male Northern Harrier. This was my second harrier sighting of the week. On Tuesday (April 10th) I had seen another adult male in a field along highway#105 near Sheffield. (see photo below)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Blue In A Black Duck's Wing

Today, while driving along the Golden Grove Road in Saint John, I had to stop my car momentarily to allow a couple of Black Ducks to cross the road in front of me. They appeared to be rather ordinary, nondescript looking sort of ducks to me; that is, until I captured a glimpse of the beautiful blue hidden within their wings.

Osprey Are Back

Having heard of a sighting of Osprey in Jemseg a couple of days ago I decided to see if I could also find my own 'first of the season sighting' of one. I looked at a couple of nest sites locally and did not see any signs of their presence and so decided to drive down along highway #105, in the Maugerville/Sheffield area. I recalled a nesting site somewhere between McGowan's Corner and the Gagetown bridge and so determined that to be my destination. Ospreys are magificent birds and I was rewarded in my quest when I saw one perched beside the nesting box in the field adjacent to the highway! After having taken a few pictures I drove on down the highway. Upon my return I slowed when approach -ing the Osprey I had seen earlier, which was still perched on the nesting box location, and once again my search was rewarded; this time with an unexpected sighting of another Osprey! The second Osprey was perched in a nearby tree and I was able to get both birds in the same picture. Note the second Osprey in the lower left hand corner of this second picture. Later in the day I saw a third Osprey of the day, flying high over the North Ormocto River. Three Osprey sightings for my first of the season sighting; a great day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Common Goldeneye Over Water

A fleeting glimpse of this male Common Goldeye gave temporary colour to an otherwise colourless landscape. Unless in flight the red of its feet would not have been seen.

Monday, April 09, 2007

American Robin

No matter how often I see a Robin, my perception of its beauty does not disminish.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Red Fox

Looking in the same spot twice is always a good idea. While taking a short drive with weekend visitors last evening; I was pointing out a field where I had seen a Red Fox around this same time last year (April 2nd) . And I hadn't really completed my sentence when suddenly we saw this Red Fox runing along the edge of the woods! Pretty amazing timing.
For more Red Fox photos go to:

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Great Blue Heron

I observed my first of the season Great Blue Heron early this evening. It was standing in the cold, icy waters of the river near the shore. I had been thinking it was early for a heron sighting but upon returning home and checking my photo archives, I find that my first sighting of a Great Blue Heron last year was on April 2nd. To the upper left is tonights sighting; the photo below is of my first heron sighting last year.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


This Merlin, a medium sized falcon,was flying across the highway yesterday as I was approaching a bridge. While in flight I recognized it as a falcon, and not a hawk, by its sharp pointed wings and longer tail. I was in luck when it perched in a tree alongside the highway on the other side of the bridge and pulling off onto the shoulder of the road I moved over to the passenger side and rolled down the window and took a few pictures. I don't see Merlins often and this was only the third opportunity I have had to photograph one. Pictures in the posting below show this fast flying falcon in flight.

Merlin In Flight