Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nova Scotia Birding Trip


On Sunday, February 8, 2 friends and I went to Nova Scotia to see a rare bird.  A FIELDFARE had been coming to a yard in Apple River, NS.  This is another mega-rarity for birders.  We found it feeding on apples still on the tree in their front yard.   

The Fieldfare is a bird normally found in Europe and Asia.  It breeds in northern Europe and Asia and winters in central and southern Europe.  It is also found in Greenland and Siberia.  Its preferred habitat is woods and woodland edges in summer and open country, fields, and agricultural areas in winter.  Being a thrush, it is related to our American Robin and looks somewhat like it, although just slightly bigger.  We heard it vocalize and it sounded a bit like our robin but was more like a "shak-shak-shak".  It has a gray head, nape, and rump and red-brown on its back and wings.  The breast is orange or sometimes buff with black arrow-shaped spots.  The belly is white.  It is a striking bird and a delight to see.

In the pictures below you can see some of its multiple colours.  It was very actively feeding as you can see.

Also at the place where we found the Fieldfare, there were very active feeders with lots of bird activity. There were the usual Black-capped Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, Starlings, American Goldfinches and also Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls which are shown below.

Pine Siskin

Common Redpoll
We stopped at a couple of active farms en route where there was much bird activity.  There we found crows along with a group of gulls.  These included Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Ring-billed Gull (one only), and Iceland Gulls.  Shown below are a 3rd winter and a juvenile Iceland Gull.  These gulls winter here and usually spend their summers in the far north.

3rd Winter Iceland Gull

Juvenile Iceland Gull

We also found some interesting winter finches at these farms.  Horned Larks come here in the winter and spend their summers in the far north.  Lapland Longspurs do the same and these two species often hang out together.  They like to feed on the ground and eat seeds and insects.

Horned Larks

Horned Larks

Lapland Longspur

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