Friday, April 10, 2015

Sea Watch at Point Lepreau

Point Lepreau Lighthouse
On Wednesday, we participated in the Sea Watch at Point Lepreau Bird Observatory.  This is a migrating bird census done in spring and fall, monitoring mainly migrating sea ducks.  Over 10 years of data have now been collected.  Through this work we have now been able to clarify the migration routes and numbers of many of the species.  Land birds are also recorded.  

Point Lepreau Bird Observatory

Because Point Lepreau projects very far out into the bay, it is a good location for observing birds which migrate up along the shore of the Bay of Fundy. The project is sponsored by the Saint John Naturalists Club.  

Looking East from the Observatory at Sunrise
The counts are done in 15-minute intervals, with one interval on and one off.  That makes it so that the counts are done half the time.  The off periods give time to find land birds in the alders and open areas around the point.

Black and Surf Scoters

Following are what was seen that day.
Black Scoter 834
Common Eider 70
Surf Scoter 30
Long-tailed Duck 18
White-winged Scoter 6
Harlequin Duck 11
Purple Sandpiper 10
Also: Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Horned Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser, Black Guillemot, Brant, Northern Pintail, Great Cormorant

Harlequin Ducks

Land birds seen were large numbers of Song and Fox Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Snow Bunting, Savannah Sparrow, Woodcock, Ruffed Grouse, Downy Woodpecker.  One Northern Harrier flew over looking for food.

Purple Sandpipers

We did have one very special bird.  Richard saw a Vesper Sparrow in the bushes behind the observatory.  Shortly it appeared in front of our viewing area to feed on the seed there.  So, we had ample time to view this beautiful bird and compare it to the many Song and Fox Sparrows which were there, too.
Vesper Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

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