Thursday, October 22, 2015

Birding Saints Rest Marsh

Lesser Yellowlegs
On a cold, rainy day last week I visited Saints Rest Marsh in Saint John.  It is a little late to look for shorebirds but there were still a few there.  We drove the roads of the marsh and Taylor Island slowly but found nothing interesting.  Being past low tide but not yet high tide, I walked the marsh.  This requires good boots and tenacity because the walking is not easy.  But, it paid off.  There were shorebirds there that were not visible from the road.

Above are two of the several Lesser Yellowlegs present.  One flew in and lit right beside me, obviously not realizing I was there.  There were a few Greater Yellowlegs in scattered ponds as well.  I also found Semipalmated Sandpipers, Dunlins, Black-bellied Plovers and a Stilt Sandpiper.  The Stilt is a rather rare shorebird here but a few pass through in the fall.

Lapland Longspur
Walking among the marsh grass sometimes reveals other interesting birds.  This time it was a Lapland Longspur.  I spotted this bird feeding on tidal debris and was able to get a photo before it spotted me and hid in the grass.  This species breeds in the high arctic tundra and winters in the United States where it feeds in grassy fields, airports and beaches.

While I was surveying a group of ducks at the nearby lagoon, a Peregrine Falcon flew over and struck one of the ducks as it was attempting to get fly to safety.  It knocked the duck back into the water but did not kill or capture it.  That was dramatic!  Also seen in the area were the Double-crested Cormorant and Great Black-backed Gull pictured below.  With the gull are Ring-billed Gulls.  The cormorant is a juvenile.

Double-crested Cormorant
Great Black-backed Gull
Below is the list of birds seen (not including waterfowl seen at the lagoon).  The crow is marked with and 'x' to indicate they were not counted.

Green-winged Teal 3
Lesser Yellowlegs 12
Greater Yellowlegs 3
Semipalmated Sandpiper 3
Dunlin 3
Stillt Sandpiper 1
Black-bellied Plover 6
Great Blue Heron 3
American Crow X
Canada Goose 30
Peregrine Falcon 1
Lapland Longspur 1
Savannah Sparrow 2
Black Ducks 20

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