NATURE MONCTON INFORMATION LINE, Apr. 22, 2018 (Sunday)
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Info Line # 506-384-6397 (384-NEWS)
** What a great day for birders in the beautiful spring sunshineon Saturday. Many birders headed to the Salisbury wetlands for an audience with the GREAT EGRET [Grande Aigrette]. On such a beautiful day there was much else to be seen. Carmella Melanson saw a TREE SWALLOW [Hirondelle bicolore], 2 SWAMP SPARROWS [Bruant des marais], a BELTED KINGFISHER [Martin-pêcheur d'Amérique], KILLDEER [Pluvier kildir] and after Carmella visited the Taylor Road and found RUSTY BLACKBIRDS [Quiscale rouilleux] there, an EASTERN PHOEBE [Moucherolle phébi] and a HERMIT THRUSH [Grive solitaire]. The blackbirds and phoebe were just before the bridge on the right side going in.
En route back Carmella stopped at the Bell Marsh and was surprised to find an AMERICAN BITTERN [Butor d'Amérique] out in the open as it crossed over to the other side of the marsh.
I’m finding that It’s very interesting to note the very significant number of RUSTY BLACKBIRDS [Quiscale rouilleux] that we all saw this past winter. Hopefully, this is generalized and the population is getting a boost. Looking at Carmella’s beautiful photo of the EASTERN PHOEBE [Moucherolle phébi], I can almost see its characteristic pumping tail.
** Roger LeBlanc stepped outside his Notre-Dame home around 8 a.m. on Saturday morning and heard some birdsong that puzzled him for a moment. He followed the sounds to two FOX SPARROWS [Bruant fauve] singing with gusto as they ground fed at his feeders. We will only have this sparrow's song for a short time window as they stop to re-fuel on their way to the north of us, or maybe to higher elevations in New Brunswick, such as Mount Carleton, to breed.
** Jean and Billy Renton are back at their Canaan Forks camp for a spring return. Jean comments on the activity from her window Saturday morning as she watched a BEAVER [Castor] busy pulling roots from the side of a bank, possibly for lodge repairs in mind. A pair of CANADA GEESE [Bernache du Canada] have a nest within sight. The male is constantly on guard and it is busy putting the run to any AMERICAN CROWS [Corneille d'Amérique] he considers get too close. A pair of MALLARD [Canara colvert] ducks appear to be nesting nearby, but she is not sure of the nest-site. Jean comments that she seems to be seeing more GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS [Roitelet à couronne doré] than usual in the area.
** Danny Sullivan and Brian Stone were among the birders flocking to Salisbury for an audience with the co-operative GREAT EGRET [Grande Aigrette] and its signature dark neck patch. Danny and Brian perused the lagoons. At Bell Marsh there were lots of CANADA GEESE [Bernache du Canada] and CEDAR WAXWINGS [Jaseur d'Amérique], plus some RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS [Carouge à épaulettes] were settling in, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL [Sarcelle d'hiver]. There were lots of Coltsfoot blooming along the south side of the dykes. The Cedar Waxwings were eating berries from the bushes and HOUSE FINCHES [Roselin familier] were around the area. Many Canada Geese were on nests and other still in construction mode.
The Great Egret at Salisbury was in the ponds at the end of MacDonald Road beside the Highland Park and was most cooperative for admiring birders. Green-winged Teal and AMERICAN WIGEON [Canard d'Amérique] provided a back-drop. Brian comments that his first OSPREY [Balbuzard pêcheur] of the season flew over, to hover a bit over his head. (But Brian didn’t offer it the fish sandwich that he was munching on!). A BALD EAGLE [Pygargue à tête blanche] was also there.
At the end of Government Road in Salisbury, the lagoon had Canada Geese. There were many VOLE [campagnol] or SHREW [musaraigne] trails exposed there in the receding snow. ICELAND GULLS [Goéland arctique] were still present, as they often are in late spring, before heading north. The two that Brian photographed appear to be in late first-cycle plumage. Brian also got cultivar CROCUS  plants blazing into bloom in the sunshine. It’s time to watch for the early ANDRENA group of bees that will be on them almost immediately, as on other early-appearing bulb cultivars, a real boon to out in-need bee population.
** It was a pleasant surprise when checking my Nature Moncton swallow boxes in the Miramichi area to find a male EASTERN BLUEBIRD [Merlebleu de l’Est] checking out a box near Sunny Corner. I didn’t see a female or try to get photos as I’m hoping that a pair will adopt that box before Tree Swallows arrive. There was no sign of any swallow activity near the boxes. There is still a very heavy snow cover in the Miramichi area, but the very pleasant days coming up should bring on the swallows.
I dropped by Pointe-du-Chêne wharf to check the gulls in early afternoon. The only ones there at that time were a group of 100+ on a very distant ice floe. A scope showed a very significant portion of them to be LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS [Goéland brun]. I took several photos but am not embarrassing the gulls by posting them; the water shimmer, blazing sun and distance did not do them justice.
AMERICAN BITTERN April 21st 2018 CARMELLA MELANSON
CANADA GOOSE. APRIL 21, 2018._ BRIAN STONE
CEDAR WAXWINGS.. APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE
COLTSFOOT FLOWERS. APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE
CROCUS. APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE
EASTERN PHOEBE April 21st 2018 CARMELLA MELANSON
GREAT BLUE HERON. APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE
GREAT EGRET. APRIL 21, 2018.BRIAN STONE
GREAT EGRET. APRIL 21, 2018. DANNY SULLIVAN
GREAT EGRET. APRIL 21, 2018. DANNY SULLIVAN
GREEN-WINGED TEAL (MALE AND FEMALE). APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE
HOUSE FINCH ( FEMALE ). APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE
HOUSE FINCH (MALE ). APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE
HOUSE FINCH ( PAIR ). APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE
ICELAND GULLS (LATE 1ST CYCLE). APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE
OSPREY. APRIL 21, 2018._ BRIAN STONE
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD. APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE
RUSTY BLACKBIRDS April 21st 2018 CARMELLA MELANSON
VOLE OR SHREW TRAILS. APRIL 21, 2018. BRIAN STONE