NATURE MONCTON INFORMATION LINE, October 14, 2020 (Wednesday)
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Edited by: Nelson Poirier firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcript by: Brian Stone email@example.com
Info Line # 506-384-6397 (384-NEWS)
** Louise Nichols spent Tuesday morning at various Sackville spots. She counted 14 HUDSONIAN GODWITS [Barge hudsonienne] at the Tantramar Wetlands, (behind the Tantramar Regional High School). These were first spotted last week but they are still present, huddled in a group. In the lagoon behind the Sackville town garage Louise noted 9 RUDDY DUCKS [Érismature rousse] which is a larger number of these ducks than usual at that spot. She also photographed a few RING-BILLED GULLS [Goéland à bec cerclé]. All would appear to be adult birds, but one is advancing into its streaked head of the winter plumage.
On the muddy banks of the Tantramar River a number of GREEN-WINGED TEALS [Sarcelle d'hiver] were enjoying the mud. For years now Louise has noticed that Green-winged Teals have gathered on this muddy bank but not other species. She has always wondered what the teals see in the mud that others don’t. She doesn’t know why, but if anyone does have an answer to this question she would be interested in knowing if anyone does. She also photographed a lone AMERICAN PIPIT [Pipit d'Amérique] on the rocky edge of the river. Last week she saw a flock of about 10 pipits there.
** Mac Wilmot got another note from grandson Andy Stultz who is on his way to his home port of St. Johns, Newfoundland, off Cape Chidley, on the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis St-Laurent. Andy reports today’s birds: 50 ROCK PTARMIGANS [Lagopéde alpin]. A few landed on the ship and a PEREGRINE FALCON [Faucon pèlerin] (Editor note: Gyrfalcon would have to be a rule out) showed up and was buzzing around for half an hour and landed a few times, coming right up to the bridge windows. Then 2 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS [Buse pattue] showed up and the falcon left a while later after bombing the hawks for a bit. Mac comments that it seems in a land of relative nothingness that even a bright red ship will attract birds, perhaps owing to the sheer contrast to all else. To repeat … not your average pelagic birding trip!
** Aldo Dorio is noting PINE SISKINS [Tarin des pins] starting to harvest the birch catkin crop at Hay Island at the moment. A SONG SPARROW [Bruant chanteur] also nicely posed showing its breast patch nicely with the heavy breast streaking.
** Another reminder for those who want to order sunflower seeds from New Brunswick farmer Mike Dickinson if they wish, place your order with Dale Gaskin at 734-2197 and if you get voicemail, just leave your name and telephone number and the number of bags that you would like. The price is $17.00 for a 15Kg bag. This is not a Nature Moncton fund raiser but is in support of a locally grown product.
** Probably many have noticed peanut seeds for sale in the Maritimes. Jane Leblanc added that addition to her already diverse yard in St. Martins. As per the directions on the seed package since some frost had hit the plants, she harvested the whole plant and they are hanging in a cool, dark place to dry before being roasted. Jane had 3 plants in a big pot on her deck and you can see in the photo the number of peanuts. She comments that it was interesting but she doesn’t think she will become a peanut farmer any time soon so Planters Peanut Co., worry pas!
Jane also noted that a pair of BALD EAGLES [Pygargue à tête blanche] and a dozen AMERICAN CROWS [Corneille d'Amérique] were on the St. Martins beach Tuesday morning fighting over breakfast which turned out to be a deceased RACOON [Raton laveur] being recycled.
** With all the restrictions in place it may seem like Nature Moncton is quiet, but far from it. The Board of Directors and committees have met regularly, some virtually, and actually a lot is going on as far as planning. The October meeting will very likely be virtual with John Klymco on odes (dragonflies and damselflies), sunflower seed orders are being arranged, activities when possible and appropriate will happen, as well the Petitcodiac River Appreciation Day is still on the books and will happen when possible and appropriate, swallow nest boxes are in planning for spring distribution, and more. There are lots of items in waiting to resume when the present challenges get wrestled down.
** We have arrived at that time of year when we have frosty nights that change as soon as morning warmth arrives. Jean-Paul Leblanc took the moment to photograph some of the humorous changes it results in. Their heron effigy made a nice nature art subject with its frosted shadows on his Bouctouche home windows.
** Annette and Brian Stone noticed four EUROPEAN STARLINGS flitting about their old nest box on their back deck railing at their Mountain Rd. home on Tuesday. They were taking turns sticking their head inside the nest box hole as if trying to get inside. This behaviour lasted for about 15 minutes and then they flew away. By the time Brian got the camera up and running for a video clip 2 of the birds had already left and the other 2 were still trying out the nest box, maybe in some kind of rehearsal for future nesting activities which fortunately will not be successful due to the 1 ½ in. hole that prevent them from taking over swallow/bluebird/chickadee nest boxes?
Take a look at their attempts at the attached video below
This species has now lost the yellow beak of breeding plumage and also taken on the silver spotting to give them their starling name.
** It was a pleasant surprise to have a MILBERT’S TORTOISESHELL BUTTERFLY [Petite Vanesse] drop by our camp on Tuesday afternoon in follow up to a significant frosty night before. It was in excellent condition. It is one of our relatively few native butterfly species that overwinter as the adult so this one will probably be doing just that. Its under wings, which it would not show, are very bland compared to the brightly adorned topside that will act as camouflage over the winter. The Milbert’s Tortoiseshell is not commonly seen so it was a real treat to have it drop by.