NATURE MONCTON NATURE INFORMATION LINE, September 25, 2021 (Saturday)
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Info Line # 506-384-6397 (384-NEWS)
** Suzanne and Yves Poussant took part in the Great Atlantic Pelagic Bonanza 2021 on September 18th off Grand Manan Island. Such a trip is always special. Unfortunately, the fog lasted all day, sometimes being quite dense - an unfortunate situation that limited the opportunities to locate the birds and whales. The photography was of course severely affected, with a lack of contrast and difficulties to precisely focus. The processing with Lightroom helped Yves get some acceptable photos. Among the special species, RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, NORTHERN FULMAR, COMMON MURRE (with a young-of-the-year) and a few ATLANTIC PUFFINS were seen and photographed. In addition, several whales were heard and seen. A nice encounter happened when two HUMPBACK WHALES, that were at rest at the surface, slowly moved towards the boat while it was stopped. One of them almost passed under the boat and some nice close-up views were captured. It finally went underwater but nobody got a photo of the underside of the tail - needed to identify the individual. On Sunday and Monday, the nice clear weather provided nice opportunities to explore some beaches for birds. A photo of a PECTORAL SANDPIPER and another one showing a group of SANDERLINGS is included. Thanks are extended to Captain Russel Ingalls and Alain Clavette for their efficient contribution in organizing such an activity.
** Richard Blacquiere sends photos of some 200+ TURKEY VULTURES that were at the Hampton lagoon Friday morning, by far the most he has ever seen there. Richard thought they were reluctant to take flight Friday morning in the warm, humid, and calm conditions that persisted up until about 10:00 a.m. Once a slight breeze developed, the vultures began to lift off, and within 15 minutes almost all had departed. A spectacular sight watching them leave!
** Yvette Richard dropped by the area in Miramichi Bay/ Route #117 where a group of SANDHILL CRANES have been appearing for awhile. Conditions were low overcast and showers, but she did nice photos as they were not as distant as when Verica LeBlanc recently photographed them. Yvette said she saw 9 in total. I am including several of Yvette’s photos to show the plumage of the 1 immature and 8 mature birds.
Yvette also got a photo of a BLISTER BEETLE she saw roaming across a local golf course. These are the beetles that get their name from the defensive secretion of the blistering agent cantharidin to avoid predators, including over interested naturalists!
**Jane LeBlanc got a great photo of BLACKPOLL WARBLER (fall version). This one of our wood warblers that makes a very significant change in its fall plumage molt to confuse bird watchers!
Jane also photographed a RED-EYED VIREO that visited her St. Martins yard.
** Kelly Honeyman forwards a mushroom/ fungus photo forwarded to him by Ed Blake from Northern Maine. This same critter appeared in the yard of John Massey in Dieppe in 2017 and we had a good chance to follow it. The scientific name is Phycomyces blakesleeanus with no common name unfortunately. With the banner mushroom/ fungus year we are having, I am surprised no-one has come across this strange looking growth.
** The large female spiders are being noticed more this time of year. The BANDED ARGIOPE is one of our colourful ORB WEAVERS. Verica LeBlanc got a nice photo of one in her Nelson-Miramichi garden on Thursday.
** Leon Gagnon sends more news from Wilson Point on Miscou Island. He saw a RED-EYED VIREO on his woodlot; it ate at the tall grasses, quite bold to come towards him about 2 meters away. The sky was hazy and without much light, but he was able to get some photos. Leon set up a trail camera near a path in a clearing in his woods. His findings on the camera are interesting because it gives a good idea of the state of the sun, lighting, temperature, and wind during the installation period. In addition to the presence of passing animals, are birds attracted to a feeder. Within days he had documented the presence of MOOSE, BLUE JAYS, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS, DARK-EYED JUNCOS, HERMIT THRUSH, and AMERICAN ROBIN.
There are several camera models that can be programmed in several ways. The cost of Leon’s device was around $150. Trail cameras are becoming popular with naturalists to document Nature nocturnally when we humanoids slumber.
Nature Moncton is planning a presentation on trail cameras at our December meeting.