NATURE MONCTON INFORMATION LINE, April 13, 2021 (Tuesday)
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Edited by: Nelson Poirier firstname.lastname@example.org
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Info Line #: 506-384-6397 (384-NEWS)
**Georges Brun noticed Ron Steeves had sent high bird counts from Albert County on April 3. It surprised Georges to see the numbers of 12,000 and 8,000, yet on April 8, 2021 down by the bend in the Petitcodiac River and over all the marshland, a dozen or so flocks of birds flew over and landed in the waters of the Petitcodiac River. Georges has not seen these numbers before. At times they seemed lost but would fly north towards the Champlain traffic circle and use the Veterans highway as their guiding route. At times most of the area was either in fog or snow/rain. For over an hour they just kept flying in and moving up just before bore arrival. The flocks were BLACK SCOTER [Macreuse noire] WHITE-WINGED SCOTER [Macreuse brune] and SURF SCOTER [Macreuse à front blanc]. Among these were COMMON EIDER [Eider à duvet ] in lesser numbers. Over the years, Georges would see flocks in better weather, but flying over Chartersville (Dieppe) and heading to northeast. Perhaps some of the birds stayed over in Chignecto or Shepody Bay before having the ideal conditions to fly north. It was very difficult to see in grey skies, but it seems to be the conditions birds fly to head north.
Georges also got a very interesting photo of a WEASEL [BELETTE] along the rocks at the bend. Georges’ photo shows it just at that pelage transition period, from near-total winter white to dark brown top and white undercarriage of summer.
**Edmund Redfield has checked on the Smelt [ÉPERLAN] run up the Petitcodiac River to find a very plentiful run, in progress. This is no doubt why the occasional HARBOUR PORPOISE [Marsouin commun] has been seen in the river in the bend area. This is also good news for ATLANTIC SALMON [Saumon atlantique] that had been placed in the Pollett and Little Rivers that have spawned and now on their way out to the Bay of Fundy to replenish with Smelt prey to fuel their journey with a quick start. Flocks of gulls are also impressed and may well be the reason why many scoters were observed in the river.
**Louise Nichols was walking in the Jolicure area on Sunday afternoon and as she was walking down a trail to Big Jolicure Lake she heard a very loud, kind of cackling noise. For a moment she did not know what it was. She thought birds at first maybe ducks as she could hear them a long way off and then she realized, frogs. There was a wet area alongside the trail and the WOOD FROG [Grenouille des bois] were in a vocalizing frenzy. She could not see them as they must have been back in the vegetation, but Louise took a short video for the sound. Listen to the action at the attached link:
**Lois Budd was pleased to have a FOX SPARROW [Bruant fauve] come to her Salisbury area feeder on Monday to join the large number of DARK-EYED JUNCO [Junco ardoise] and other Sparrows. The Fox Sparrow is always a special visitor as it is this short window that we get to see them in spring as they stop to fuel up on their way to breed to the north of us. We will see some in the fall as well as they return south but not as frequently as we do in the spring.
**Jane Leblanc had 2 avian visitors to her St. Martins’ yard on Monday she does not often get. A WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH [Sittelle à poitrine blanche] visited, being an uncommon visitor with the RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH [Sittelle à poitrine rousse] very common. A male YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER [Pic maculé] also dropped by which Jane comments is only the third time that they have seen one in their yard over the years. She was only able to get a quick documentary photo as it did not stay long.
Jane also got a photo of a SNOWSHOE HARE [Lièvre d'Amérique] in their driveway. It was in the process of changing its pelage to summer brown. Jane comments “It happens to be the bright sun which made the photo more variable”.
**Mac Wilmot got a nice photo of a SONG SPARROW [Bruant chanteur] that is being welcomed back to New Brunswick in numbers the past week. This species can show variable plumage to make for second looks.
**Aldo Dorio photographed a pair of BLACK SCOTER off Hay Island on Sunday. The scoters seem to be showing up in many spots we have not been used to seeing them during their migration north to breed. Hopefully, it is an indication that their numbers are good.
**While Brian Stone was on his back deck on Monday in the cool temperatures a male YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER [Paruline à croupion jaune] dropped by to say hello and offer some nice photo ops. Brian comments “it asked when the spring weather would arrive”? Note the white throat, split white eye ring, and yellow rump patch that are field marks of this traditionally early warbler arrival.
**Nature Moncton is hosting a virtual presentation on bat-house construction for the May meeting. In preparing for that presentation, Karen Vanderwolf provided suggestions on bat housing that she is presently doing research on. Fred Richards constructed 4 as trial balloons. They turned out to be very time-consuming to construct and materials cost $50 each so only made 4 for now. One went up on Sunday at our Miramichi camp and is pictured up in position from front and under view. With cave bats in such low numbers after the White-Nose Syndrome hit confidence of the nest box being occupied is low but more possible if the houses are up. Also, Big Brown Bats [Grosse chauve-souris brune] that do not use caves to hibernate, are up in numbers in New Brunswick, and they may be a possibility.
I also noted on the two warm sunny days recently there seemed to be some action in the very early emerging MASON BEE houses that are up. I have attached a photo that looks like a few nest holes have occupants waiting for their first warmer day to emerge.
**I made another run to check 7 more swallow houses on Monday and was pleased to see 6 had been occupied by TREE SWALLOWS and the 7th was occupied by a FLYING SQUIRREL [Grand polatouche]. This would appear to be a spring nest which will soon have young. It went in and out of the box a few times then climbed the utility pole and stayed there quiet for a few minutes to give chance for a photo op, and then it glided to some nearby conifer trees. I am not sure if the box had been swallow-occupied last summer but was suspicious, as in the quick photo I can see the swallow nest remnants at the bottom with the Flying Squirrel nest which was constructed of wood fibers and quite bulky above it. A pleasant surprise for sure.