May 25, 2023
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Edited by Nelson Poirier firstname.lastname@example.org
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**A Nature Moncton Committee has been working very hard the past year to overcome the complications and technicalities of installing a nest camera in the Peregrine Falcon nest box on the summit of Assumption Place. This was on the verge of taking place in late April when a bird was seen around the nest box. The committee decided to go no further this spring for fears it would disturb the nesting of the falcons. The workings of this committee were not publicized to avoid false hopes. However, work is continuing to get that nest camera installed this season after the Peregrine Falcons have nested.
Brian Stone was one of the folk commissioned to monitor the nest for activity this season. Brian hit gold on May 23!
Brian comments, “I took pictures of the peregrine nest box Tuesday, but it is frustrating how hard it is to get a decent photo at that distance. One falcon was busy tearing apart some prey item on the big ‘A,’ and I think the other one was sitting inside the nest box. There was definitely something in there moving around. Very hard to tell. I need a really tall ladder!”
(Editor’s note: all Brian’s photos are attached as each one seems to show a different detail.)
**Peter Gadd had the opportunity to witness the Common Gallinule kickboxing competition at Highland Park, Salisbury, Monday afternoon. It was obviously an official competition as there was a referee!
(Editor’s note: this would appear to be bizarre activity but possibly could be aggression between individuals or even a mating ritual which would seem odd. The right place at the right time for a photo, whatever is really going on!)
**Jane LeBlanc in St. Martins is getting all kinds of birds coming to her yard. She caught a Least Flycatcher from her deck. Many birds were uncooperative with photos.
(Editor’s note: the Empidonax flycatchers can be very hard to identify from one another; however, hearing them vocalize makes it fairly easy to separate them. Jane used the Merlin Bird app on her phone to identify this bird as a Least Flycatcher. This app has become very reliable and is very recommended as it does not disturb the birds and the price is right. It’s free!)
**Sterling Marsh is experiencing some very lively Ring-necked Pheasant activity in his yard. The female pheasant is a beautiful bird but it's hard to compete with the male in his breeding colours and flaring hairdo.
The male drove Sterling near crazy Tuesday afternoon as it stayed in and around the yard, vocalizing wildly for a date!
**Brian Stone sends his remaining photos from his
outing on Monday on Taylor Rd. at Second North River near Salisbury. While
searching the road for butterflies, Brian was not averse to photographing
whatever other life he came across. Bullfrogs in ponds alongside roads
made good targets, as well as a Killdeer that was warily studying Brian
to determine his threat level. A Northern Parula came near as he was
photographing Tri-coloured Bumblebees and Mining Bees (suspected)
foraging on Dandelion flowers and a shiny metallic green Six-spotted Tiger
(Editor's note: note in Brian's photo the cargo of pollen the bee is carrying demonstrating the major role bees play as pollinators.)
Brian found a small gray Spider that he decided to photograph and followed it along the ground as best he could as it was quite a speedy little guy. He was seriously surprised when the spider came up to a large puddle and just continued running ... right across the surface of the water -- without slowing down at all! It's always satisfying and fulfilling when nature sends you little surprises such as this. It makes you want to look closer at everything.
On his way home, Brian stopped in at Highland Park
in Salisbury and left with photographs of a resident Gray Catbird, a
male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and a family of Mallard Ducklings.
(Editor's note: one of Brian's Gray Catbird photos shows the only colourful feature of this species, the chestnut undertail coverts.)
**On Wednesday morning, Brian Stone took his car into the shop for repairs (under warranty ... Yay!), and while he was waiting, he walked down Main St. to Assumption Place to check on the falcon nest box. Along the way, he photographed some urban wildlife in the form of House Sparrows that were perching on the older building facades.
He started back but walked along the Petitcodiac River Waterfront Trail to check on any swallow nest box activity. Most of the boxes had no visible activity around them, but one box west of the first bridge had a pair of active Tree Swallows obviously constructing a nest in the box.
At a small bridge over a swampy, reed-filled wet area, Brian heard a pair of Virginia Rails and waited long enough to finally see one come out briefly but long enough for a few quick photos. A few other birds seen were a male Yellow Warbler, a male Red-winged Blackbird, and a family of Canada Geese with Goslings. Brian also noted another bright metallic green Six-spotted Tiger Beetle and a pair of Ants dragging a dead caterpillar off to a nest somewhere.
**Pam Watters gave a very interesting Warbler report from her Miramichi yard pond area on Tuesday.
Pam noticed some movement of birds down by their yard pond. She went to investigate and found a feeding flock of warblers catching insects around the pond. The trees around the pond were full of warblers, and many were at eye level or just a few feet overhead - binoculars were not essential! Most of the flock was Cape May, although they also observed Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Black and White, Northern Parula, Bay-breasted, Magnolia, and Yellow-rumped Warblers.
They estimated around 30 Cape May warblers and 15 of other warbler species. They have had large groups of warblers at the pond in migration in previous years, but the amount this year was amazing. It was like standing in an aviary with birds all around. It was quite a magical experience. The warblers fed for a couple of hours and then moved on although there are still a handful of Cape May warblers in the yard today.
(Editor’s note: the high number of Cape May Warblers is interesting. The favoured food item of the Cape May Warbler is Spruce Budworm larvae. One would wonder if the high numbers of Cape May Warblers may be a spillover from the huge outbreak of Spruce Budworm in Québec.)
**Georges Brun spotted a Bald Eagle flying upriver near the Gunningsville Bridge with an entourage of gulls intent on sharing the captured fish prey the eagle was carrying.
(Editor’s note: one would have to wonder if this may be a Gaspereau as Edmund Redfield is noting a Gaspereau run on at the moment at the counting trap at Salisbury.)
Georges noted a Savannah Sparrow on the Trans-Aqua fencing at the outlet to the Petitcodiac River. He felt it must be nesting in the area since it followed him 3 times during his visit to the area to allow very close-up photos.
Georges also photographed an Interrupted Fern emerging in his yard he had transplanted back in 1995.
**A significant interpretation error was made in Rosita Lanteigne’s report of a male Red-bellied Woodpecker continuing to be present near Caraquet. The editor interpreted Rosita’s message to say it had stopped vocalizing. However, the opposite was reported, with them hearing it vocalizing much more at the moment, which makes the report all the more significant.