Sunday, 8 January 2012

Birding Nova Scotia

Three good days of birding in Alberta had got our Big Year up and running, but we were raring to go for our first trip out of the province. Flying from Calgary to Halifax takes the better part of a day and it was 10 PM on Thursday before we settled into our cliff top dwelling in the Travelodge Suites in Dartmouth, overlooking the harbour.
Cow Bay
Ray’s son Rob had paved the way to make sure our three days in Nova Scotia would be fun and productive. He met us in our hotel on Friday morning and joined us on a busy day exploring some of the parks and coves in Halifax-Dartmouth. For birders from the prairies, close-up looks at ducks and sea birds which we rarely see such as American Black Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Common Eider and Black Guillemot were plentiful and a real treat. 
American Black Duck

Common Eider (f)
Black Guillemot

Long-tailed Duck
A Yellow-breasted Chat at Sullivan’s Pond was a nice surprise, and a Common Gallinule at Red Bridge Pond and a back-yard Dickcissel were even better. In the afternoon we went to Terence Bay, spending a couple of hours joined by Blake Maybank. A Yellow-throated Warbler had been visiting the yard of Freeman Dryden, who kindly invited us in to watch for the bird, but our birding luck had run out. Still, our day came to a delightful end as Rob and his wife Caroline had us over for a wonderful turkey dinner accompanied by their own wine.

We spent Saturday in the Bridgewater-Lunenberg area in the company of James Hirtle, who led us through an itinerary beside the LaHave river, and the rocky shores of Lunenburg County and the historic town of Lunenburg. In contrast to yesterday’s bright but cool weather, today was milder but foggy. Kevin Lantz’s feeders got us off to a great start and despite the conditions.  James worked hard to help us find several important birds. The day ended with a distant view of a dozen Purple Sandpipers, one of our key targets, the Atlantic Ocean lapping at our feet.

Black-headed Gull
For our final day, we appreciated the hospitality of the Nova Scotia Birding Society, as we joined them on their annual -Harbour Hop led by Bob McDonald and Suzanne Borkowski in the Dartmouth-Halifax area.  We were pleased to get a close view of a Black-headed Gull which had eluded us thus far and another good find was a Northern Mockingbird in Bedford.
Northern Mockingbird

Thanks again to all the birders from the Halifax area for making this such an enjoyable stay for us.



  1. Great photos, especially like the Guillemot and The Black Duck shots- superb! Sounds like you guys are doing quite well; how many species are you up to now?


  2. Matthew - the team total is now 87 birds and 7 mammals ... almost 20% of the way! Brian

  3. Hi, I am from Manitoba and had just been in Alberta, now I am in Nova Scotia visiting my daughter and new granddaughter Lily. Iam doing a Big Year with my grandkids called Pa Lorne's Big Year. Check it out, I will be followin you and maybe get a chance to meet. Lorne