As mentioned in my post a few days ago, I returned from a week long field trip to New Brunswick on Friday night. Late Friday night. I had forgotten that I had promised to go birding with Davis and a friend of ours on Saturday... and for you non-birders, this usually means being up for the sunrise in order to see the most amount of birds. Fortunately we are all university students (aka sloth-vampire hybrids) so we had agreed to meet only at 7:30 am. When my alarm went off at 6, I thought I was going to vomit - I am not a morning person - my mother jokes that I have had morning sickness since I was 12.
But the morning was crisp and the sky was blue and as soon as I got out into the air I was feeling fine. We went to the Bois-de-l'Île-Bizard Nature Park which has a beautiful boardwalk through a marsh as well as forest paths.
Our first spotting was two mallard ducks, one of which was a juvenile judging by the blue-violet patches on its wings. There were a lot of mallards on the marsh this morning - I counted over thirty ducks paddling around and going bottom-up in search of tasty tidbits in the pondweed.
A few pairs of belted kingfishers zoomed around the lake, aggravating each other and making their chattery little calls.
From time to time, we could watch them go fishing from a tall dead tree or snag.
Their punky hairdo and irascible nature almost make them rivals for blue jays in terms of attitude.
Although we were technically birdwatching, it's always fun to see the other creatures that inhabit the marsh. This dragonfly was hanging out on some leaves.
We spotted a few great blue herons... one in some reeds...
...one doing a flyby...
...and one perching awkwardly on top of a 20-foot-tall snag.
Usually we see over 50 common moorhens on the marsh, but I think it might be a little early in the season for them to be moving around in large numbers. We counted less than ten of these birds... this one had just made a landing... barely.
Looking for a snack.
Three little white-breasted nuthatches gave this dead tree a good combing, looking for bugs and other tasties.
Two or three shy little wood ducks were hidden in the reeds.
We almost missed this downy woodpecker hidden in a tree... it was making funny little noises that we initially mistook to be a red squirrel.
Okay, so any other birders reading this, tell me what you think. We think Eastern phoebe, because of the colouration and because it was flicking its tail. But this species is supposed to be somewhat uncommon, and is usually found in woodland edges, not marshes - according to Sibley, anyway.
I am pretty confident about the phoebe.