Monday 27 June 2016

Salmonier River Conservation Area

The Nature Conservancy of Canada recently acquired a beautiful tract of land on the Eastern side of the Salmonier river valley. It is probably one of the richest woodland habitats on the Avalon peninsula thanks to the deep valley, relatively sheltered area from the ocean, and lack of forestation!

To help get a solid baseline on the breeding birds of the area the NCC organized a bird survey for this  past weekend. 11 birders split up into 4 groups to cover all 4 plots that make up this NCC site. I don't have the final species list and numbers to share - but I will share some of many highlights from the site.

The river itself is a well-known Atlantic Salmon river popular for fishing:

Juvenile Gray Jays seem to have an ingrained sense of curiosity, often swooping in quietly out of nowhere and watching our every move:

Mourning Warblers are an uncommon breeder on the Avalon, so I was surprised to come across at least 5 on our plot:

Roundleaf Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) were out in good numbers in the appropriate habitat:

Not sure about this one:

Green Frogs - no amphibian is native to the island. Green Frogs have managed to establish themselves throughout the entire island!

Coral Lichen - very cool looking species!

Wasp sp. 

We accidentally flushed a Hermit Thrush from its nest and were excited to see 3 bright blue eggs - one of which was freshly hatched:

My first bolete mushroom of the year - I couldn't figure out which type though:

After finishing up at the valley Ed and I went on to Cape St. Mary's.
This reserve is famous for its easy to view gannet colony.
It's a great spot to observe them up close while they interact at their nests.
It's also an amazing opportunity for photographing them in flight.

This gannet seems to have a dark outer secondary. I can't quite figure out how this would fit into the moult pattern of these birds. It's not the only individual I've photographed with one or few secondaries that are black in seemingly random locations of the wing.

We had a great opportunity to watch this juvenile Horned Lark as it enjoyed its first days of independence:

A beetle I couldn't figure out the ID of - seemed to be fairly distinctive: