Gulls and more at birding hotspots

Savanah (Ipswich) sparrow! They breed only on Sable Island (photo by Dave Currie).

Savanah (Ipswich) sparrow! They breed only on Sable Island (photo by Dave Currie).

The weather was cool but clear as we met up with NS Bird Society president Dave Currie at McCormack’s Beach parking lot. Dave is a serious birder, and generous with his knowledge. Right away, he set up a spotting scope on some gulls – not “seagulls” of course, but herring gulls, ring-billed gulls, and great black-backed gulls. He brought great photos and shared simple tips for telling apart these 3 common species. A greater yellow legs joined the gull flock we were watching, which is an uncommon sighting for this time of year.

The surprises continued at our next stop – Hartlen Point. Just across the road from the Hartlen Point Golf Course is a stretch of shoreline that is legendary amoung birders. Many rarities have shown up here over the years, being one of the first points of land an exhausted bird can alight on after a trip over the sea. In the air, we saw a raven and Canada geese. On the water, we observed eiders and black ducks. On the ground, Dave pointed out a carcass of a seal, and a Northern gannet. As we moved along the shore, some pipits were spooked out of the shrubs. Even further along, we saw 3 sandpiper species together, foraging along the rocks and seaweed/kelp bed. Once again, uncommon visitors for this time of year. What an interesting spot!

Thanks so much to our excellent guide, Dave Currie. Make sure to check out the NS Bird Society’s snazzy new website – (they have field trips YOU can attend). Thanks also to the families who attended and shared their bird knowledge and enthusiams. Thanks alot to super parent Paula for picking up all that garbage on the shoreline!

See our photos from the field trip in our Photos section.