Saturday, June 25, 2022

Visit to Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick - Part 7

20 May, 2022
Deep Cove - Southwest Head - Red Point Trail - Ferry to White Head Island - Ross Island - Migratory Bird Sanctuary

     There was quite a bit of activity going on outside as we crunched down on our raisin bran for breakfast. 
     An American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is no stranger to making sure it gets its fair share of sunflower seeds set out for the birds.

     Sometimes the best strategy is to climb right into the feeder.

     Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) would patiently wait for an opportunity to snatch a seed and fly off with it.

     Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia) were more apt to garner seed from the ground.

     The closest we came to a hummingbird was the ornament on the window.

     Purple Finches (Haemorhous purpureus) gave us special pleasure since it is a species we seldom see at home.

     It is a very handsome bird.

     The first stop on our itinerary this morning was  Deep Cove/Southwest Head, and the two areas are contiguous, so I am not sure whether this coastline belongs to one or the other, or straddles the two.

     It was in any event quite beautiful with several small side trails. A rocky shore is always far more interesting to a naturalist than a sandy beach.

     This plant was exceptionally beautiful; I am not sure of its identity, however.

     We carefully scanned a pond at the end of one of the trails but could fine neither bird nor beast.

     In among the rocks we observed an American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus) with what appeared to be a small lobster.

     Having battered the lobster until it was suitable to be swallowed, it turned its attention to a crab.

     A hard shell poses no obstacle to a determined gull in search of a meal.
     Once again our eyes were drawn to a flower that we were unable to identify.

     I suspect that there is someone out there with experience with coastal vegetation that will be able to help us with this. (27 June - As many have helpfully point out this plant is Skunk Currant (Ribes glandulosum).
     We frequently saw Common Loons (Gavia immer) around the coast, but usually beyond camera range. This individual was somewhat closer.

     We took a little time just to take in the beauty of the area and to contemplate the magic that is the interplay of sea and land.

     This Herring Gull seemed to have an embarrassment of riches and alternately turned its attention to one prey item or the other.

     A pair of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialis sialia) had obviously struck out from the mainland to raise a family on Grand Manan.

     I had not thought I would find bluebirds there, but it is further evidence that a crossing over open ocean is no deterrent to small songbirds.
     Miriam had done a great job finding trails with good birding potential for us to explore, the Red Point Trail being one of them. It was filled with warblers from end to end, but given the leaf out of the trees they could be frustratingly difficult to see, and even more difficult to photograph. American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) seemed at times as common as goldfinches on thistles, but we were unable to get a decent shot.
     We did a little better with Northern Parula (Setophaga americana).....

     .....and a singing male American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga aestiva) was downright cooperative.

     I believe the following beautiful bloom is Hookspur Violet (Viola adunca).

     Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) was quite common, thought to have been originally introduced to this area by birds bearing seeds.

     Adjacent to the Red Point Trail was the Hudson Trail, and that called for exploration too.

     As is to be expected along a shoreline constantly buffeted by the forces of wind and wave, erosion was evident everywhere.

     Ferns (Polypodiopsida) are a taxon that gives me fits when I try to narrow a specimen down to the species level, so all I can say, I'm afraid, is that this was a striking example of a fern!

     Alders (genus Alnus) are instantly recognizable, but once again defining the species is not always easy. I need to invest in some fieldwork and study time on these very attractive trees.

     We returned "home" for lunch, after which we drove to Ross Island, where we found that it was only accessible at low tide with a high clearance vehicle. We were skunked on both counts so we drove to Ingall's Head to take the ferry over to White Head Island.
     We had decided earlier that we would embark as walk-on passengers and make the round trip, hoping for better photographic opportunities of Razorbills (Alca torda).
     It was a lovely day, and Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima) lounged on the rocks.

     The sea was calm and the waves lapped gently against the shore.

    To be able to enjoy this environment was such a privilege and the harbour at Ingall's Head was postcard perfect.

     We did not have to wait long for the ferry to arrive and we walked aboard looking forward to our excursion on the water.

    Gulls have learned to identify fishing vessels and quickly gather around hoping for scraps and bycatch to be thrown overboard.

     A Double-crested Cormorant (Nannopterum auritus) is impressive in flight.

     Black Guillemot (Cepphus grylle) was sighted several times as we eased our way out of the harbour.

     We never ceased to be impressed by American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus).

     Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus), the world's largest gull, was even more impressive.

     The journey over to White Head Island is a mere twenty-nine minutes and soon the island was off our bow.

     The maritime environment, so unfamiliar to visitors from central Canada, has a charm not to be denied.

     It is all very splendid.

     Gulls are found throughout the continent, often far from the ocean, but they always seem to me to be an iconic part of our coasts.

     On the return trip to Grand Manan Razorbills surfaced alongside the boat as they had done on our previous crossing, but they and the vessel quickly moved away from each other and our photographic opportunities were no better than they had been the first time around.

     That did not detract from the sheer elation at seeing them.
     Black Guillemot seemed to stay a little closer to the boat, often diving and coming up alongside again.

     As we neared Ingall's Head I was surprised to see American Wigeon (Mareca americana) in salt water. I don't think I have ever seen this before.

     A pair of Mallards (Anas platyrynchos) seemed equally at home in a briny environment.

     We were happy to have a Great Black-backed Gull to bid us farewell.

     A Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) was taking a brief rest before resuming its quest for insects.

     We decided to return to the bird sanctuary where we had discovered the Snowy Egret (Egretta thula) to see whether it was still present and to try for a better picture.
     Along the way several butterflies fluttered from perch to perch, providing great pleasure. It is an Azure of one kind or another, but this whole complex of Holarctic Azures (Genus Celastrina) has been subject to so much taxonomic revision in recent years, I am not confident enough to call it at the species level.

     We were fortunate that this individual spread its wings quite frequently. Often the only view you get is with wings closed.

     We drove in a little farther than we had done on our previous visit, and found a short trail that appeared to lead closer to the wetland where the egret had been hanging out.

     In no time at all we relocated the bird and were delighted to capture some better images, far from perfect mind you, but showing the diagnostic "yellow slippers" and dark bill.

     It doesn't take much to make a naturalist happy!
     A patch of Common Silverweed (Argentina anserina) will do it too.

     If there are Alkali Buttercups (Ranunculus cymbalaria) in the area that only adds to the pleasure of the moment.

     We spent some time watching Herring Gulls bathing in the freshwater pond.

     It is critical for a bird to keep its feathers clean, but one could not help but ponder, given the sheer exuberance of the gulls, whether a degree of enjoyment was not part of the ritual.

     When we arrived back at our B&B we were greeted by a male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), the only one we would see on the island.

     It was a fine end to the day.
David M. Gascoigne,
David M. Gascoigne,

I'm a life long birder. My interests are birds, nature, reading, books, outdoors, travel, food and wine.


  1. Hi David.

    Lots of fun and beautiful in and around your garden.
    What beautiful areas you visit.
    Lots of beautiful butterflies and ducks and birds.

    Greetings from Patricia.

  2. Hi David,
    As always beautiful photos. The tree looks like a wild apple tree because of the flowers, but I'm not sure of it. Anyway it has very beautiful flowers.
    The blue butterfly is too so lovely. For many years I have seen butterflies like that in my garden, but not lately.
    Hugs and kisses, Marit

  3. Wow, wow and wow. Thank you and Miriam for sharing the beauty, the wonder, the joy...

  4. The tiny azure butterfly and bluebird caught my attention for their prettiness. Thoreau wrote: Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.

  5. ...David, your trip keeps getting better. You saw so many amazing things, thanks for taking my along.

  6. Cute squirrel enjoying its meal. You saw a lot of beautiful birds. The wild flowers are very pretty. Beautiful harbour and looks like an enjoyable cruise on the ferry.

  7. Such a great day in nature. Glorious really. The gulls better be careful catching those undersize lobster. They’ll have fisheries officers on their tail feathers.

    Grand Manan is calling me…

  8. It is so pretty, and I am stuck again by how similar New Brunswick and Maine/northern New England are. I have been to New Brunswick once. I'd go back again. And thanks for showing me what a northern parula looks like. I have never seen one, but I was talking with a naturalist a few weeks back and he said he heard them. It was a new bird to me. And I see black guillemots often at the shore but I wasn't quite sure of what their names were. I do need to remember to carry a bird id book or card with me when I go out. I always forget by the time I get home. Thanks for that mental note. Glad you shared this. Have a great weekend. hugs-Erika

    1. Very similar, Erika. Grand Manan Island, or more precisely the adjacent mainland, is right on the border with Maine.

  9. You are going through the color spectrum -- yellow warblers, purple finches, bluebirds, and that jolly red cardinal. Each and every one a beauty. I loved the seaport scene. That's especially lovely.

  10. What a beautiful journey you have made David.
    All those beautiful birds you keep seeing.
    And to be able to capture the squirrel like this, special.

    Nice blog.

  11. Hi David! Deep Cove looks like a gorgeous area to spend some time. The birds are so beautiful, I love Purple Finches, we are seeing more of them around the feeders. The back feeders are overrun with Grackles so we don't see much else back there, but lovely birds in the front! I love that American Yellow Warbler! Such bright yellow! You're right about the Maritime charm, it's beautiful here, I love it! Oh wow, the Northern Cardinal ends the post in a grand way!!

  12. Gorgeous pictures! Thank you for sharing them and your impressions on your visit. I do love that azure butterfly picture.

  13. Buenas tardes, estimado amigo David, un buen final ¡No!, un extraordinario final, amigo mío. No os podéis quejar de ese recorrido, un día espléndido, belleza del lugar y sobre todo un buen y surtido repertorio de imágenes, ¿Qué más se puede pedir?
    Ha resultado una entrada muy amena y llena de gran belleza.
    Un fuerte abrazo de vuestro amigo y compadre Juan con todo mi aprecio.

  14. Hi David - I've only just realised you're nearly in US territory there ... while those gulls - ferocious beaks ... no wonder we're so afraid of them: ice-cream is paltry fare compared to lobster, crab et al!! Stunning part of the world - it's a delight following along ... I hope you can find someone who will identify those plants. Thank you - gorgeous place - cheers Hilary

  15. The squirrel and the seagull are the main actors.

  16. I should venture outdoors just like you. I tend to stay indoors too much. Anyway, the two things that really caught my eye this time were the Yellow Warbler and the Azure Butterfly. Truly stunning. Gigi Hawaii

    1. Very rarely, I spend a whole day indoors, and already I am going crazy.

  17. Hello Dear David.
    Your days are always very busy, it must be great to share a trip with you :-))
    In 3 months we leave ..... At last!
    Warblers and buntings are really special species.
    Big kisses my dear friend.
    Bravo for the photos madam ;-)

  18. Amazing views and wildlife. What a wonderful tour, thank you for sharing.

  19. Toujours autant de beaux oiseaux et les paysages sont vraiment sympas. Bonne soirée

  20. Wow David. I am so impressed with where you go and all the photos.

  21. Hari OM
    The plant you asked about - Ribes Glandulosum. What a wonderful collection of photos yet again... you really did make the most of your trip. YAM xx

  22. So happy you had a cardinal to bid you farewell. Lovely bird.

  23. Despite the absence of your host at the BNB you seemed to have made out ok on this part of your trip. I'm amazed by the variety of birds you spy and photograph. A question: did you just ride the ferry to and fro and not get off at the island?

  24. How wonderful to see such glorious birds plus the other things too.

  25. Precioso este recorrido por la isla, me ha gustado ver a la ardilla y las aves encontradas en el paseo y, por supuesto, la vegetación costera tan interesante que muestras.
    La planta que preguntas podría ser la Ribes glandulosum, una especie de grosella muy popular en tu tierra canadiense, pero no estoy muy segura.
    Me ha gustado mucho tu reportaje, David.
    Muchos besos y feliz semana.

  26. More lovely photos. You're right about gulls seeming to be an iconic part of the coast. We tend to forget they follow along waterways well inland. On the rare occasions that Lake Eyre in Central Australia floods they are among the earliest of the waterbirds that turn up. I grew up near the beach and once hand raised two seagull chicks -someone had come across a nest and thought that they had been abandoned while it was far more likely their parents had simply gone in search of food. As there was no way to return them I hand raised them They were entertaining and greedy and as during the day they were kept in an open yard with a small shelter when they were ready they took themselves off.

  27. I see you had a good time traveling the sea and the trails. I think the first tree is a wild azalea and the second is a wild orchid. They are both beautiful and listed in the Red Book. I liked the yellow singing bird, so cute!

  28. Hello David,
    A beautiful collection of photos. Beautiful birds and lovely scenery. Have a great day and happy new week!

  29. Hi David, you saw so many birds on your trip. Gulls are always very determined, I watch them breaking open shells at the Rhine. The purple finch and the yellow warbler are m faves today, that's a fantastic shot of the warbler! Have a great day, hugs, Valerie

  30. Hi David! Your images are always so gorgeous! They make me want to travel across the country and capture the whole experience on my camera. This fall we'll have the privilege of visiting Nova Scotia and P.E.I...and I can't wait! In the future, I hope to head out west and visit another part of this beautiful country. Thanks for sharing these amazing images with us. Wishing you a great week ahead.

    1. Hi Martha: I have no doubt that you will fall in love with NS and PEI. We too are looking forward to a return visit to the west. One of my wife's sisters lives in Victoria, BC and we always enjoy a visit to Vancouver Island. The airports are so chaotic right now, however, we'll wait until things return to what looks a little more like normal.

  31. Son rápidas las ardillas. Tan rápidas, que cuando las he visto, no he logrado sacar ni una sola fotografía. Saltaban de un árbol a otro, con una increíble velocidad.
    Me ha gustado tu reportaje, con esa buena variedad de animales y sus buenas fotografías.
    Feliz domingo.

  32. Hello David,
    What a beautiful journey you have made.
    The squirrel and the little azure butterfly are really great to see, the male Northern Cardinal is also absolutely amazing.
    I enjoyed your blog.
    Greetings Irma

  33. Wonderful photo's as always. Lovely flowers even if we don't know what everything is. The Yellow Warbler made me smile, such a pretty bird. The coastline photo's make me want to pack my bags.

  34. I'm as interested in the flowers as the birds like the alkali buttercup. I grew up on the coast. Actually Houston but we had a vacation home on the west end of Galveston Island bay side but the beach was near as the island is narrow on the west end. Weekends and summers were spent there.

  35. I am thoroughly enjoying this journey with you. How did the squirrel get in the feeder I wonder. It looks like a "squirrel proof" feeder - well, they do outsmart us all the time. All those lovely birds, some of which I have never heard of like the Northern Parula. And of course I loved seeing the Northern Cardinal, what a splendind splash of color. I wish we had them here. Thank you for taking us along.

  36. Lovely trip! I love the pictures of the sea! I think you were able to capture the peace of the waters....Abrazotes, Marcela

  37. hello David
    so many pictures, you can't keep up with looking at them, but when you've read and looked at everything you're happy with you and Miriam how nice your vacation is
    greet Frank

  38. lol, I agree with you. This kind of beaches are both more interesting and more beautiful then simple sandy ones. :) The first rocky shore seem so interesting. So much to look for and investigate, not to mention photograph :)

  39. I´m not sure if comments are posted or not :(

  40. I never did tell you that I finished the book about the Cormorants that you recommended. It was a good read. I laughed at the squirrel. I left home very early this morning without putting out breakfast for my critters, and they all were lined up when I got home, staring at the door. Of course I provided a double portion to make up for my negligence.

    There's always something new in your posts, of course. Today, I found the Alkali Buttercups and the Black Guillemot especially appealing.

  41. The yellow slippers are certainly striking - they make for a very fashionable bird!

  42. I always enjoy the amazing stuff you see on your trips.
    What a glorious day with nature!

  43. A whole host of interesting species - some familiar to me and some not. Silverweed also makes me happy as it is the first wild plant I ever learned, apart from the obvious ones like daisy, dandelion and buttercup. But this little plant, growing alongside the path in our garden was clearly " a different sort of buttercup". I went and asked my father and for once his name for the plant was the same as the one in the books.

  44. Hello David,
    Great report on your trip. The birds are all beautiful, great photos. You have one I would like to add to my life list, the Razorbill. The views of the coastline are beautiful. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, enjoy your day and the week ahead.

  45. Wonderful travelogue David.
    You see a lot of beauty there.
    Both the birds and butterflies, not to mention what a beautiful nature.
    Greetings Tinie

  46. Dear David,
    sorry, but I can't accept this hummingbird ;-DDD
    Once again you brought wonderful pictures and the harbor at Ingall's Head was REALLY postcard perfect.
    You seem to be a lot better than me when it comes to botanical knowledge anyway, but I sometimes help myself with Google Lens. As for the extraordinarily beautiful plant: My first thought was that it resembles the leaves and bud of an apple. The identification app is of the opinion that it is a Chinese apple (Malus spectabilis) or a plum-leaved crabapple (Malus prunifolia). As for the yellow flowers, the app says they are the flowers of a skunk currant - so called because the leaves smell ugly when crushed - (Ribes glandulosum) - the SHAPE of the leaves might match, but I can't guarantee any of these answers ;-DD
    All the best from Austria!

  47. Is it not nice to know you and Miram on the other side of the globe and me and Peter on our side to enjoy the sea and seabirds and to do so to take a boat to bring us closer. We were for 2 weeks in France, Normandie and Bretagne. We had a wonderful vacation. There fore my late respond to your post David. What amazing birds you saw.

  48. What a beautiful day to enjoy. The Azure Butterfly photos are beautiful.

  49. Hi David. Just catching up after returning from a break in Dorset to celebrate out 50th anniversary!

    An interesting and enjoyable post - I do not remember a post from you which contained so many bird species with which I am familiar from here in UK. I find it quite remarkable, considering the distances involved. Would be delighted if you sent a Purple Finch this way, however!

    My very best wishes to you and Miriam - - - Richard

  50. Querido David, como siempre un maravilloso reportaje. Las flores que no reconoces son, un manzano, y flores de grosella. Un abrazo y feliz tarde.

  51. Thank you for another wonderful virtual tour. The white egret with yellow slippers was the stand-out for me! I learn something in every post!

  52. Hi David,
    this beautiful red cardinal is a wonderful end of your report on this visit. I enjoyed 'walking with you' .

    Best regards, Corrie

  53. The snowy egret, black bill and yellow slippers, looks like the little egrets I saw in Taiwan and India.

    1. They do indeed look very similar, Victoria. Nice to see you commenting.


Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the land on which we are situated are the lands traditionally used by the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Neutral People. We also acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge, laws, and philosophies of the Indigenous Peoples with whom we share this land today. We are all treaty people with a responsibility to honour all our relations.