Friday, November 27, 2009

Harlequin Ducks

Hello everyone
Julie sent over some pictures of harlequin ducks at the shore at central grove in long island. There were 3 pair and one odd man out!

Thanks for sharing Julie and Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Minke whale

Hi Everyone
This morning i sighted a Minke whale going through the passage. As i traveled up Digby Neck i sighted a Rough-legged Hawk dead on the side of the road. In seawall i sighted a Great Blue Heron fishing in the salt marsh.
The rain is really coming down now, oh well at least we have had a pretty good November. All of the lobster traps are piled high on the wharf getting and everyone is getting ready for the dumping day last monday in November is when district 34 opens the lobster fishery in our area. I hope everyone has a safe and prosperous season.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ducks, raptors, vultures

Hi Everyone
Had a chance to take a quick hike to pond cove and search the area for purple sandpipers. This time of the year i always do the purple sandpiper survey for Canada Wildlife Federation. It also documents any other shorebirds that may be in the area at that time. Alas there was no shorebirds today but lots of black ducks, 4 long tailed ducks, and eider ducks. I left pond cove and then headed towards Freeport where 9 Turkey Vultures were soaring overhead near the ferry dock. On my way up Digby Neck i sighted a mature bald eagle near mink cove.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Raptors, and Vultures moving through

Hi Everyone
Today was a overcast with a bit of wind. The raptors and vultures were moving through today, along with common grackles and Blue Jays.
At pond cove i sighted a Great Blue Heron, lots of black ducks, 1 Northern Harrier, 1 Mature Bald Eagle, and 1 Turkey Vulture.
SIghted soaring overhead in my back yard 12 turkey vultures, 1 northern harrier and 1 merlin.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fin Whale entanglement

This is a story Christine Callaghan put in our Island's newspaper called,"Passages". I asked if i could post it on my blog for everyone to enjoy. I would like to thank Andy Moir and Chris Callaghan for sending the story and pictures Todd for reporting and staying with the whale,Mackie and Jerry for their dedication and everyone else involved in the disentanglement of this whale. Great job everyone!

Fin Whale Entangled
By Christine Callaghan

The twelve passengers who set out aboard the Fundy Cruiser, on a whale watch with Pirate’s Cove Whale and Seabird Cruises on October 9th, got more than they bargained for. It was overcast, but the seas were calm. Captain Todd Sollows headed for an area where we had been finding humpbacks on recent trips, about six miles off. Scanning ahead, he spotted a blow in the distance. Bingo! However, at almost the same time, he caught a very brief glimpse of something else at the surface, between us and where the humpback was. Then, along the starboard side, we saw a long length of rope at the surface on the water. Todd veered off, to avoid getting the line tangled in the propeller. All of a sudden a small pink buoy, not much bigger than a grapefruit, broke the surface of the water, and then went under again. I didn’t connect the dots at all, but Todd’s years of experience at the helm immediately told him one thing: entangled whale. He admitted later that he would have much preferred to continue on toward the humpbacks, but of course his conscience wouldn’t allow him to do that. When he explained the situation to the people, they immediately expressed their dismay at the plight of the animal, and their willingness to stay with it, in hopes that we could somehow help it. By this time, it had been several minutes since whatever it was had surfaced. When it did appear again, for just a single blow, we were able to identify it as a fin whale. (Finback whales are the second largest in the world, after the Blue Whale, and can be almost ninety feet in length. Known for their speed, they are called the “greyhounds of the sea”.) Unlike usual sightings, this whale wasn’t even showing its dorsal fin, and it was so thin we could see its backbone. Obviously it was exhausted, and had been dragging gear for a long time. Todd got on the radio, and contacted Shelley Barnaby and Harold Graham, of Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises. There is disentanglement gear in Westport, but since they were out on the water it was unavailable. Also, whale watch operators and crew on this side of the Bay need additional training in using the equipment safely. Anyway, a “phone tree” has been established, so Shelley called the Marine Animal Rescue Society, who notified Head Harbour Marine Mammal Rescue on Campobello Island, on the New Brunswick side. At first they advised us to try to gaff the buoy and cut it off, hoping that the rest of the gear might then slip off. Todd was reluctant to do that, though, since the only way we could keep track of the animal was by occasionally spotting that little pink balloon. And keeping track of the whale was a challenge, as its pattern was to surface for a single breath, then to disappear for several minutes, sometimes travelling a fair distance. When it went down, so did the little balloon. Eventually, we were able to get right alongside of it, and one of our passengers leaned over the side and snapped a shot of a mass of rope and a large balloon wrapped around the submerged tail. When Todd saw that, he knew there was no way cutting off the small buoy was going to solve this problem. He radioed Campobello to tell them how badly the whale was entangled, and Mackie Greene and Jerry Conway agreed to come across in their zodiac with disentanglement equipment. By this time we had spent about two hours with the finback, and our passengers were looking longingly at humpbacks in the distance. Todd radioed Tom Goodwin of Ocean Explorations, who was also out that day, asking if he and his passengers would mind “baby sitting” while we gave our people a look at some whales. Tom agreed, and as he approached he spotted the length of trailing rope. Todd was able to tie a large balloon to it, making it much easier to keep track of the whale. By now it was late afternoon. Todd realized that it would take about an hour for Mackie and Jerry to make it over from New Brunswick, and that they might need his assistance when they did arrive. So he radioed his father, Alger, to come out in Pirates Cove’s second boat, to take our passengers ashore. While we waited, our patient people finally got a good look at some humpbacks. Alger arrived, and he and Todd traded boats. Some of the passengers begged to observe the rescue attempt, and Todd let them go along. As much as I would have loved to stay, I headed in with Alger and the other guests. I heard the rest of the story from Todd and three Dutch travellers. Tom advised Todd of the whale’s whereabouts, and headed back to shore. Todd spotted the big balloon, and stayed with the animal. Mackie and Jerry’s zodiac appeared on the horizon and sped to the location. They were able to snag the length of trailing rope, and attached two big balloons close to the whale, before cutting the rest off. Todd and our passengers hauled the loose rope aboard, more than 600 feet of it. Todd deliberately gave the rescue craft some distance, so as not to further stress the animal. The whale, of course, wouldn’t understand that these vessels were trying to help it. It picked up speed and dove, dragging the two balloons down. Dusk was approaching, and Todd knew that it would take an hour to get back to shore, and that there was nothing further he could do, so he headed in. Realizing they needed to slow the whale down further, Mackie and Jerry were able to attach a sea anchor, (like an underwater parachute), to the gear still trailing behind it. That created enough drag that suddenly the two big balloons that they had attached, plus the mass of rope and the balloon that had been so tightly wrapped around the whale’s tail popped to the surface. They were pretty well satisfied that they had freed the whale of most, if not all the gear that had entangled it. Let’s hope that beautiful creature is again swimming fast and free. “Good Job” to all involved.

Pond Cove

This afternoon the sun decided to come out, although it was still windy i decided to go to pond cove to have a look around. It was a very high tide with waves rolling in up over the beach. I sighted 4 Snow Buntings along big pond and two turkey vultures.

Hike this morning

Hi Everyone
Today is overcast and the wind is starting to pick up so i decided to get out for a hike before it started to rain. Hiked to Northern Light and sighted 2 Golden-crowned Kinglets, 1 Common Loon,and some Northern Gannets. The trees are looking bare now but you can really see the canada holly red berries, and rosehips. As i walked on water street i looked into the swampy area on the seaward side to see if the muskrat was there and sure enough i could see him swimming and then dive with a spash. AS i was driving along second street i sighted a great blue heron flying.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Turkey Vultures

HI Everyone
Traveling down Digby Neck today i sighted a kettle of 30 Turkey Vultures by Lake Midway. IN Sandy Cove i sighted 10 more. The wind is starting to pick up this evening and it is starting to rain. I wonder if we will get the storm they are predicting. I guess time will tell. Good night to stay in by the wood stove.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Northern Light sightings

Hi Everyone
Went for a hike to Northern Light and sighted 6 common loons in a group. On my way back there is a bit of a marshy area on the seaward side where i sighted 2 little Muskrats chewing on grass. As the ferry was coming across the passage i snapped this photo. Took some pics of the muskrats also. Enjoyed this lovely day!