Birding Cape Sable Island and Surrounding Area, Nova Scotia - Part 2

September 16, 2016

Common Eider is a common duck along the rocky shores of Nova Scotia, but back home in Ontario I don’t see it very often, so naturally I looked forward to photographing them on my visit. Less than ideal weather, including heavy fog at times prevented me from getting great photo opportunities much of the time, but on one occasion at Daniel’s Head I did get some decent looks and photographs.

Common Eider - Cape Sable Island, Daniel's Head, Nova Scotia
1/800, f/7.1, ISO 200, Canon 1D X, Canon 800mm

Common Eiders, our largest sea duck, are beautiful ducks. The black-sided and white-backed breeding males are quite striking in appearance. The subspecies shown in the picture above is Atlantic, which Sibley describes as having long, broad bill lobes with rounded tip. The lime green blush around the nape of Common Eider helps to make it distinctive.

In the second photo, shown below, the bill colour looks more lime green and shows much less yellow than shown in the first photo above. As you can see there can be quite a bit of variance in bill colour.

Common Eider - Cape Sable Island, Daniel's Head, Nova Scotia
1/800, f/7.1, ISO 250, Canon 1D X, Canon 800mm

The immature male in the photo below shows brownish as well as dusky tones with white on the breast and back. Note the pale tip to the bill.

Common Eider - Cape Sable Island, Daniel's Head, Nova Scotia
1/800, f/7.1, ISO 250, Canon 1D X, Canon 800mm

I had precious few Common Eider photos in my library prior to my trip to Nova Scotia. The image shown below of a female was made back in December of 2013 along Lake Ontario at Fifty Point Conservation Area, Ontario. I include it here because of the short, narrow, pointed bill lobe, which looks much different than those shown in the other Common Eider photos in this post and indicates the East Arctic subspecies, assuming I correctly interpreted my Sibley guide illustrations.

Common Eider (female) - Fifty Point CA, Hamilton, Ontario
1/1000, f/8.0, ISO 3200, Canon 1D X, Canon 800mm + 1.4x tc

On the morning of my last day spent at Cape Sable Island, I obtained brief looks at a Piping Plover, which is one of my favourite bird species. The early morning lighting conditions were pretty good and I was pleased with this capture (see image below).

Piping Plover - Cape Sable Island, Daniel's Head, N.S.
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 200, 7D Mark II, 400mm DO II +1.4x tc

This Ring-necked Pheasant (see photo below) provided me with great looks as it crossed a gravel road. I had seen this species only once before and it was a long distance off so the few clicks I made were my first of this species. In my excitement, I clipped the wing tips ever so slightly; hopefully I’ll get another chance to photograph a Red-necked Pheasant in its entirety before too long

Ring-necked Pheasant - Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 500, 7D Mark II, 400mm DO II +1.4x tc

Shorebirds are enjoyable to observe and photograph. I photographed this (Eastern) Willet as it foraged for food and later I obtained a flight shot, which shows its white wing stripe.

Willet - Cape Sable Island, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 320, 7D Mark II, 400mm DO II +1.4x tc
Willet - Cape Sable Island, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 320, 7D Mark II, 400mm DO II +1.4x tc

The last photo of my blog post today shows a Hermit Thrush. Although not as clean a photo as I would have liked, it was the best I was able to do on this occasion.

Hermit Thrush - Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 400, 7D Mark II, 400mm DO II +1.4x tc

New Gallery Photos Added                       Gallery

Common Eider                                            Ducks, Geese and Swans (Part 3)

Piping Plover                                                Lapwings and Plovers

Red-necked Pheasant                                     Wood Warblers (Part 4)

Willet                                                               Sandpipers, Phalaropes and Allies (Part 2)

Hermit Thrush                                                 Thrushes

 

References:

Sibley, David, 2000. The Sibley Guide to Birds, Chanticleer Press, Inc., New York

 

Happy Birding,

Claude

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