Unphotogenic Stragglers
June 24, 2019

I expected that the final days of the Tour in mainland North America would probably be bereft of interesting new bird species for me to see, and that, more or less, proved to be true. I had a fairly tight schedule to adhere to, to accommodate scheduled ferry crossings and the forthcoming transfer to the next section, and for most of the time I was running slightly behind, not leaving much time to wander around seeking new sightings. There were places with adequate habit along the way, but none of that was different enough from the other places I had recently been to expect a change in the common species found there.

Nevertheless, a few nice birds made appearances, though another recent trend also emerged, namely my inability to get decent photographs of them. For example, one afternoon, as I was riding through eastern Nova Scotia, I saw a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird zip away from a nearby flowering tree. This was another species that seemed odd for someone who grew up in the eastern United States to have never seen, but that was, in fact, the case for me. When I stopped by the tree, I soon realized that there were five, or six, other birds feeding there, however, all but one of them also sped away just seconds after I noticed them. I normally would not post such an unrevealing photo (the green back and tail of the bird can just barely be seen at dead-center in the image,) but bad photos are a theme of this post, and, because,…well…Hummingbirds.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
A tree (with a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird)

A few days later, a woodpecker flew across my path, and this one was different enough from the others I had been seeing recently to catch my attention. Fortunately, it was sufficiently kind to cling for a while on a nearby utility pole, even though that structure could never provide the food it desired (though that didn’t stop it from pecking on the metal parts attached to the pole.) It was a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, and I was glad to see it, because when I lived in the West I only saw one of the three sapsucker species found there. Unfortunately, it refused to turn sideways so I could get a photo of its distinctive yellowish belly.

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

After that, on a day when I was only out cycling for a couple of hours before a break in the not-very-birdy city of St John, I managed to pick up two more birds. One, a Warbling Vireo, refused to be photographed at all.

The other, was just slightly more cooperative, but it was a few days later before I could obtain an image that was acceptable of the Chestnut-Sided Warbler I saw that morning.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler
Chestnut-Sided Warbler

Now, I am about to head of to the next destination of the Tour, and this time there really will be new and exciting birds to be seen. The checklist for that place is not extremely long, but most everything will be new to me, so I should be able to add a nice selection of new species. Check back later to find out how I did.