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Bluebirds at Wharf Cove

On a warm Monday morning, 27 November, we walked northward along Seashore Avenue towards Whaleback at high tide, where powerful waves from the previous night’s storm would surely be putting on a show. A west wind blew the tops off the waves. The water was rough and murky, with few birds on the water. While we were taking wave pictures, many of the splashes went well above our heads and surely would have doused us if not for the wind from our backs.

Whaleback Submerged:

Wharf Cove:

We kept walking to Wharf Cove, where we found numerous gulls, some perched on the rocks, others swimming; roughly seven Great Black-backed, fifteen Herring, and twenty Ring-billed Gulls. The Ring-billed Gulls were primarily feeding while the other two species were resting on the rocks. Who knows what types of food they were finding, churned up in the turbulent water? Also present were a Red-breasted Merganser and several Long-tailed Ducks. As we watched the waterfowl, some activity along the road caught our eyes…perhaps sparrows?

As we got closer, several American Goldfinches and a Song Sparrow were foraging in the tattered shrubs along the seaward side of the road. From there we noticed something blue, one perched in a tree on the opposite side of the road, and one in the road, apparently feeding on something. They were two Eastern Bluebirds, and soon we saw FOUR more. They were shuttling back and forth from the tree to the road and to shrubs along the wetland across the street, accompanied by a busy flock of one or two dozen goldfinches and a House Finch. Northern Mockingbird just seemed to be keeping an eye on things.

House Finch and female Eastern Bluebird

American Goldfinch

Northern Mockingbird

We noticed that the road was covered with small black flies and a few spiders that were especially abundant near where a wave washed over the road, but also at eye level.

Eastern Bluebird with insect

The insects seemed to be the focus of the bluebirds’ attention. Could it be that the goldfinches were also drawn to them? Or was it the abundant seeds hanging from the once-vibrant wildflowers, or something else that went unnoticed by us?

We moved onward past Spar Cove (which was remarkably quiet, with respect to bird activity). When we got to Ice Pond, loud quacking revealed about a dozen or more male Mallards, five or so females, and two American Black Ducks.

What began as a walk to see large breaking waves developed into an unexpected flurry of bird activity.

By: Sam Wainright

Reviewed by: Patty Wainright, Marty, Michelle Brown, Michael LaCombe

Photos: Sam and Patty Wainright


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The objective of The Backshore Bird Blog is to share the wonder and diversity of bird species seen along the Peaks Island shore.

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