Wednesday, 9 April 2014

April is Target Month for Rusty Blackbird Blitz in New Brunswick!


Targeting Rusty Blackbirds - For Counting, That is!


The Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz is a coordinated effort of some US states and Canadian provinces to track the northward migration of this very interesting bird that nests in our province and all over Canada.

For some time now, surveys are showing that the Rusty Blackbird is becoming rare, both during their breeding season and also on their wintering grounds further south. 

To find out why and what we can do to help the Rusties, this Spring Migration Blitz aims at gathering all the knowledge we can to find out:

- Where the Rusties stop along the way to their breeding grounds
- Who, or which other species, are they travelling with
- When do they arrive at certain habitats, how long do they stay, etc.
- How many numbers are migrating back to our province

How can you help?

You can help by reporting the Rusty Blackbirds that you see and count in your back yard, on your field trips to the local park or wetland, etc.  The preferred habitats of the Rusty Blackbird are wetlands, flooded forests, shrub-scrub, crop-fields, edges of ponds, lawns and feedlots.

To report your sightings, go to:

http://ebird.org/content/canada/ 

and when you Submit Observations and choose a location, don’t forget to fill in the special boxes for Rusties under “Other” then continue your report. 

If you don’t have an account with eBird, please consider doing so as it’s easy to set up and your reports to this great resource will be so appreciated. We need you and your bird sightings, no matter how few or many you report. 

This is a map of current sightings, taken from eBird data. Each red pointer is a sighting of a Rusty Blackbird! 


I will gladly answer any questions regarding the Rusty Blackbird Blitz or eBird! Just send me a PM by coming to my page and clicking on “Message.” This is my page on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/raymondesavoiejohnson

This is what a sample reporting page would look like: (click on image to enlarge)


  Thank you, Karen Cook, for this great photo of a Rusty still "dressed" in winter plumage:





For more info on the Blitz:
http://rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz/

What State or Province is targeted and which dates for each State or Province participating:
http://rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz/states-and-dates/

Don't know if you are confident enough to Identify A Rusty, then go here, download .pdf:
http://rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz/identification-tips/









Once Spring comes, the plumage starts to lose the bronzy look, and more dark feathers show. 



Credits for the above photo:  (copyright) Lloyd Spitalnik, 9April2013, used with permission.

Facebook Group:
https://www.facebook.com/rustyblackbirdspringblitz

Please help me in counting Rusties this month of April in New Brunswick and let the birding world know all about it. Feel free to share this blog post, and my website address:

http://www.raymondesavoie.com/nature-healing/

Happy Birding!









Monday, 31 March 2014

The Blitz Is On for April 1st!





Dear Friends of Nature:

The month of April is upon us and the province of New Brunswick is the official target area for spotting Rusty Blackbirds on their migration course up north. Even if you are not in our province, you can report Rusties, too!

I invite you to participate in the Blitz by paying close attention to all the blackbirds that come to your feeders, that you see on your birding travels and even the ones that you spot incidentally while doing other things besides birding. If any of them are Rusty Blackbirds, please report them on eBird. 

This is a photo of the Rusty Blackbird that visited my feeder last winter.




The Rusty Blackbird needs our help in tracking its numbers, friends. These are the objectives of the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz, taken from the website:

1.  Determine important migratory stopover sites (and characteristics of those sites) for Rusty Blackbirds traveling back to their breeding grounds;
2.  Assess the consistency of numbers at different stopover locations and the consistency of timing of stopover occurrence; this will be achieved by repeating the Blitz for three consecutive years;
3.  Leverage the Blitz process and communications to strengthen relationships with state, federal and private conservation organizations and personnel. This will include collecting data to inform State Wildlife Action Plans, Joint Venture implementation strategies, and other conservation efforts with the ultimate goal of promoting Rusty Blackbird conservation;
4.  Use the Blitz to better engage the birding community and create increased awareness and engagement regarding Rusty Blackbirds and their conservation.

To help out, all you need to do is count the Rusties, along with their travelling companions, whether they be Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Common Grackles, and European Starlings, then fill out the special submission form on eBird when you make your report. 

More information, with samples of the Data Sheet available here:
http://rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz/collecting-and-reporting-data/

Thank you for your help in tracking the Rusty Blackbird Migration!

Raymonde Savoie
Provincial Contact for New Brunswick: perennialgoddess@gmail.com

For the international effort and more information, please contact:
Dr. Judith Scarl
jscarl@vtecostudies.org

For detailed information, free downloads, go to their website:
http://rustyblackbird.org/outreach/migration-blitz/

eBird Canada:
http://ebird.org/content/canada/

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

First Park Walk Day



First Park Walk

 

In the first day of the last week of February, I decided to go for a walk inside the park, even if I had to walk in ankle-deep snow. As it so happened, some nice person or persons had already made a nice flat trail on top of said snow for me: a large and solid snowshoe trail.  


The temperature was around + 2*C with a windchill of – 6*C, with some brisk windy times, as I walked towards the park and started looking around for where to enter, which trail to follow, etc. There is a nice sign at the entrance that told me where I wanted to do, and upon entering, I soon found the snowshoe trail waiting for me. 

Birds seen or heard along my walk were Black-Capped Chickadee, American Crow, Great black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Raven, and I heard the call of a Pileated Woodpecker. I made a mental note of the numbers as I walked along, keeping track automatically to jot down later.


 Walking in the forest in the winter has always fascinated me, ever since I read “Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold years ago, still available as a book and now an eBook as well: http://goo.gl/D9dcD7

He advised making observations of everything that you see, hear or feel in the snowy landscape, ordinary or not, because even if you think there is “nothing to see,” you will be surprised at the signs of life that are there, once you open your senses to them. It was this book, and many more of its kin, that used to fuel my adventures in exploring the woods when I was a teenager, and that formed the basis for a life-long relationship with plants and birds. 

Back to the present, I looked more closely at my environment. The ‘webbed foot’ tracks in the snow indicated grouse (possibly Ruffed?) had been here since yesterday morning, for the day before we had had some wet snow and the prints were hardened into this last level and very visible, captured as it were, from last night’s freezing temperature. 


There were squirrel tracks everywhere, and soon enough, there he was, a Red Squirrel coming closer to see what I was up to, and hopping away across the trail to a bunch of conifers, most likely his wintering place. He was so fast that, even with my focus timing and shutter-clicking, I was sure that I had missed him … but here he is:  



The Pileated Woodpecker signs were everywhere: fresh wood chips at the foot of standing, mostly dead trees, and the typical oblong holes that they make with their bills could be seen at every turn.



I found a bird’s nest at chest height, parallel to the trail, still attached to a fork in a young maple tree, made of interesting materials. The cup structure had been woven using bark, grass, moss and lichens. I wonder what bird made this? 



I feel blessed to have moved close to this block of forest that I can explore in all seasons, where a small patch of nature still lives in the middle of the city. 

The above photo was certainly a serendipity - an unexpected shot of a crow spreading her wings to take off, which I was sure I had missed.  Amazing what you can see in winter, even on a cold, sunny day.

Till next!