Global Big Day – the bird count!

On May 9 (yes, I’m a little behind in my posts because I greatly detest editing photos!) we had an amazing time outdoors counting birds for Global Big Day.

Global Big Day happens once a year as part of Cornell Lab of Ornithology events. The goal is to find and record as many bird species possible worldwide. The boys had the binoculars and their phones for the app and I had my camera while Stephen took note of species spotted and how many.

The first place we went was Porter’s Lakes Trail just across the street from our library. There are so many trails in Nova Scotia you don’t have to drive too far at all to find one – many are in the city!

I think this nest belonged to the American Goldfinch that we heard and spotted nearby.09May2015_Bird Count_01 We had seen this osprey nest from a distance many times on our way to the library for years but never went on this trail. We were excited to get so close to both the mother and father! They were clearly used to all of the people walking on the trail – they just ignored us all.09May2015_Bird Count_30There were also many signs of beavers…
09May2015_Bird Count_38 09May2015_Bird Count_81

The Merlin Bird ID app was extremely useful in not only identifying bird species but also in matching certain bird calls to the bird before we saw it! At our first location I heard a bird call I did not recognize and the boys used their app to find that it was the Red-winged Blackbird. I was so excited because when I lived in Wisconsin as a child they were my favourite bird. I had heard that they spent time in Nova Scotia but I had yet to see one so I was very excited to know that the bird call was indeed a Red-winged Blackbird. This picture is the bird reacting to the call on the app!

09May2015_Bird Day_63 There also just happened to be a geocache in the area so why not find it?!09May2015_Bird Count_83 And of course a wooly-bear caterpillar!09May2015_Bird Count_85 I am not sure what tree this was as there were yet to be any leaves but it reminded me of an oak.09May2015_Bird Count_88


From here we went to another location about 20 minutes away. We were totally psyched after seeing the blackbird and osprey, plus a Yellow-rumped Warbler whose was camera shy. I was told of a place where there was a blue heron and osprey so we crossed our fingers…

09May2015_Bird Count_161As we walked onto the trail there above us hovered an osprey searching for fish in the waters below. It was quite an experience to watch and were awed by its ability to just float in one spot in the air, catching the currents.09May2015_Bird Count_18209May2015_Bird Day_218Of the times I caught the osprey with my camera diving for fish, I’d say 85-90% of the time it came out with a fish.

09May2015_Bird Count_189 09May2015_Bird Count_19009May2015_Bird Count_191 09May2015_Bird Count_195 09May2015_Bird Count_196The tree swallows were so fast that it was very challenging to get a decent picture. They were also hanging around the osprey as you can see in the photos above.09May2015_Bird Day_187A Common Grackle. Part of the Crow family but with this beautiful blue/purple neck.

09May2015_Bird Day_110A Yellow-rumped Warbler (twice), a Downy Woodpecker and a pair of Goldfinches.

09May2015_Bird Day_12709May2015_Bird Day_264 09May2015_Bird Day_134 09May2015_Bird Count_137We saw the Blue Heron but it was on the other side of the marsh and my lens just wasn’t long enough to take a decent photo. Boo. 🙁

I cannot go to any trail without a picture of some moss these days!

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Double-crested Cormorant with a fish!
09May2015_Bird Count_177We really just couldn’t get enough of that osprey. Look at those wings!

09May2015_Bird Day_228 09May2015_Bird Day_260 09May2015_Bird Day_261

We did a lot walking that day and all got a bit tired. A huge overturned tree is a great place to take a rest!

09May2015_Bird Count_144My silly boys! Those binoculars were just purchased last Christmas and they are amazing! Bushnell Bone Collector Trophy 10×42’s in case you are wondering. Water and fog proof. Just right for Nova Scotia! 😉09May2015_Bird Count_155 Haha!09May2015_Bird Count_150

It’s hard to believe we saw all these amazing birds so close to home – you can see an apartment complex in the background above.

Below are our findings for the day. Can’t wait for next year!






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