Nova Scotia Birds

June 12th, 2008

Being a maritime province, Nova Scotia is home to quite a few seabirds that sustain themselves, like the people, largely from the surrounding sea. There are many rare birds that migrate to the area, but then of course they also have the common seagull. Whether on land.


On sea.


Or in flight, the seagulls are almost always nearby. Being used to people, they have learned to follow fishing boats to capitalize on the fish that they bring up. While we were on a whale watching tour, we had a permanent group of seagulls following us around because the same boat also does a daily deep sea fishing expedition.


Despite being kind of nasty and obnoxious adults, the baby seagulls are adorable. With their fluffy down, they’re as soft as can be. Watch out handling them, however, as pooping is their first defense!

Baby Seagull

We had the wonderful fortune of getting in contact with a birder who cares for a series of small islands off of the coast of Pubnico that houses a small colony of rare rosette terns. He graciously took us out on his boat to get a glimpse of some of these islands, and the birds surrounding them.


We didn’t see many of the rosette terns, and the ones we did were too fast for my camera, but this is a more common tern (above) in flight. We counted several eggs on the island, and took note of any that had been preyed upon by crows, owls, or voles.

Tern Egg

We also found a number of Common Eider eggs, in downy feather nests. The feathers kept the eggs at an incredibly warm temperature. Our caretaker covered these eggs up to help avoid them from being easy pickings for the afore mentioned predators.

Eider Eggs

One of the more distinct looking birds we saw was the Cormorant, which nests in colonies along cliffs or in trees as shown below. They actually end up killing a lot of the trees because their excrement is so potent.

Cormorants Nesting

As you get closer to the tree the birds inevitably fly away, but I was able to get this shot of one before they did so. They’re actually quite pretty!


And of course, we saw plenty of other birds like this guy who was scavenging the surf for small crustaceans. We had a fun time following this bird, trying to photograph him, as he constantly scurried away from us whenever we got within 20 feet.


We saw countless other birds other than what I’ve shown below, but I hope you’ve enjoyed the few pictures that I’ve posted up here. Not being a knowledgeable birder myself, I’m sure I saw a ton of species that were lost on me, but I can confidently recommend Nova Scotia to anyone looking for some quality bird watching.

Business Broker

Nova Scotia Bogs

June 10th, 2008

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in awhile. I just returned from a nice vacation in the wonderful Canadian province of Nova Scotia. We spent two weeks exploring every corner of the province, so while I get my aquariums back into presentable shape, I’m going to share some of the nature pictures from my trip. (This is incentive for me to sort through over 1000 photos that we took.)

The two Canadian national parks in Nova Scotia are Kejimkujik and the Cape Breton Highlands. We visited the two parks, and found carnivorous plants in both! First, at the Keji Seaside Adjunct park, there is a wonderful trail that winds through a bog, and eventually takes you to a rocky beach where seals perch themselves on small islands offshore. Today, I’m just going to cover the bog.

Keji Seaside Adjunct

All along the path, pitcher plants were mixed in among the moss and bushes. The patch below wasn’t the best looking bunch there, but unfortunately, this was one of the better pictures I got. These plants were mostly yellow and orange in color.

Pitcher Plant

And of course, the plants were feeding. While ants were a popular food found floating in the pitchers, this lucky plant got a fairly large beetle.

Pitcher Plant

Still being early in the season, none of the pitcher plants were flowering yet, but a few were starting the process, sending flower stalks toward the sky. Eventually, these flower heads will unravel revealing a rather unique looking flower. The ground in this bog wasn’t inundated with water, but the moss kept it just damp enough. We also saw some sundews, but I didn’t get any good shots.

Pitcher Plant Flower Stalk

Up in the Cape Breton Highlands Park, they have a trail aptly named the “Bog Trail.” Of course, the first sign on the trail explains that it’s actually a fen because unlike a true bog, it also sources some of its water from groundwater. This fen is more heavily covered by grasses and doesn’t have the same amount of bushes that the one in Keji did. Also, it’s impossible not to notice the large moose hoof prints and droppings throughout the area.

Cape Breton Fen

One of the most startling things about the pitcher plants in this area is how red they were. Brilliantly colored, and in standing water, they were beautiful!

Pitcher Plant

Not to be outdone, the sundews here were quite pretty as well, sending sticky red fronds out of their yellowish foliage to trap unsuspecting insects. There were far more sundews in this area then their were in Keji, but they looked relatively similar.


In addition, the Cape Breton Bog trail also contained a species of Utricularia floating in the water. A blatterwort, Utricularia traps tiny organisms in the bladders shown below.

Utricularia sp. in Cape Breton

Carnivorous plants have always fascinated and I was so pleased to have been able to see so many in my trip around Nova Scotia. Comments welcome!

Business Broker

  Next Entries »