Bay of Fundy
Starting on June 29th we journeyed to Bar Harbor, Maine and spent the night.  We woke up to a foggy morning.  Jumping on the CAT it was a pretty slow ride in the fog.  We arrived at Yarmoth, Nova Scotia where we slipped out of town for our first real birding adventure.  Highlights included a large number of Willets, a Common Tern, a Great Blue Heron and a small flock of Common Eiders.

We headed back through town towards Digby so that we could make our way to Brier Island.  Once we arrived at Brier Island Lodge, we rested up and prepared for our first ocean bound adventure.  The fog lifted during the night and we left early.  On our tour we were treated to Black Guillemots, which breed on the island and a host of other pelagic birds:  Greater Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Northern Gannet, Wilson's Storm Petrel, Common Murre, Northern Fulmar (rare for this time of year).  Of the non bird species we saw White Sided Dolphins,  Humpback Whales and Harbor Porpoises.

We continued birding on the Island for two more days.  The island is very small, 6.5 by 2 miles which allowed us to traverse a good variety of terrain in a short period.  Savanah Sparrows abound along with Great Black Back Gulls and Herring Gulls around the shores.  One of our trips provided us with a good look at a Greater Yellowlegs and Spotted Sandpiper complete with a fluffy little chick.  The island has a good population of warblers: Common Yellowthroats and Yellow Warblers and , White Throated Sparrows,.  They greated us almost every where we went in the interior.

After a lovely stay we headed for Gran Manan in New Brunswick.  The first leg of the trip was back up Digby Neck to Digby where we caught the ferry to St John.  It was a little foggy but I was still able to sit on the deck and catch some pelagic birds.  No new sightings, but it's always awesome to view uncommon birds.

We headed straight to Black Harbor to catch our ferry to Grand Manan, by this time the fog had set in pretty thick.  When we checked in, the accomodations weren't quite what we expected.  This island is quite a bit larger than the previous island being about 15 miles long and 5 miles wide.  After we settled in, we verified our trip for the 4th of July. 

We had to be at the dock for 6:45, which we managed to arrive early!  The ride out was rough, the boat tested our sea worthiness.  The boat stops just shy of Machias Seal Island where you transfer to a 16' aluminum boat.  Now the trip of a life time begins.  Upon setting foot on the shore the First Mate gives you the rules:  Pay Attention, ALWAYS watch where you step, keep  your stick straight up, do not swing at the birds...  Wait, don't swing at the birds?  Well, where the boat unloads is on the edge of a Tern colony, and they don't appreciate the intrusion.  So, ever so carefully the group made it's way through the colony, eggs and chicks at feet and parents at the head.  The first mate and an employee on the island did not carry sticks, so for our viewing pleasure we observed the antics of the Terns who obligingly swooped and pecked away.

We were brought to a staging area where we were reminded of the basic rules and new rules for the blinds were explained.  Once in the blind only observation holes on one side could be opened at a time,  keep all items inside the blind and keep the noise to a minimum.

We were escorted in groups of 4 to 6 to wooden blinds within the Atlantic Puffin colony.  The Puffins, Razor Bills, and Common Murres paid no attention to our arrival.  We stayed in the blind for a very short 1 hour viewing, which is longer than usuall.  TIME flew by so fast, I only managed 45 digital shots and 20 shots with an old Pentax SLR.  The Puffins landed on the blinds, and were within a feet of them.  What an incredible time.  The trip back was anti-climatic and it seems after that, nothing could even come close to the experience. 

We stayed several more days on the Island and did birding daily.  The grounds around the Inn had trails and gave us a chance to get some life birds.  Once again Savanah Sparrows were all over the coastal areas we visited.  We were able to track down a Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow with quite a bit of effort and some guidance from the Inn's owner. 

Our total birding experience was incredible, many of the birds we added to our life list would have been easily found at home.  Somehow finding them the way we did seems more rewarding.  Our pelagic birding was great and could only be had in the Bay of Fundy.

Total number of birds: 70 +

Total number of life birds: 10 +

Accomodations on Briar Island were great, on Grand Manan Island they were a bit rustic.  Both of the cruises we took were excellent with helpful and knowledgeable staff.
We were on the two islands located at the mouth of the bay: Brier Island and Grand Manan.
Clicking on some images will open a LARGE view.
Atlantic Puffin
Atlantic Puffin (Large Image)
Common Murre (Bridled)
Common Murre
Arctic Tern
Common Tern
Greater Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Greater Yellowlegs
Common Yellowthroat (Pair)
Savanah Sparrow
Common Eider
Black Guillemot
Ringneck Pheasant
Brier Island Lodge ***+
Mariner Cruises
Marathon Inn **-
Sea Watch Tours