Monday, 24 March 2014

Old Timers

This past weekend my friend Justin & I headed out to check some nest boxes i had set out 5 years ago and have only checked twice since. The boxes show signs of wear and one of them which was placed near a small pond was shot by a shotgun, its unfortunate that people sometimes do not understand; are less then helpful and destructive.
Anyhow one box seemed to have the remains of a Northern Flicker nest and some yellow feathers from its underwing.

(This nest box located just outside st. johns for Goldeneye had some major damage from ignorant people shooting it with shotguns......)

                                                    (A Boreal Owl box that once housed Northern Flickers)


Its only weeks now till Brad and i make our annual trip to Cape St.Mary's to photograph a ton of sea birds, larks, and maybe caribou! With the winter storm we are experiencing today it does not feel much like spring. Hopefully next week we will have more to discuss.

Awaiting the warm days of spring

                  (American Black Duck nest)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A few tips

The clock is ticking to get nest boxes built and placed. Me and my dad have been building everytime we get a chance and distributing boxes as much as possible. Friday is the day that one of hopefully two shipments of boxes arrive on the west coast of Newfoundland. It is so exciting to get some boxes out on that side of the island because there seems to be more Boreal & Northen saw-whet owls on that side of the island since the red backed vole made its way there.

Below is a short video about the kits you will be receiving and a photo of what boxes we built today! Notice a few tree swallow boxes, they too will be arriving in just 2 months and the race is on once again to get more boxes out for cavity nesting birds in Newfoundland.
If you have not recivied an e-mail from me over the last few days I advise you to e-mail me again to remind me you what a box and where you are located so I have enough built.


Wont be much longer till they are here

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Common Merganser Nest Box Outing

This morning Brad & I headed to pouch cove to see if we could get some good looks at three Harlequin ducks that have been hanging out in the bay the last couple of days. The picture speaks for itself, the birds were a lot further then we had hoped they would be. It was great anyhow to see such a beautiful duck that we rarely set eyes on.

On our way to see the harlequins we spotted a flock of robins and starlings feeding on the dogberries. Mixed in with them were American Goldfinch and a few cedar waxwings. All the birds seemed hungry as they plucked the small frozen berries off the tree.

Later in the afternoon i decided to go and place a Common Merganser nest box at Topisal beach. The mergansers have been hanging out there for sometime now and i am hoping if they are in need of a nest site in spring they will remember the box.


The view from the box

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Out of the Box

Click here to see a post about the work we are doing written by Ducks Unlimited Canada

Monday, 3 March 2014

Time to place some boxes!

Winter still has a firm grip on Newfoundland with temps dropping near -30c with the wind chill over the course of the week. This long cold winter must be hard on our featherd friends and each time Brad and I go out to do some photography the pickings are getting smaller. Quidi Vidi lake  seems to be an exception with the gorgeous Peregrine Falcon that has taken up residence also a drake Wood duck and Common mergansers at the lake have been offering excellent photo ops.

The owls we build nesting boxes for such as the Boreal Owl & Northern Saw-Whet owl are extremely nocturnal birds that go so unnoticed in our boreal forests. If you look online very little is known about these birds compared to other species and on the island of Newfoundland little to nothing is known. Our nest box project is the largest on the island and each weekend is growing with more boxes and tips on where to place them.

We would like to thank the people who have came forward over the last few days to take action and help out the owls.  It has come in all different forms. From helping building boxes, donating supplies or helping place boxes. If your looking to donate lumber we use 10 inch knotty pine. We use 1 1/2" black drywall scews to build the boxes. The reason we use theses specific screws is they do not rust and seem to be the most cost efficient. 

This weekend we begin placing boxes. We are always looking for volunteers who are willing to lug an extension ladder through the woods, place a few boxes and learn a thing or two. Even just helping us transport the boxes to a location is a big help. This year will be the year we have boxes spanning from the East to the West of the island!