Fredericton Nature Club has many activities the community can participate in. Bird watching is an activity for the whole family. All you need is a good pair of binoculars and an interest in birds. In Fredericton and surrounding areas there is lots of opportunities for bird watching - summer or winter. below are some of the hot spots for birding.
McMinniman Railway Line
Length: 1-2 km
Directions: The trail begins at the end of McMinniman Court on the Northside of Fredericton. McMinniman Ct is approximately 500m downriver on Route 105 from the Princess Margaret Bridge, turn left and park at the cul-de-sac on McMinniman Ct. The trail can be taken in either direction but going left will pass more open habitat, field and housing. Going right along the abandoned railway bed will yield the best birding.
Difficulty rating: Easy. The 2.5 wide trail is an abandoned railway bed and maintained enough to keep most of it level, with dirt and crushed rock. Large puddles can form in some sections and one will need to climb a low ledge (<1m) and travel on a path along the trees before returning to the trail.
Habitat: The trail passes floodplain forest in the first half, before opening up into scrub meadow and wetland around a long pond. The forest is mainly silver maple and various ash species in wetter areas and hemlock, cedar, and black spruce in drier sections. There are several forested ponds at the beginning of the trail that connect with a more open pond with grass shorelines, then an alder/cattail wetland.
Birding: The site is a good example of floodplain forest along the Saint John (Wolastoq) River. The trail floods most springs but by late May of most years has dried out and is often good for spring migrants. Many eastern passerine species could be expected. Some of commonly seen species in the forested section from spring migration (3rd week May – mid June) until the fall (end September) include American redstart, black-and-white warbler, bay-breasted warbler, northern waterthrush, northern Perula, Yellow-rumped warbler, song sparrow, eastern phoebe and great crested flycatcher. Yellow warbler, alder flycatcher, catbird, and American goldfinch are common in the scrub forest in the latter half of the trail. The wetland sites contain swamp sparrow, Sora, and Virginia rail, with Tree swallows flying overhead. Typical duck species to be found are American black duck, Mallard (and hybrids), Wood duck, and Ring-necked duck in the spring. Black-capped chickadee, Bluejay, Veery, and American Robins are widespread, with Hermit and Swainsons thrush found during migration. The most likely raptor would be Sharp-shinned hawk moving through but American kestrel and Ospreys are resident, and Bald eagles often fly overhead.
Photos by David Lilly,
Fredericton Nature Club Member.
Click on photo to see a larger view.