Tale of a Scarlet Tanager
On May 15th, ECO guides Dan, Krista & Eleanor went out for a pre season campout on Hearn Island.
There is always lots to see and do: from illuminescent phosphorescent sand, to the beautiful panoramic views of the North Atlantic.
But this trip was special to because we found, what at first, looked to us like a very out of place bird. I was on the rocky shore of Hearn Island looking for firewood with Krista when suddenly she stopped, and whispers to me from across the beach “shhhhh…. Dan, look at this little guy…”: and i carefully approached.
The little red bird was delightfully pecking away at the insects in the seaweed and seemed as curious about us as we were about him.
The Scarlet Tanager, or Piranga Olivacea, is not an entirely uncommon sight in Nova Scotia, but with a mere 250 recorded sightings since 1957 (cit. NS Museum), there is no doubt this is an uncommon vagrant straying beyond it’s normal limits. Some wbsites describe sightings of the Scarlet Tanager in Nova Scotia as “accidental, uncommon”.
Its preferred habitat is mature deciduous forest, but can sometimes be found in mixed boreal forests, though they migrate to the tropics to overwinter from Columbia to Bolivia. The bright red plumage of the breeding male is unmistakable, and remarkable. Among songbirds, the Scarlet Tanager is the most migratory.
We were delighted to have met this curiosity of nature. It just goes to show that you never know what you will see when you take a trip with East Coast Outfitters.