Thursday, May 17, 2018

On an island in the sun

In the land of the drowned forest
The boardwalk was 'thrilling' to traverse at times
Wait...hold that...never mind, another Yellow-rumped...
'Dees in the woods
'Dees on the water
Montreal on the horizon

Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia
Canada Warbler Cardellina canadensis
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla with nesting materials
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula with nesting materials
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris

Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
American Mink Neovison vison a'leapin'
Common Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis
Common Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis
Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina - a tiny hatchling, slightly larger
than a twonie, it was possibly close to death - torpid, eyes not opening...
  A scrumptious fresh and sunny day on one of my favourite birding spots, the ‘island-of-all-habitats.’ When I look at the perfect blue skies and guzzle the fresh, clean air, I don’t take it for granted. My friends still in Korea relate tales of routine horrifyingly polluted air over the peninsula. It seems that even in the short time I’ve been away, the air has gotten markedly worse, largely due to a double-digit increase in the number of coal power plants in the past couple of years. I feel your pain.
  A super birdy day at D’youville, with bird activity on every plane of sight we chose to look at (76 species on the day). There were clouds of Tree Swallows over the Grande Digue, and when we stared into the sun, smaller squadrons of varied hirundines were discernible wheeling above. It was a solid refresher course on this fast-moving family of birds.
  I got a short video of the Marsh Wren that ended up being off-kilter. In my defence, the video function on my camera is brutally tricky to use (can’t look through the viewfinder in video mode, only the display screen, which is not an easy task in the noon sun), and the damn thing is heavy, too. Can’t wait for it to break so I can pick up one of these spiffy new bridge cameras that weigh as much as a wee kinglet. Everyone has ‘em these days. On that note...
  I’m afraid it’s high-horse time. There was a phalanx of photographers lined up in a scrubby area, all keyed up about a ‘rare’ Canada Warbler. Bird photography is a lovely pastime, but perhaps these fancy cameras should include a "10 Basic Birding Tips" pamphlet in their packaging. Or better yet, folks could pick up a cheap pair of binoculars to go with their pricey cameras, and practice the skill of making a bird appear in the eyepieces. A modicum of basic birding skills would go a long way towards preventing the shenanigans that play out at these twitch-scrums.

  The majority of the photogs jostling for a shot had no binoculars, and kept getting hoodwinked by Yellow-rumped Warblers that swooped through their lines of sight. The Canada Warbler merrily hopped its way to a clean escape several times while folks stared at the bushes scratching their heads, waiting for someone to put them back onto the bird. I’m not trying to rag on kindred bird-loving folks with a rewarding hobby, but buy some damn binos already. Decent Bushnells are less than 100$ at Canadian Tire. Rant over.

Reserve Faunique Marguerite-D’Youville, Île Sainte-Bernard, Châteauguay, May 16, 2018
Common Loon-1 off Pointe Nord
Pied-billed Grebe-1 heard
Double-crested Cormorant-4
Great Blue Heron-2
Great Egret-2
Canada Goose-8, including a pair with goslings
Wood Duck-1
Red-breasted Merganser-4
Turkey Vulture-2
Broad-winged Hawk-(1 from the road nearby)
American Kestrel-(1 from the road nearby)
Solitary Sandpiper-1
Spotted Sandpiper-2
Ring-billed Gull-5

Herring Gull-1
Black Tern-27 in a flock over Grande Digue
Common Tern-2 off Pointe Nord
Rock Dove-2
Mourning Dove-1 heard
Chimney Swift-6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-1 heard
Downy Woodpecker-4
Hairy Woodpecker-3
Northern Flicker-2
Pileated Woodpecker-1
Least Flycatcher-1 with a confusing amount of yellow wash
Great Crested Flycatcher-3
Eastern Kingbird-3
Warbling Vireo-8
Red-eyed Vireo-2
Blue Jay-2
American Crow-3
Common Raven-2
Cliff Swallow-8
Bank Swallow-3

Barn Swallow-1
Tree Swallow-35+
Purple Martin-4
Black-capped Chickadee-12+
Brown Creeper-2
Tufted Titmouse-4 along the western edge of the island
White-breasted Nuthatch-7
Marsh Wren-2 near Pont Soeur Thérèse-Despins
House Wren-2
Winter Wren-2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-4
Eastern Bluebird-3
American Robin-14
Gray Catbird-5
European Starling-9
Yellow Warbler-35+ singing everywhere
Chestnut-sided Warbler-1
Magnolia Warbler-1
Cape May Warbler-4
Black-throated Blue Warbler-2
Yellow-rumped Warbler-45+
Blackpoll Warbler-1 at Pointe nord
Bay-breasted Warbler-1
Black-and-white Warbler-1
American Redstart-7
Common Yellowthroat-2
Canada Warbler-2
Rose-breasted Grosbeak-3
Northern Cardinal-4
Savannah Sparrow-1 near the entrance
Song Sparrow-16
Swamp Sparrow-1 
near Pont Soeur Thérèse-Despins
White-crowned Sparrow-1 near the entrance
White-throated Sparrow-2
Baltimore Oriole-6
Red-winged Blackbird-35+
Common Grackle-12+
Brown-headed Cowbird-6
American Goldfinch-7
Purple Finch-2

Warblers 14

Black-throated Blue Warbler Setophaga caerulescens
Magnolia Warbler Setophaga magnolia
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
  It rained all damn morning. Things were going slow and rain-damny all the way through NDN and Mountain View, but when I got to the area between N2 and G7 (just east of the cannons), I took shelter under a small stand of pines, and found myself in gilded company – the trees were jam-packed with warblers! Two distinct waves came through during the next 45 minutes. The warblers fed and sheltered in the pines, then headed northwest towards Mountain View. As the rain backed off in the early afternoon, tall trees in most corners of the cemetery were found to contain warblers. Ended with a nice round 50 species

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), May 15, 2018
Great Blue Heron-1 (1)
Turkey Vulture-1
Cooper’s Hawk-1
Ring-billed Gull-(1)
Chimney Swift-(1)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird-1 on Oak Ridge
Chimney Swift-(1 heard)
Downy Woodpecker-2 (1)
Hairy Woodpecker-2 (1)
Northern Flicker-1
Eastern Wood-Pewee-1 heard in F4-F5, same puree call I heard way back on April 27...
Least Flycatcher-3 (2)
Eastern Phoebe-(1)
Great Crested Flycatcher-2
Philadelphia Vireo-1
Blue-headed Vireo-2 (2)
Blue Jay-1
American Crow-10+ mobbing something at one point, (2)
Black-capped Chickadee-8 (4)
White-breasted Nuthatch-2
Red-breasted Nuthatch-2
House Wren-1
Eastern Bluebird-4
Swainson’s Thrush-(2)
Veery-(2 along the west and north fences)
American Robin-2 (2)
Gray Catbird-3 (1)
European Starling-(1)
Nashville Warbler-5 (2)
Yellow Warbler-1
Northern Parula-1
Chestnut-sided Warbler-2
Magnolia Warbler-5
Cape May Warbler-8
Blackburnian Warbler-1 male in C6
Black-throated Blue Warbler-5
Black-throated Green Warbler-4 (3)
Yellow-rumped Warbler-18+ (6)
Bay-breasted Warbler-1 male
Black-and-white Warbler-1
American Redstart-1
Northern Cardinal-3 (1)
Chipping Sparrow-20+ (12)
Song Sparrow-4 (3)
Lincoln’s Sparrow-1 on Oak Ridge
White-crowned Sparrow-2 on Oak Ridge
White-throated Sparrow-3 on Pine Hill side
American Goldfinch-8 (6)
House Finch-(3)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

World Migratory Bird Day Blitz, May 12, 2018

Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus with American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus with American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Cape May Warbler Setophaga tigrina
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus with melanin deficiency
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
Dan Pearl Jamming his way through the Uni woods
  Buckets of folks signed up to hit up Mount-Royal Cemetery today for today's Global Big Day, but the lowly Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery had no takers, so Dan and I snapped it up. I like the place, it’s been good to me over the past couple of years, and I’ve yet to meet another birder there – the underdog cemetery!
  Dan’s bird of the day was the male Cape May Warbler we watched falling asleep, cute lil feller. Mine was probably the female Cape May Warbler that confused us. No wait, it was the Great Horned Owl. People like owls. People are all like “Ohhh, owls! Do you know owls?”
  Details on the event here:

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery, (Université de Montréal grounds), May 12, 2018
Turkey Vulture-1 (1)
Cooper’s Hawk-1
Merlin-1 joined in the mobbing of the Great Horned Owl for a pass before the crows were all "Whaaaaat?"
Peregrine Falcon-1 on the tower
Ring-billed Gull-3
Great Horned Owl-1 mobbed by a dozen crows, Dan felt bad for it
Downy Woodpecker-3 (2)
Hairy Woodpecker-1 (1, the same bird with melanin deficiency from a few weeks ago)
Northern Flicker-1 pursued by a Cooper’s Hawk
Pileated Woodpecker-1 male
Great Crested Flycatcher-1
Blue-headed Vireo-(2)
American Crow-14 (3)
Black-capped Chickadee-7 (5)
White-breasted Nuthatch-1 (3)
Eastern Bluebird-2
Swainson’s Thrush-(2)
American Robin-4 (2)
Nashville Warbler-2
Northern Parula-(1)
Chestnut-sided Warbler-1
Cape May Warbler-2 males, (1 female)
Black-throated Blue Warbler-1
Black-throated Green Warbler-2 (4)
Yellow-rumped Warbler-5 (12)
Black-and-white Warbler-1 (1)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak-1
Northern Cardinal-1
Chipping Sparrow-23 (2)
Song Sparrow-7 (3)
American Goldfinch-12 (7)
House Finch-3

Friday, May 11, 2018

Warblers 12

Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons
Yellow-throated Vireo Vireo flavifrons (peeling away bark in search of insects)
Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca
Blackburnian Warbler Setophaga fusca (dimmer than the first)
Bay-breasted Warbler Setophaga castanea
Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria

  A fun little leg-smasher on Bruno this morning, in crisp ‘never-ending November’ weather. Plenty of warblers were out and about at eye-level, which went a long way towards healing my warbler-neck.
  As soon as that cleared up, I got vireo-neck. I heard a vireo phrase that sounded similar to Blue-headed, but more ‘burry’ in quality (as described in all four of my field guides). Yellow-throated Vireo! Nice. Nicer still was the second one that joined the first. Breeding pair! I watched them for a while and noticed that they were silent and fairly immobile most of the time, which, when combined with their leaf-hued plumage and penchant for remaining high in the canopy, made for challenging viewing. They’ll be damn near invisible by next week when the leaves are fully sprung. It seemed that the pair only sang and called when a meddlesome Blue-headed Vireo showed up and annoyed them. Hey, that’s a lifer, high-five!

  Merci Jean-Pierre Tousignant.

Mont-Saint-Bruno, May 11, 2018
Great Blue Heron-1

Canada Goose-3
Turkey Vulture-1
Broad-winged Hawk-1
Peregrine Falcon-1
Killdeer-1 from the road nearby
Solitary Sandpiper-4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-3
Downy Woodpecker-3
Hairy Woodpecker-2
Pileated Woodpecker-2
Least Flycatcher-1
Eastern Phoebe-1
Great Crested Flycatcher-3
Yellow-throated Vireo-2
Blue-headed Vireo-4
Blue Jay-4
American Crow-3
Black-capped Chickadee-9
White-breasted Nuthatch-4
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-3
Swainson’s Thrush-1
American Robin-4
European Starling-6
Tennessee Warbler-1
Nashville Warbler-2
Northern Parula-3
Chestnut-sided Warbler-3
Blackburnian Warbler-3
Black-throated Blue Warbler-6+
Black-throated Green Warbler-4
Yellow-rumped Warbler-17
Bay-breasted Warbler-2
Black-and-white Warbler-2
American Redstart-2
Chipping Sparrow-14
Song Sparrow-8
White-throated Sparrow-3
Red-winged Blackbird-2
Common Grackle-1
Brown-headed Cowbird-5
American Goldfinch-30+

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Warblers 11

Black-throated Blue Warbler Setophaga caerulescens
Nashville Warbler Leiothlypis ruficapilla
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla
Northern Parula Setophaga americana
Chestnut-sided Warbler Setophaga pensylvanica
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus
Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Cluster of Field Sparrow sightings for fellow bird-nerds

  It was a dark and stormy morning...and the Warblos were out in full force. Plenty of other new arrivals and personal ‘first-of-year’ (FOY) birds spotted on an 8:00-12:45 ramble. A good deal of the action went down at about 9 a.m. in the woods north of Mountain View. I got some unapologetically crappy record shots in the gloom. A few bands of rain came through towards noon, but it’s OK, we’re not made of sugar. Hey, no Juncos today!
  I re-spotted the Field Sparrow today, a welcome sight. It seems to be sticking to a narrow slice (since it was first spotted on May 1st) of territory that extends from the stream by the feeder, southwest through E5 and the G sections and into Oak Ridge. It was not singing today, and was silent for most of my encounter with it on May 2nd. Pick through those Chipping Sparrows, fellow bird-nerds!
  I ended the day with 52 species logged, and a pair of beat-up feet. It looks like I’m hiking a mountain tomorrow and doing a Global Big Day thing on Saturday, so R.I.P. my feet I guess.
  On a side note, I got my FOY Chimney Swifts yesterday, with 7 spotted twittering over NDG and Decarie. Last year, I spotted this species for the first time on May 19th.

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), May 10, 2018
Great Blue Heron-1 heading south over Mount Royal
Mallard-2 or 3
Cooper’s Hawk-1
Bald Eagle-1 heading south towards Mount Royal, with one crow in train
Peregrine Falcon-1 terrorizing everybird over Mountain View
Ring-billed Gull-2 (1)
Chimney Swift-(1 heard)
Downy Woodpecker-1 (2)
Hairy Woodpecker-2 (1)
Northern Flicker-1 near the north entrance
Pileated Woodpecker-1 (1)
Least Flycatcher-1 on Mountain View, (1 FOY)
Great Crested Flycatcher-2 (1 FOY)
Warbling Vireo-1 FOY on Mountain View
Philadelphia Vireo-1 FOY in A4
Blue-headed Vireo-3 (2)
Blue Jay-3 on Pine Hill Side
American Crow-4 (2)
Common Raven-1
Black-capped Chickadee-8 (5)
Red-breasted Nuthatch-3
House Wren-2
Winter Wren-1 on Pine Hill Side
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-5 (2)
Eastern Bluebird-6 scattered throughout
Swainson’s Thrush-6 mostly in the woods north of Mountain View, (2 FOY)
Hermit Thrush-3 (2)
American Robin-4 (2)
Gray Catbird-2
European Starling-(2 near Decelles)
Nashville Warbler-3 (1)
Northern Parula-(1 FOY male in the north woods)
Chestnut-sided Warbler-2 FOY around L2-A4
Cape May Warbler-2 FOY cracking males in the woods north of Mountain View
Black-throated Blue Warbler-4 in the woods north of Mountain View, (2 in the north woods)
Black-throated Green Warbler-(1 in the north woods)
Yellow-rumped Warbler-at least 7 in the woods north of Mountain View, several other heard throughout
Bay-breasted Warbler- (1 FOY male in the north woods)
Black-and-white Warbler-3 around Mountain View, (1 FOY in the north woods)
American Redstart-2 in the woods north of Mountain View
Ovenbird-2 FOY in the woods north of Mountain View
Indigo Bunting-2 FOY males in the woods north of Mountain View
Northern Cardinal-5 (3)
Chipping Sparrow-25+ (17)
Field Sparrow-1 at the base of the firefighter memorial in G1, flew towards G3/G4, not singing
Song Sparrow-7 (5)
Lincoln’s Sparrow-1 FOY sticking to the peripheries of a large group of White-throated Sparrows in Oak Ridge
White-crowned Sparrow-1 with the large group of White-throated Sparrows in Oak Ridge
White-throated Sparrow-50+ scattered throughout, including one group of at least 35 in Oak Ridge, (12+)
House Sparrow-(3 near Decelles)
American Goldfinch-6 (4)
House Finch-(1 near Decelles)