Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Raccoon Rescue Report

NOT BLOOD, relax...(strawberry smoothie stuff)
Godspeed, you silly Northern Raccoon Procyon lotor
  Felt wintry today, on a morning that made me glad I had packed along two options for gloves, like a massive nerd. The birdwinds that blew out of the northwest last night brought with them a charming little band of Golden-crowned Kinglets, that surrounded me on a trail like I was a Disney princess. In the same woods, along the north edge of NDN, were several uber-skulky Fox SparrowsAlso fresh in from a’north were butt-loads of Dark-eyed Juncos – absolute arse-loads, I tells ya.
  On Pine Hill Side, as I was heading back towards home, some odd skittering and trilling sounds I couldn’t place brought me back twice, scratching my head and looking up towards empty trees. I was about to leave for good when I happened to look into a barrel to check if there were any mosquito larvae left. I was startled to look into a pair of sad eyes, set in the soaked furball that was a Northern Raccoon. Disturbingly, it seemed to be sitting in a half-foot of bloody water, with bloody paw prints staining the sides of the barrel just short of the rim. I gave the hapless critter a visual once-over, looking for obvious wounds, but after a minute I realized that the barrel wasn’t painted in gore, but rather delicious strawberry flavouring of some kind. There was a raft of Tim Horton’s flotsam in the barrel, including several plastic smoothie cups – I’m guessing that’s what lured the masked scavenger into its predicament.
  I slowly spilled the barrel over, and the wet raccoon at my feet looked up at me with the most ‘human’ of looks I’ve seen from an animal in some time - him all same man (read Dersu!). After sitting in a daze for a few seconds, it shuffled off, looking decidedly cold and sluggish, but otherwise okay.

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), October 17, 2017
Peregrine Falcon-(1 at UdeM)
Ring-billed Gull-(3)
Downy Woodpecker-3 (1)
Hairy Woodpecker-1
American Crow-20+ (5)
Common Raven-(2)
Black-capped Chickadee-18+ (5+)
White-breasted Nuthatch-4 (1)
Red-breasted Nuthatch-2
Winter Wren-4 (1)
Golden-crowned Kinglet-4 (15+ in the woods on NDN’s north edge)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-25+ (4)
Hermit Thrush-5 (2)
Yellow-rumped Warbler-(1 near Decelles, hanging with the ‘dees)
Northern Cardinal-3 (1)
Chipping Sparrow-30+ (5+)
Fox Sparrow-6 in the woods just north of Mountain View, (3 in the NDN north woods)
White-throated Sparrow-30+ (4)
Dark-eyed Junco- 275+,with decent-sized flocks in most woods and forest edges - a single flock of 155+ seen at Mountain View, another with 100+ birds on Pine Hill Side, and groups of 20+ scattered, (20+)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Warbler wane

Winter Wren Troglodytes hiemalis
Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
  The radar looked dead last night, but I stopped by the 'teries anyway, for a three-hour bimble in the wet grass. Pretty quiet morning, was disappointed to see that the Fox Sparrows had already moved through.

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), October 14, 2017
Cooper’s Hawk-1 mobbed by crows
Ring-billed Gull-(5)
Downy Woodpecker-3
Hairy Woodpecker-1
Blue Jay-1 heard
American Crow-40+ (6)
Black-capped Chickadee-12+ (8+)
White-breasted Nuthatch-2 (1)
Red-breasted Nuthatch-3
Winter Wren-5 (3)
Golden-crowned Kinglet-3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-24+ (12+)
Eastern Bluebird-4
Swainson’s Thrush-1 well observed in Oak Ridge
Hermit Thrush-5
Yellow-rumped Warbler-8 (1)
Northern Cardinal-2
Chipping Sparrow-10 (5)
White-throated Sparrow-20+ (12+)
Dark-eyed Junco-75+ (45+)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fleet Fu@#*n' Foxes

Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca...yes, almost, one more second, turn that head...yes that's it, hop into that spot of sun...focus tightening...just press the button...
...aaaand it's gone. F@*kin' hate birds.
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus getting in there
juvenile male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius
Nashville Warbler Leiothlypis ruficapilla

Current energy levels
  A relaxed four-hour early-morning saunter east, starting at Decelles. I happily crossed paths with a spurt of Fox Sparrows moving through the small woods along the north edge of NDN. I spent a rewarding, if frustrating, half-hour sitting still and observing these large, ruddy creepers as they fossicked through the leaf litter. They are expert at posing for great pictures, and then fucking off at the last minute. 
  Rolling carpets of Dark-eyed Juncos arrived in the night (if the radars are to be trusted) – they were everywhere, muddying the waters when it came to trying to pick out other small birds. Some species were notable in their absence (Northern Flicker, Swainson’s Thrush, Gray Catbird), and numbers of Chipping and White-throated Sparrows are tailing off. 
  Believe it or not, I ran into another American Woodcock – my fourth for the cemetery, with most encounters occurring in the same area (G7, G3, G4, Oak Ridge area). It first flushed from atop the bluffy bit east of the cannons, from about ten feet away. I bumbled down after it, and as I scanned bushes it flushed again (must have been sitting out in the bloody open!) from a bit farther, and headed towards the NDN fence. It made the distinctive wing trill both times, and I got decent views the second time - chubby, peachy belly and down-angled bill.

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), October 11, 2017
Canada Goose-47 counted, many others heard
Turkey Vulture-1
Cooper’s Hawk-2 battling with crows
Merlin-(2 dueling near the U de M football field)
Peregrine Falcon-(1 at U de M)
American Woodcock-1 flushed from the bluffs at G7, down into G3, then again towards Oak Ridge/NDN fence
Ring-billed Gull-(9)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-1 juvenile male
Downy Woodpecker-2
Hairy Woodpecker-2
Eastern Phoebe-(1)
Blue Jay-2 (1)
American Crow-45+ (8)
Common Raven-2
Black-capped Chickadee-12+ (8+)
Brown Creeper-1
White-breasted Nuthatch-2
Red-breasted Nuthatch-6+ in E5
Winter Wren-2 (2)
Golden-crowned Kinglet-1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-12+ (10+)
Eastern Bluebird-4+ in L2, (2)
Hermit Thrush-5 (1)
Nashville Warbler-1 on Pine Hill Side
Yellow-rumped Warbler-9+ mostly in the southern edge, (1)
Northern Cardinal-2
Chipping Sparrow-12 (5)
Song Sparrow-2
Fox Sparrow-4 on Mountain View, (13 well seen, well counted)
White-throated Sparrow-12+ (5)
Dark-eyed Junco-175+ (95+)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October's birds

Winter Wren Troglodytes hiemalis
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius
  Went for a lazy wander through the cemeteries with Dan, in an effort to get him on a Winter Wren – he ended up getting on a few, mostly in the woods on the northern edge of Mountain View.
  On the way out, a large wader flew straight at the windscreen of Dan’s car, blooping inches over the car at the last second. Based on the bulky size, colour, and clumsy flight, it couldn’t have been anything other than an American Woodcock. Crazy! The odd sighting occurred quite close to the bushy area where I spotted the first of two American Woodcocks on May 2nd: https://snowyowllost.blogspot.ca/2017/05/woodcock-woodcock.html.

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), October 1, 2017
Turkey Vulture-4
Cooper’s Hawk-3
American Woodcock-1 flyover on  the road between A4 and L6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-1
Downy Woodpecker-2
Hairy Woodpecker-2
Northern Flicker-4
Blue-headed Vireo-(1)
Blue Jay-2
American Crow-12+
Common Raven-1 heard
Black-capped Chickadee-12+ (15+)
Brown Creeper-1
Red-breasted Nuthatch-1
Winter Wren-4-5
Golden-crowned Kinglet-10+ (4)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-12+ (8+)
Swainson’s Thrush-1
Hermit Thrush-1
Grey Catbird-1 heard on Pine Hill Side
Tennessee Warbler-(1)
Northern Parula-1 at Mountain View
Black-throated Blue Warbler-2-3 at the northern edge of Mountain View
Yellow-rumped Warbler-4
Northern Cardinal-3
Chipping Sparrow-20+ (10+)
White-throated Sparrow-50+ (30+)
Dark-eyed Junco-45+ (20+)

Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata
Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis hounded by Chipping Sparrows Spizella passerina 
Coral Hairstreak Satyrium titus 
Found someone's art project or geocache or whatever
  Birds were thin on the ground, tail-end of the bell curve. Winter Wrens were notably numerous, while warblers were few and far between. The Orange-crowned Warbler was a nice surprise, mixed in with kinglets in a high bush. 
  As has been the case for several weeks, I witnessed Eastern Bluebirds being harried by masses of Chipping Sparrows. It doesn’t seem like aggressive mobbing (no noisy mobbing calls), so much as ‘extreme worship’. I watched a group of sparrows silently surround a bluebird in a tree, moving ever closer, until finally the bluebird flew off, closely followed by the dozen or so sparrows. Do the sparrows see the bluebirds as ‘super-parents’ that will protect and feed them? When I first witnessed the behaviour a few weeks ago, it felt like young sparrows were begging for food from adult bluebirds, but since then I’ve seen many variations on the theme, with adult sparrows following juvenile bluebirds around.

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), October 3, 2017
Canada Goose-some heard overhead
Turkey Vulture-2
Sharp-shinned Hawk-1 (1)
Cooper’s Hawk-1
Ring-billed Gull-9 (5)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-1
Downy Woodpecker-2 (2)
Hairy Woodpecker-2 (1)
Northern Flicker-4+
Blue Jay-1 heard
American Crow-17
Common Raven-(2)
Black-capped Chickadee-12+ (8+)
Red-breasted Nuthatch-1
Winter Wren-9+ scattered throughout both forest edges and isolated bushes, (2)
Golden-crowned Kinglet-3 (2)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-15+ (10+)
Eastern Bluebird-2 (2)
Swainson’s Thrush-2 (1)
Hermit Thrush-2 (2)
Tennessee Warbler-1 on the northern edge of Mountain View
Nashville Warbler-1 near the Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler-1 in the very south of L5
Yellow-rumped Warbler-9 (3)
Northern Cardinal-2 (1)
Chipping Sparrow-25+ (15+)
Song Sparrow-1 at the top of Mountain View
White-throated Sparrow-25+ (12)
Dark-eyed Junco-30+ (20+)
American Goldfinch-(1 heard near Decelles entrance)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Last of the Fall Warblers V

White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura attended by American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis
Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
Northern Parula Setophaga americana
Black-throated Blue Warbler Setophaga caerulescens
Canada Goose Branta canadensis

  More promising nocturnal radar images led to more battered legs and feet yesterday (five hours west to east). When compared with the previous day, there were notable increases in the numbers of Golden and Ruby-crowned kinglets, Swainson's ThrushesChipping Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos. As before, the best warbler action was in the woods near the fence in the S and T sectors on the northern edge of the NDN Cemetery.

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), September 29, 2017
Canada Goose-heard overhead most of the day, not well counted, plus one grounded individual
Turkey Vulture-(1 mobbed by crows)
Cooper’s Hawk-1
Peregrine Falcon-1
Ring-billed Gull-(1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-(1 mixed in with the warbler wave)
Downy Woodpecker-3 (2)
Hairy Woodpecker-2
Northern Flicker-5 (2)
Pileated Woodpecker-(1)
Eastern Phoebe-1 (1)
Blue-headed Vireo-1 (1)
Blue Jay-2
American Crow-25+ (3)
Common Raven-2
Black-capped Chickadee-12+ (10)
White-breasted Nuthatch-2 (2)
Red-breasted Nuthatch-4
Winter Wren-2
Golden-crowned Kinglet-10+ (12+)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-10+ (8+)
Eastern Bluebird-3 (2)
Swainson’s Thrush-12+ (7+)
Hermit Thrush-(1)
Grey Catbird-1 still on Pine Hill Side
Cedar Waxwing-(5)
Tennessee Warbler-2 (2)
Orange-crowned Warbler-(2 showing well)
Northern Parula-(1)
Magnolia Warbler-(1)
Black-throated Blue Warbler-(1 female again in woods in the northeast of NDN)
Black-throated Green Warbler-(1)
Yellow-rumped Warbler-8+ mostly in sectors L1 through L5
Northern Cardinal-2 (2)
Chipping Sparrow-60+ (55+ clouds of them in the morning)
Song Sparrow-2 (1)
Lincoln’s Sparrow-(1)
White-crowned Sparrow-3
White-throated Sparrow-90+ a few in every bush, with some heavy concentrations in forest edges, (40+)
Dark-eyed Junco-60+ large groups throughout, especially in A4/Oak Ridge, (80+ loads along the western edge of NDN)
American Goldfinch-(1 heard)

House Finch-1 singing in a yard near the north entrance of MRC

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Last of the Fall Warblers IV

Nashville Warbler Leiothlypis ruficapilla
Nashville Warbler Leiothlypis ruficapilla
Nashville Warbler Leiothlypis ruficapilla
Nashville Warbler Leiothlypis ruficapilla
find the Black-throated Green Warbler Setophaga virens
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus eating what looks like a stink bug
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus using its feet to pick apart lunch
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
also a White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
  Today’s peregrinations lasted a leg-busting 5.5 hours, from west to east and back again. The unwelcome stretch of muggy heat finally broke overnight with strong northwesterlies, and it was lovely to feel Jack Frost nipping at my finger marrow once again. The trees in the western and northern edges of NDN were once again alive with migrating warblers, all visibly migging south.
  Ran into Anthony Zerafa from the McGill group in the southern edge of Mount-Royal Cemetery, and we birded together and compared notes for a while, good times. It was pretty birdy up there, as the birds rallied for their next southern hop.
  On my way back up Mountain View in the late morning, I re-met Denis Tétreault, and we picked through the mini-wave of vireos, thrushes, warblers, and sparrows that surrounded us.

  One feller I wasn’t overly thrilled to see again was one of several guys that sit around and incessantly blare playback at top volume, whilst hunched over a big lens. I noted a wide birdless perimeter around him, but chose not to step off my high horse and interact with him. C’mon duuude, get off the stool and look and listen, mannnnn! Yr harshin’ my mellowww, brahhh!

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), September 28, 2017
Canada Goose-20+ (100+ in the early morning)
Cooper’s Hawk-1
Broad-winged Hawk-1 heard at Mountain View, 1 possibly seen high overhead
Merlin-(1 cruising for warblers)
Peregrine Falcon-(1)
Ring-billed Gull-(1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-1 adult male in G4/Oak Ridge
Downy Woodpecker-2
Hairy Woodpecker-1
Northern Flicker-10+ (2)
Red-eyed Vireo-2 at the base of Mountain View
Blue-headed Vireo-3
Blue Jay-3
American Crow-40+
Common Raven-2
Black-capped Chickadee-15+ (8)
White-breasted Nuthatch-3 (1)
Winter Wren-2
Golden-crowned Kinglet-7 (5)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-4
Eastern Bluebird-4 (2)
Swainson’s Thrush-6+ (2)
Hermit Thrush-2
Grey Catbird-3
Cedar Waxwing-1 heard
Tennessee Warbler-3 (1)
Nashville Warbler-2
Northern Parula-(1)
Magnolia Warbler-5 (2)
Black-throated Blue Warbler-(1 female in woods in the northeast of NDN)
Black-throated Green Warbler-5+ (2)
Yellow-rumped Warbler-3 (3)
Palm Warbler-(6 moving south in the trees on the extreme western edge of NDN at 8 a.m. along with a decent warbler wave)
Blackpoll Warbler-2 (1)
Common Yellowthroat-1 possible
Ovenbird-2 in the woods north of Mountain View
Scarlet Tanager-1 at the base of Mountain View
Rose-breasted Grosbeak-(1 in the northeast corner of NDN)
Northern Cardinal-3
Chipping Sparrow-50+ (50+)
Song Sparrow-4 (2)
White-crowned Sparrow-2 at the top of Mountain View among the circular plots
White-throated Sparrow-35+ (25+)
Dark-eyed Junco-40+ (1)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Chickadee's Sad Fate





Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii
Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii 
Remains of a Northern Flicker, many other clumps nearby
  Only three hours in the insane blazing heat today, east to west. Just a few warbler dregs mixed in with juncos and kinglets. How hot was it? When the wind blew it was like being blasted with a hair dryer. Gross.
  I walked in on the intense scene of a Cooper's Hawk plucking and eating a Black-capped Chickadee, while being harassed by a Blue Jay. The poor 'dee was devoured in about four minutes. Everyone's gotta eat. Must be hard being a bird.

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), September 24, 2017
Turkey Vulture-1
Sharp-shinned Hawk-1
Cooper’s Hawk-1
Ring-billed Gull-(2)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-1 juv in Oak Ridge
Downy Woodpecker-2
Hairy Woodpecker-2
Northern Flicker-3 (1)
Red-eyed Vireo-1
Blue Jay-2
American Crow-15
Black-capped Chickadee-10 (7)
White-breasted Nuthatch-1
Winter Wren-3
Golden-crowned Kinglet-2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-10+ (4)
Eastern Bluebird-4
Swainson’s Thrush-3 (1)
Grey Catbird-2
Cedar Waxwing-3
Tennessee Warbler-2
Yellow-rumped Warbler-4 (1)
Blackpoll Warbler-1
Northern Cardinal-3
Chipping Sparrow-45+ (20+)
Song Sparrow-4 (2)
White-throated Sparrow-24+ (12+)
Dark-eyed Junco-20+ (8)
American Goldfinch-3

Last of the Fall Warblers III

Winter Wren Troglodytes hiemalis
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis
Swainson’s Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Tennessee Warbler Leiothlypis peregrina
Eastern Chipmunk Tamias striatus
Current mood
Surveyor's stake
Eastern edge of staked out field
Lovely reedy scrub patch at field's edge, where warblers, sparrows, Indigo Buntings, and more breed
Proposed cemetery expansion, as seen on a discarded document
  A lovely four-hour bimble in the sun, from west to east. Warbler variety and numbers were down - the only real wave came in the NDN Cemetery, along the wooded trail that skirts the north edge. 
  I saw a surveyor's stake in the corner of a field where the edges are quite productive, bird-wise. My suspicions that there was development planned for this quiet corner were quickly confirmed, in the most 80s-movie manner possible. Some moron left a bunch of sensitive documents (names, dollar figures, real estate details, etc...) blowing in the wind, and they all related to the proposed expansion of cemetery plots. Ah well, it's their cemetery, eh. I only hope 'they' leave the weedy fringes untouched, as even these 10-foot wide overgrown corridors provide important habitat for an impressive array of breeding and migrating species.

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), September 23, 2017
Turkey Vulture-1
Cooper’s Hawk-2 battling with crows
Ring-billed Gull-1 (1)
Downy Woodpecker-1 (2)
Hairy Woodpecker-2
Northern Flicker-2 (1)
Eastern Wood Pewee-(1 possibly heard from far off)
Red-eyed Vireo-2 or 3 on Mountain View
Blue-headed Vireo-(1 with the warbler wave on the north edge)
Blue Jay-2
American Crow-12
Black-capped Chickadee-15+ (12)
White-breasted Nuthatch-3 (1)
Winter Wren-4
Golden-crowned Kinglet-10 (3)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-5 (3)
Eastern Bluebird-2 (8-10...many still being harried by Chipping Sparrows)
Swainson’s Thrush-1 (1)
Grey Catbird-2
Cedar Waxwing-1 or 2
Tennessee Warbler-4 (2)
Nashville Warbler-3 (3)
Magnolia Warbler-8 (10)
Black-throated Green Warbler-(1)
Yellow-rumped Warbler-3 (3)
Blackpoll Warbler-(1)
Bay-breasted Warbler-(1)
American Redstart-(1)
Northern Cardinal-3
Chipping Sparrow-35+ (50-60)
Song Sparrow-4 (2)
White-throated Sparrow-35+ (25+)
Dark-eyed Junco-45+ (12+)
American Goldfinch-3 (5+)