Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Montreal, Morgan Arboretum, January 16, 2013


Mourning Doves Zenaida macroura
Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea
Dan fails with the Redpoll
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Great Gray Owl Strix nebulosa
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis (leg-banded)
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) Junco hyemalis
Owl meat (American Red Squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)
Jet-lagged and livin' the dream!
Dan being a goofy-ass
Arbo fields

Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
  It was a mild and sunny January day on my first Montreal birding expedition in over a year.  Upon arrival at the Morgan Arboretum (at the northwestern tip of the island of Montreal), Dan and I were surprised to see a flock of Common Redpoll actively feeding in the sunlight.  This winter has seen an influx of Redpolls in Quebec.   I believe this was a first for me!  Great-looking bird.
  This winter has also seen a spike in the sightings of our other two ‘interesting’ species of the day – Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Great Gray Owl (!).  The Red-bellied Woodpecker stuck to the high treetops, and was apparently not very aptly named.  Also of note was a leg-banded White-breasted Nuthatch.  I’ll try to decipher the markings on the band and pass the info along to the banders, most likely the McGill Bird Observatory (http://www.migrationresearch.org/mbo.html).
  Dan, my birding compadre for at least 25 years, almost rugby tackled me as we were walking down a narrow trail between two large fields, and hissed ‘OWL!’ in my ear.  There was a Great Gray Owl perched casually above our heads.  It just sat there scanning the fields, lazily swivelling its alien-turret head around to sternly glare at us every few minutes.  Good times!  The next week will see an end to this unseasonably warm weather, as an arctic cold front moves down to turn runny noses into ice.   Here’s what we saw:

Red-tailed Hawk – 1
Mourning Dove – 7
Great Gray Owl – 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 1
Downy Woodpecker – 5
Hairy Woodpecker – 2
Blue Jay – 1
American Crow – 10
Black-capped Chickadee – 24
White-breasted Nuthatch – 3
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 2
European Starling – 8
Northern Cardinal  - 2
Dark-eyed Junco – 1
Common Redpoll – 40+

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