Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Montreal Return - Mount Royal Cemetery, March 23, 2016


Scrub edge packed full of American Robins 
Mount Royal Cemetery
Dan checking the waxwings
American Robins Turdus migratorius
Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
Abstract Downy
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia +1
'White-winged' American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
(From the Sibley field guide)
  It has been over a week since I returned from Korea, and I'm still mega-jetlagged.  I still have a few final Korean posts to put up - in the meantime, here's my first Montreal birding session of the year.
  Feeling a bit lazy and not up for a long drive, Dan and I went to Mount Royal Cemetery to see what was about.  It was a gorgeous sunny and clear day, with a fresh coat of snow on the ground and temperatures hovering just above freezing.  We had a total of 18 species on the day, with the obvious highlight being the waxwings.  At least 35 Cedar and over 20 Bohemian Waxwings were well-watched as they lazily fed on berries and ate the melting snow off tree limbs.  It was a real treat to observe the two species side-by-side and compare field marks.  Cedars were noticeably smaller, with the pale yellow belly popping in the field, whereas the darker, larger Bohemians were easily identified by their reddish-brown undertails.  We had both seen these species before, but never such long and leisurely looks at both species simultaneously.
  Other highlights included large numbers (100+) of American Robin feeding actively at the scrub edge near the entrance, a Song Sparrow, several Dark-eyed Juncos, House Finches, and American Goldfinches, a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches, several Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, and a Northern Cardinal.
  One notable observation was an American Crow (one of over 20 in the area) that showed conspicuous white wing patches.  This was new to me, but according to Sibley, this variation is 'rare but regular'.  I wonder how often they're seen in the Montreal area?  Very cool to see, in any case.

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