Monday, May 23, 2016

Down by the Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler Setophaga castanea
  Spring in Montreal has been good to me, bird-wise.  During the past several weeks I’ve seen 19 different warbler species, eight of which were lifers for me.  As of this morning, I only had two ‘easy’ warblers left to see – Bay-breasted and Blackpoll.  I’ve been birding pretty hard lately, but I pulled my foot off the gas for a moment, and took the weekend off from birding.  Maybe I subconsciously wanted to save some new warblers for next spring?  Who knows.

  Back at it today, although Westmount Summit itself was extremely quiet, with only one warbler seen (a female American Redstart), along with several Great Crested Flycatchers and Red-eyed Vireos heard singing.  On my walk home, ‘secret spot’ was yet again much birdier than the Summit.  A Common Yellowthroat, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Yellow-rumped, and two Black-throated Blue Warblers were all quickly spotted in the small wooded patch, and then two more warblers moved in from the back.  It was initially hard to get a good look, as the leaves have fully come in this week, but I caught a glimpse of thick rusty flanks and...a rusty chin!  I wasn’t looking at another Chestnut-sided Warbler, but a pair of cracking Bay-breasted Warblers!  I watched them for about ten minutes as they gorged on what looked like green caterpillars (yum!) high in the treetops, never getting as close as the other warblers.  Awesome bird, holy smokes.  Ok, time to figure out where the Blackpolls are...

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