Thursday, June 23, 2016

Birds of June

Coal Tit Periparus ater
Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyanus
Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus
juvenile Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus 
Striated Heron Butorides striata (mid-joust)
Chestnut-cheeked Starling Agropsar philippensis (a rare Korean breeding record)
  An end to migration means an end to silly musical blog titles, I suppose. It was fun for a while though, right? So here are some of the birds I've been seeing this June - it's been a hot, muggy month in Suncheon. It was great to re-sight the nesting Chestnut-cheeked...wait...hang on a minute. Oh right, I'm in Montreal. I get a bit confused at times. Time flies when you're sitting around working on a secret writing project all day. Muahahahahaha!
  For what it's worth, here's what I was seeing last June (the images that weren't good enough for the blog the first time 'round).

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Twitch and Shout

Parc Écologique de l’Anse-du-Port, Nicolet
Perfect day for birding in bucolic rural Québec
Water treatment ponds at Baie-du-Febvre
Dan failing to find a Caspian Tern
Jovial mob of Prothonologists
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea
Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana
Gadwall Anas strepera
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia
Purple Martin Progne subis
Big Day: Parc Écologique de l’Anse-du-Port, Nicolet + Baie-du-Febvre + Mount Royal Cemetery
  In lieu of our oft-postponed Point Pelee trip, Dan and I decided instead to do a Big Day, and we couldn’t have chosen a better day for it. It was sunny yet fresh, and after the 90-minute drive northeast, we happily found no swarms of biting bugs at our destinations. The logical first stop was the Parc Écologique de l’Anse-du-Port, in Nicolet, for a flagrant twitch. And what a twitch – there were close to 30 folks on the swamp-boardwalk, all keenly following the movements of a stunning male Prothonotary Warbler. Try saying that three times fast. The star attraction was quite cooperative, singing and working slowly through the understory.
  We didn’t linger very long in the scrum, drawn into the sunnier area by the songs of a Yellow Warbler, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, and a lovely nest-building Marsh Wren, which aggressively sent off a Swamp Sparrow at one point. A Wilson’s Snipe flashed overhead on the way out.
  Some friendly local birders told us about a great spot for Black Terns, so we checked out the water treatment ponds at Baie-du-Febvre. There were some well thought-out blinds set up between the two ponds, offering close views of three Black Terns, although we later spotted over 60 in the adjacent swampy area. Black Terns are stunning and aerobatic birds, and we watched them floating butterfly-like and snatching fish at will for quite some time. Other highlights from this area included: a juvenile Bald Eagle, several dozen Tree and Barn Swallows, a decent waterfowl assemblage, a Common Gallinule, several American Coots, a Spotted Sandpiper, and three Killdeers. On the way out of town, we took some time to watch the comings and goings of two housefulls (houses full?) of bustling Purple Martins.
  After a bracing tinfoil bowl of legit poutine, we made one final stop at the Mount Royal Cemetery. Several Gray Catbirds and Indigo Buntings were spotted in a quick drive through, as well as an odd-looking open-mouthed Swainson’s Thrush that appeared to have something lodged in its throat. Singing Red-eyed Vireos and flyby Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were present at all three locations, and we ended our modest ten hour Big Day with 55 species, big dumb grins and high-fives.