Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Westmount Summit / Two cemeteries, January 17, 2017

Only the dietarily-disciplined shall pass - I barely scraped through
Townsend’s Solitaire Myadestes townsendi
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus
    In pleasant enough January weather, I took a leg-numbing walk from NDG up through Westmount and the cemeteries.  The summit and oratory area were very quiet, as was the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery.  I do think there are some Eastern Screech Owls or Northern Shrikes in there somewhere, as it's a vast space with potential, in spite of the bulk of bird activity being confined to the Mount Royal Cemetery just over the fence (Dan and I have spotted Great Horned Owls and Northern Mockingbirds there at this time of year, so there's hope).
  After squeezing through a gap in that fence, I saw some photographers congregated on a rise in the Oak Ridge sector, clearly in search of the long-staying Townsend's Solitaire.  I wasn't in a chatty mood, so I wandered south.  I stopped in a small copse of trees (in A4 bordering on L2) when I heard a strange, intermittent squeak over the rush of wind through pine needles.  It took me about five minutes of listening to realize that I was hearing two trees rubbing together, but just as I was about to carry on rambling, a medium-sized passerine flopped down onto a bush perhaps ten feet ahead of me.  It was the vaunted Townsend's Solitaire, and it eventually flew up to perch atop a tree, before some passing crows caused it to dematerialize in a puff of smoke.
   Another highlight was a leisurely look at a group of House Finches in a brief slice of sunshine.  Best looks I've had in a while, and they really reminded me of the Pallas's Rosefinches I saw in Korea: (http://snowyowllost.blogspot.ca/2016/01/suncheon-december-24-january-9.html)

Westmount Summit
Red-tailed Hawk - 1 being chased by...
American Crow - 2
Black-capped Chickadee - 5
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1 heard
American Robin - 2 heard near the Oratory
Northern Cardinal - 1 heard singing near some feeders

Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery
Common Raven - 2 heard
American Crow - 3
Black-capped Chickadee - 6+
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1 heard
Pileated Woodpecker - 1 heard

Mount Royal Cemetery
Common Raven - 2
American Crow - 7+
Black-capped Chickadee - 12+
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
American Robin - 2+ heard
Townsend's Solitaire - 1
House Finch - 5

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