Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Winning Ticket: Hooded Warbler!

Hooded Warbler Setophaga citrina
Hooded Warbler Setophaga citrina
Hooded Warbler Setophaga citrina
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus with American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
"Poo-chick-o-reeeee!" Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
female Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
American Goldfinch Spinus tristis
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes
  I woke up with a sore throat yesterday, and didn't do much besides lay around and eat soup. 'Round 11 P.M., as my lids grew heavy and I fought the nod, I had a look at the Québec rare bird website before paying my debt to the sandman. A short entry without an image jumped out and pistol-whipped me. SMACK! "Male Hooded Warbler observed in the arboretum section of the botanical gardens". Huh? My original plan of sleeping off the cold all Wednesday fell by the wayside. Twitching a nutsoids bird like this (less than annual in Québec) is akin to buying a lottery ticket - you don't really expect to win, but it's usually worth paying for the daydream - the possibility of winning.
  As per usual, when I got there gloomy and early this morning, the weather forecast was woefully inaccurate - it rained light and steady for several hours. Not a cold rain, so no matter. After three hours of wandering (the arboretum is a painfully expansive area), no sign of the bird. "Maybe it moved on with the rain," I muttered as I stepped in another epic mud puddle with my holey shoe.  Voot.

  As I moped through the western section of the arboretum, all at once I smelled the bird - I knew I'd see it. Shortly after, I bumped in Jean-Sebastien Mayer, the king of Mount Royal Cemetery. We chatted for a couple of minutes, and then, 20 feet away, a small olive bird flashed past us. "That's it!" It was. The spectacular bird fan-tailed its way through the trees for a few minutes, before zipping away low along a fenceline. The lighting was dim, the views were quick, but it was the most outstanding bird I've encountered for some time. Winning ticket!

Jardin Botanique de Montréal, April 26, 2017
Pied-Billed Grebe-1
Canada Goose-2
Mallard-6

Red-shouldered Hawk-1 attended by crows
Merlin-1 heard
Ring-billed Gull-20+
Rock Dove-1
Mourning Dove-1
Downy Woodpecker-2
Hairy Woodpecker-2
Northern Flicker-2
Eastern Phoebe-2
American Crow-12+
Tree Swallow-8+
Black-capped Chickadee-10+
Brown Creeper-1
White-breasted Nuthatch-3
Red-breasted Nuthatch-1 heard
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet-20+
Hermit Thrush-4
American Robin-10+
Cedar Waxwing-4
European Starling-2
Hooded Warbler-1 male in the mid-canopy, on the western side of the arboretum section
Northern Cardinal-4
Chipping Sparrow-6+
Song Sparrow-4+
Fox Sparrow-3
White-throated Sparrow-12+
Dark-eyed Junco-40+
Red-winged Blackbird-12+
Brown-headed Cowbird-1
American Goldfinch-12+
House Finch-3
+Red Fox-3

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