Wednesday, May 2, 2018

L'incroyable affaire du Bruant des Champs, and other tales

Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla




White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
Brown Creeper Certhia americana
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  Seems we missed a season somewhere. Two days ago I was wearing gloves, a tuque, and several layers on Mont-Saint-Bruno, in decidedly chilly weather. Today, the temperature swung from 15-25°C (!), in strong winds.
  There weren’t carpets of new arrivals in, as last night’s radars had me hoping, but at least the warblers have finally arrived. There’s been a sparrow-y feel to the spring so far, and that theme continued today.
  All the usual suspects (me among them) were buzzing around E5 in the morning in hopes of seeing a Field Sparrow that was found yesterday by Richard Guillet. Apparently the bird was singing in the same spot all day, but nothing was heard from those bushes but proverbial crickets. It seemed it was a one-day wonder. Ah well, it is what it is, I mumbled and carried on birding the cemetery.
  At 12:15 p.m., as I was headed out towards the north entrance, I decided to pick through some Chipping Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos that were foraging near the ‘feeder stream.’ I was surprised when a sparrow that was definitely not a Chipping Sparrow hopped through the scrub in the background of my bino view. I got clear but fragmented looks at a grey and orange-brown face, a pink bill, and a white eye-ring. Field Sparrow! It was silent and skittish, perhaps due to high winds, and kept far back in the weeds. I went into stakeout mode, squatting up against a ginkgo tree - an awkward pose which drew uneasy glances from passersby.
  By 12:50 p.m., with calves burning, eyelids drooping, and nostrils burning from the field of rotting ginkgo fruit I found myself in, the birding gods finally winked at me. The winds stilled, a column of silver sunlight slashed down, and the Field Sparrow popped up onto a branch about 15 feet away. A stunning bird, truly Spizella-riffic. It rocked in the wind for a bit, then sang a few tentative verses. I watched it until the winds picked up at 1:10 p.m., when it ghosted back into the bushes.
  My feet legitimately hurt now. Guess what I’m doing tomorrow...

Mount-Royal Cemetery, (Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery), May 2, 2018
Mallard-2 in the stream by the north entrance, 1 male in L7
Turkey Vulture-5
Cooper’s Hawk-2 (1)
Red-shouldered Hawk-1 over Mount Royal
Broad-winged Hawk-1 or 2 circling
Red-tailed Hawk-1 adult
Ring-billed Gull-(2)
Downy Woodpecker-2 (1)
Hairy Woodpecker-1 (1)
Northern Flicker-20 (7)
Eastern Phoebe-1 by the north entrance
American Crow-7 (3)
Black-capped Chickadee-9 (6)
Brown Creeper-2 (2)
White-breasted Nuthatch-3
Red-breasted Nuthatch-1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-35+ (25+)
Hermit Thrush-1 on Mount Murray
American Robin- 19 (12)
European Starling-1
Nashville Warbler-3 around Mountain View
Black-throated Green Warbler-1 crisp male on Mount Murray
Yellow-rumped Warbler-2 around Mountain View
Palm Warbler-1 ‘Eastern/yellow’ on Mountain View
Northern Cardinal-5 (3)
Chipping Sparrow-40+ (25)
Field Sparrow-1 near the north entrance
Song Sparrow-9 (5)
White-crowned Sparrow-(1 near Decelles at 8 a.m.)
White-throated Sparrow-20+ (13)
Dark-eyed Junco-45+ (35+)
Red-winged Blackbird-1 flyby near Mountain View
American Goldfinch-8 (13)
Pine Siskin-3
House Finch-(1 male singing)

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