Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The week's birds and critters

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Magnolia Warbler Setophaga magnolia
Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla
Blue-headed Vireo Vireo solitarius
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
Least Flycatcher Empidonax minimus
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii
Cooper’s Hawk Accipiter cooperii
female Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
female Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater
Common Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis
American Red Squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus
young Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus
  This week was meant to be a Point Pelee week for Dan and I, but his cat and rat are both ailing, so that will have to wait - Pelee isn't going anywhere, and will be there next year. This past week has been marked by extreme temperature fluctuations, and moderate arrivals of migrants. There should be some great movement by week's end, with some promising southerlies on the way, at just the right time. Rubs hands together sneakily...
  A relatively quick jaunt through the Jardin Botanique on May 6th saw modest highlights in the form of several Yellow-rumped Warblers, and some confiding Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and Chipping Sparrows.
  The following day, it was a sweltering 22° and sunny, so I headed out on a five hour walk to the Westmount Summit and 'both' cemeteries. No warblers and vireos in evidence at the summit, but I did see two Common Garter Snakes sunning themselves - they were about a foot long, with the thickness of a pencil. A band of six confiding Cedar Waxwings at Mount Royal Cemetery was a treat to watch, as they calmly worked through a fruiting tree.
  On May 9th, Dan and I went to Île-de-la-Visitation, followed by the Morgan Arboretum, on a day that was miles apart from the previous day, weather-wise. At one point it was snowing for a few minutes, with the temperature hovering around at a frigid 5°, made colder by the blustery winds. At our first stop, highlights were limited to several Blue-headed Vireos. The Arboretum was a bit birdier, with good long looks at an Eastern Phoebe, Least Flycatcher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, a dozen Cedar Waxwings, and a Black-and-white Warbler. An Osprey flashed overhead at one point, and had the look of 'heading north' about it. Several American Red Squirrels were also seen.
  May 10th felt birdy, as I embarked on an epic seven-hour 'Westmount Summit-Two cemeteries-Back to NDG' death march. The Summit was heaving with White-throated Sparrows, with perhaps 20 seen in a relatively small area. Also at the Summit in the late morning were at least four Black-and-White Warblers, two Blue-headed Vireos, three Yellow-rumped Warblers, and an Ovenbird. A young Eastern Cottontail was seen, and later an adult.
  At the cemeteries, sightings included several Turkey Vultures, at least two Cooper's Hawks, and single counts of Eastern Phoebe, Least Flycatcher, and Magnolia Warbler. Large numbers (at least 60) of White-throated Sparrows again, with a White-crowned Sparrow and several Song Sparrows mixed in.
  On the way home in the late afternoon, one final treat. At the base of the stairs below the lookout, I spotted a small bird flitting through the treetops. Northern Parula! Cracking bird, as Nial Moores would say.


  1. Hey Matt, long time man!

    I was at Point Pelee on Wednesday, as it's only 30 mins from my folks place. It was a pretty sweet day: scarlet tanager, yellow warbler, indigo bunting, blackburnian and magnolia warblers to name a few. Pelee is pretty epic during the spring migration. Bridget and I were on our spring break last week. We're teaching up in northern QC these days. Anyhoo, looks like the spring birding is treating you well in Montreal. Cheers!

  2. Hey, that would have been crazy to bump into you there at Pelee! How much longer will you be around? My buddy and I may still head out there at the end of May, would be good to catch up with birds and a pint! Cheers back, Matt.

  3. We are actually back in northern QC. Back to work on Monday...Maybe next spring though! Hope you guys get a chance to check out Pelee.