Saturday, April 15, 2017

Early Birds of Spring

Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius
Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus
Brown Creeper Certhia americana
Brown Creeper Certhia americana - longer bill than typical or within normal range?
Chipping Sparrow Spizella passerina
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Woodchuck/Groundhog Marmota monax
  A solid five-hour early spring bimble yesterday turned up 29 species at some local patches, including a couple of surprises. The slope beneath the lookout area at the Westmount Summit was heaving with birds in the morning, including Song Sparrows, Northern Flickers, Northern Cardinals, Dark-eyed Juncos, and best of all, two Fox Sparrows. Initially quite skulky, they eventually came out and fed in the sun and sang, dwarfing nearby Song Sparrows. I’d forgotten how big and chunky they were!
  Also at the summit were a confiding Hermit Thrush, and a pair of Brown Creepers, one of which sported the longest bill I’ve seen a member of this species endowed with. Over the woods, a raptor gave an odd call, and when I spotted it I initially thought it was a Cooper’s Hawk - but when it flew off, the buoyant flight on long wings had me scratching my head, until it banked hard and I saw the white rump of a Northern Harrier (a personal first for this site). True to its name, it winged north with purpose.
  At my ‘secret spot’, a pair of Eastern Phoebes fed and seemed to be on territory, while Brown Creepers, American Robins, Northern Cardinals, and Song Sparrows foraged restlessly.
  The Cemeteries yielded a bit less bird action, but it was great to watch Eastern Phoebes flycatching above a carpet of Dark-eyed Juncos, which darted like ghoulish sprites among the graves. On the way home, a Merlin called noisily over NDG and Décarie.

NDG + Westmount Secret Spot, (Westmount Summit), [two cemeteries], April 14, 2017
Turkey Vulture-[3]
Northern Harrier-(1)
Peregrine Falcon-[1 near the university]
Ring-billed Gull-[5]
Rock Dove-5
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-(2) [1]
Downy Woodpecker-(1)
Hairy Woodpecker-(1)
Northern Flicker-(1) [4]
Pileated Woodpecker-(2) [1 heard]
Eastern Phoebe-2 [2]
American Crow-5 (13) [6]
Common Raven-[2]
Black-capped Chickadee-(8+) [12+]
Brown Creeper-1 (2) [3]
White-breasted Nuthatch-[5]
Golden-crowned Kinglet-(6+) [12+]
Hermit Thrush-(1)
American Robin-3 [7]
European Starling-3
Northern Cardinal-3 (3) [2 heard]
Chipping Sparrow-3+ heard [3]
Song Sparrow-2 heard (3+) [8+]
Fox Sparrow-(2 singing)
Dark-eyed Junco-(6+) [20+]
House Sparrow-12+
American Goldfinch-(4+ heard) [4+ heard]
House Finch-(1 singing near the Oratory)
+Groundhogs and Mourning Cloaks out at all locations, and a presumed Eastern Comma at the cemetery

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