Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ditch Chicken!

Virginia Rail Rallus limicola

  Ditch Chicken! I finally saw a Ditch Chicken! A ridiculously close look at a Virginia Rail was the hands-down highlight of a 44 species afternoon at the Technoparc – and probably of my Montreal birding year to date. Long-awaited lifer!
  The bird was spotted far from the oft-visited swamps at the site, and I was dealt a fairly thick slice of luck when I first spotted a ‘mini-Moorhen’ zip through the edge of my peripheral vision. It was super skulky at first, but after a while know what? This encounter was so similar to my first brush with an Eastern Water Rail in Suncheon in October of 2015 (Click here to compare and contrast rail details) that I’ll just plagiarize that account, with several minor amendments:

  “...the best bird of the day by far was an Eastern Water Rail a Virginia Rail skulking in a reedy ditch. After catching a quick ‘Moorhen-like’ view of it scuttling to cover, I lay on the ground stood still, and after a few minutes, the bird came out and fed among the reeds. I spent an amazing 30 minutes watching it sneak around the murky reedscape. At times it vanished, only to burst from cover and comically skid to a stop, like a reluctant performer being pushed on stage.”

  All hail the Holy Grail Rail! Gidik gidik gidik!

Technoparc, May 26, 2018
Green Heron-1
Black-crowned Night Heron-1
Canada Goose-5
Virginia Rail-2: 1 seen well, 1 distant ‘call and response’ heard
Spotted Sandpiper-2
Least Sandpiper-1
Ring-billed Gull-4
Downy Woodpecker-3
Hairy Woodpecker-1
Pileated Woodpecker-1 or 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee-2 or 3 singing
Willow Flycatcher-2 singing
Least Flycatcher-2
Eastern Kingbird-4
Warbling Vireo-4
Red-eyed Vireo-2
Blue Jay-3
American Crow-3
Barn Swallow-3
Tree Swallow-12+
Black-capped Chickadee-3
Red-breasted Nuthatch-1
Swainson’s Thrush-1
American Robin-4
Gray Catbird-3
Cedar Waxwing-8
European Starling-15+
Yellow Warbler-12+
Magnolia Warbler-1
Blackburnian Warbler-1 female
Black-throated Green Warbler-1 heard
Blackpoll Warbler-3+ heard
American Redstart-2
Common Yellowthroat-3
Northern Cardinal-3
Chipping Sparrow-1
Song Sparrow-6
Swamp Sparrow-2
Baltimore Oriole-2 to 4
Red-winged Blackbird-15+
Common Grackle-8
Brown-headed Cowbird-2
American Goldfinch-10+

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