Thursday, May 17, 2018

On an island in the sun

In the land of the drowned forest
The boardwalk was 'thrilling' to traverse at times
Wait...hold that...never mind, another Yellow-rumped...
'Dees in the woods
'Dees on the water
Montreal on the horizon

Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia
Canada Warbler Cardellina canadensis
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla with nesting materials
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula with nesting materials
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
Gray Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
Great Crested Flycatcher Myiarchus crinitus
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
Marsh Wren Cistothorus palustris
Marsh Wren singing

Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
American Mink Neovison vison a'leapin'
Common Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis
Common Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis
Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina - a tiny hatchling, slightly larger
than a toonie, it was possibly close to death - torpid, eyes not opening...
  A scrumptious fresh and sunny day on one of my favourite birding spots, the ‘island-of-all-habitats.’ When I look at the perfect blue skies and guzzle the fresh, clean air, I don’t take it for granted. My friends still in Korea relate tales of routine horrifyingly polluted air over the peninsula. It seems that even in the short time I’ve been away, the air has gotten markedly worse, largely due to a double-digit increase in the number of coal power plants in the past couple of years. I feel your pain.
  A super birdy day at D’youville, with bird activity on every plane of sight we chose to look at (76 species on the day). There were clouds of Tree Swallows over the Grande Digue, and when we stared into the sun, smaller squadrons of varied hirundines were discernible wheeling above. It was a solid refresher course on this fast-moving family of birds.
  I got a short video of the Marsh Wren that ended up being off-kilter. In my defence, the video function on my camera is brutally tricky to use (can’t look through the viewfinder in video mode, only the display screen, which is not an easy task in the noon sun), and the damn thing is heavy, too. Can’t wait for it to break so I can pick up one of these spiffy new bridge cameras that weigh as much as a wee kinglet. Everyone has ‘em these days. On that note...
  I’m afraid it’s high-horse time. There was a phalanx of photographers lined up in a scrubby area, all keyed up about a ‘rare’ Canada Warbler. Bird photography is a lovely pastime, but perhaps these fancy cameras should include a "10 Basic Birding Tips" pamphlet in their packaging. Or better yet, folks could pick up a cheap pair of binoculars to go with their pricey cameras, and practice the skill of making a bird appear in the eyepieces. A modicum of basic birding skills would go a long way towards preventing the shenanigans that play out at these twitch-scrums.

  The majority of the photogs jostling for a shot had no binoculars, and kept getting hoodwinked by Yellow-rumped Warblers that swooped through their lines of sight. The Canada Warbler merrily hopped its way to a clean escape several times while folks stared at the bushes scratching their heads, waiting for someone to put them back onto the bird. I’m not trying to rag on kindred bird-loving folks with a rewarding hobby, but buy some damn binos already. Decent Bushnells are less than 100$ at Canadian Tire. Rant over.

Reserve Faunique Marguerite-D’Youville, Île Sainte-Bernard, Châteauguay, May 16, 2018
Common Loon-1 off Pointe Nord
Pied-billed Grebe-1 heard
Double-crested Cormorant-4
Great Blue Heron-2
Great Egret-2
Canada Goose-8, including a pair with goslings
Wood Duck-1
Red-breasted Merganser-4
Turkey Vulture-2
Broad-winged Hawk-(1 from the road nearby)
American Kestrel-(1 from the road nearby)
Solitary Sandpiper-1
Spotted Sandpiper-2
Ring-billed Gull-5

Herring Gull-1
Black Tern-27 in a flock over Grande Digue
Common Tern-2 off Pointe Nord
Rock Dove-2
Mourning Dove-1 heard
Chimney Swift-6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker-1 heard
Downy Woodpecker-4
Hairy Woodpecker-3
Northern Flicker-2
Pileated Woodpecker-1
Least Flycatcher-1 with a confusing amount of yellow wash
Great Crested Flycatcher-3
Eastern Kingbird-3
Warbling Vireo-8
Red-eyed Vireo-2
Blue Jay-2
American Crow-3
Common Raven-2
Cliff Swallow-8
Bank Swallow-3

Barn Swallow-1
Tree Swallow-35+
Purple Martin-4
Black-capped Chickadee-12+
Brown Creeper-2
Tufted Titmouse-4 along the western edge of the island
White-breasted Nuthatch-7
Marsh Wren-2 near Pont Soeur Thérèse-Despins
House Wren-2
Winter Wren-2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet-4
Eastern Bluebird-3
American Robin-14
Gray Catbird-5
European Starling-9
Yellow Warbler-35+ singing everywhere
Chestnut-sided Warbler-1
Magnolia Warbler-1
Cape May Warbler-4
Black-throated Blue Warbler-2
Yellow-rumped Warbler-45+
Blackpoll Warbler-1 at Pointe nord
Bay-breasted Warbler-1
Black-and-white Warbler-1
American Redstart-7
Common Yellowthroat-2
Canada Warbler-2

Wilson's Warbler-1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak-3
Northern Cardinal-4
Savannah Sparrow-1 near the entrance
Song Sparrow-16
Swamp Sparrow-1 
near Pont Soeur Thérèse-Despins
White-crowned Sparrow-1 near the entrance
White-throated Sparrow-2
Baltimore Oriole-6
Red-winged Blackbird-35+
Common Grackle-12+
Brown-headed Cowbird-6
American Goldfinch-7
Purple Finch-2

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