30 May 2006

Least Flycatcher

Briefly seen - a new (the 84th) species for our garden list. The pond and waterfall was the magnet that brouoght a Least Flycatcher onto the property this evening. Very nice.

28 May 2006

Marais Cooper

Sunny day, just regular garden birds so we went abroad to vist Marais Cooper just across the international border between Quebec and Ontario. This is a wonderful place on the shore of the St-Lawrence that is a cooperative venture between a local conservation society and Ducks Unlimited Canada. Always good at this time of the year - even if the birds are iffy it's a nice place to walk with plenty of frogs and insects to enjoy, but usually the birds are good.

The main boardwalk

Leopard Frog

Plenty of good birds this time including Kingbirds, Bobolink (where did thet strange name come from?), Redheads, Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Wilson's Snipe, Swamp Sparrows, Catbirds and a Least Flycatcher, the infamous Tchebec of BPQ fame.

Eastern Kingbird

Redheads fleeing the camera


The next generation of Canada Geese

Yellow Warbler

27 May 2006

All the "nice" birds

Not content with a freshly fledged crop of House Sparrows, reported a day or two ago, we now seem to be the nursery for juvenile Grackles and Euro-Starlings. This is getting embarrassing.

24 May 2006


Oh joy, oh rapture (Gilbert and Sullivan - look it up) mother House Sparrow took this years first crop of youngsters out for a trip this morning. You might not like them, but I find them the nicest birds on the planet - a garden without House Sparrows is not a real garden.

We can now relax and get on with the year.

22 May 2006

New garden "tick"

Frankly, we spent the wet weekend gardening rather than birding ...... but by doing so we added a new species to our garden list. The brief appearance during the cocktail hour of a Northern Parula takes the garden numbers to a nice 83 species (list below for those who find this sort of thing interesting). Yesterday we were serenaded by Baltimore Orioles and the three - minimum - RTHummers seem to be sticking around which is very unusual. Doubtless, once the weather clears they will all be on their way.

Anyway, the garden list is currently as follows (83 species) :

Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Northern Goshawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
American Kestrel
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl (treed by Crows in a torrential downpour)
Snowy Owl (very briefly one cold January morning)
Great Gray Owl (winter '05 ...... they were everywhere that year)
Common Nighthawk
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Bohemian Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing
Carolina Wren
Winter Wren
Brown Thrasher
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Blue Jay
American Crow
European Starling
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Pine Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Rusty Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
Common Redpoll
Hoary Redpoll
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

20 May 2006

Still raining

It hasn't stopped for a week - lots of damp feathers out there, almost too dispiriting to go out and see who. More news if the sun ever reappears ...........

19 May 2006

Hummer for breakfast .....

Along with everywhere else in the east it seems to have rained ceaselessly for the last week - the Red-winged Blackbirds, whom one thinks of as being a marshland species are all well at home in the marsh the garden is rapidly turning into and are scarfing down seeds from the peanut feeder tower in particular.

This morning at breakfast the light was blotted out by a Ruby-throated Hummingbird who had decided that he needed to come in and get dry ...... he skeetered across the glass of the (large) window for quite some time before realising he'd made a mistake. Quite strange.

Yesterday the Montreal Bird Observatory (5 minutes away) announced the best day yet for warbler arrivals and had around 70 species - not all warblers of course - for the day. If this rain ever stops we hope to get out and see some for ourselves over the long weekend. The mosquitoes will be glad to see us anyway.

16 May 2006

Resident (?) Grosbeak

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak that arrived at the weekend is still with us and seems to have brought some chums along to enjoy the seeds at our feeders ..... they particularly likes black sunflower from the dome-covered polycarbonate feeder - probably because it keeps the rain off, it has rained a lot in recent days and looks set to do the same for many more yet. It is quite unusual - usually we see one or two birds at this time of year as they flash through on the way north, we have never had them hanging around like this before.

Occasional Ruby-throated Hummers are visiting the sugar feeder.

14 May 2006

Two interesting birds and two interesting sites

This morning we paid a vist to nearby Ile Bizard nature park (33 species - more of this later), but while having the morning coffee we were delighted to see that the garden had been visited by a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks ..... the fist of which was this fellow:

..... but then his friend appeared, and as can be seen in the following image his colouration was most atypical. We assumed at first that this was a juvenile just coming into its adult colouration but if that were the case there should be distinct streaking on his flanks which this fellow does not have, similarly the white patchiness would not fit either. We have done some checking around and RBGRs do show variations in plumage colouration with red being exchanged for orange, but rarely quite so markedly so as this.

Also seen - and only mentioned here because we got some nice photos, were American Goldfinch and also Northern Cardinals ......

And so, after that excitement we betook ourselves to Ile Bizard where we tallied 33 species, including Sora Rail, Virginia Rail, Red-shouldered Hawk, Osprey, Hooded Merganser, Chimney Swift, Green and Great-blue Herons and a host of other goodies. The birds compensated for the grey skies, cold wind and drizzle - the coffee flask back at the car park helped also.

12 May 2006

Humming Along Nicely

Things are starting to move ....... within an hour of the hummingbird feeder being installed it was visited regularly by (the only hummer, other than four-wheeled monsters, we get up here) a number of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

The last week or so have seen regular incursions by small to large flocks of White-crowned Sparrows in their cycling helmets and White-throated Sparrows with their yellow spots and cheery calls. The Blue Jays have been very active after not visiting us for quite some time and Mr Northern Cardinal is busily feeding tit-bits of seed to Mrs. C - so soon we will have the pleasure of all the little baby Cs coming to the feeders. The House Sparrows have set up in one of our boxes ....... I know, we shouldn't encourage them but they are the nicest bird on the planet - have I said that before?

Two days ago Jean got a "soul satisfying look" at a Nashville Warbler that had paused for a short break in the garden pool and waterfall area. The first of many warblers we hope in the next few weeks.

White-crowned Sparrow in its cycling helmet

06 May 2006


Hardly time to raise our heads to look at the birds this week ..... it's that time of the year again and the dandelions are rearing their hateful heads all over the lawns. now that we are not permitted to use efficient means of removal its a hands and knees job trying to grub them all out before they set seed. Hate, hate, hate.

We have had a good number of White-headed Sparrows through in recent weeks and some nice White-crowned also. The bird observatory up the road is reporting the first yellow-rumped warblers so we have hoipes that they will drop in for a drink at the pond very shortly.