This morning J and I were on duty to top up the bird feeders at the MBO banding station. Bitterly cold (-20C or thereabouts) with a clear, blue skies.
Snowshoeing into the site we were loudly scolded by Blue Jays and the Chickadee sentinels came to hurry us along our way.
Having filled the feeders we stepped back to watch the birds come and feed when J looked across to a nearby dense shrub and was astonished – and I do mean, astonished – to see two male Red-winged Blackbirds skulking within it. RWBLs are the local harbingers of spring but are absolutely not supposed to be this far north until early March. Pierre Bannon’s website that records the earliest arrival dates for birds in the Montreal area (http://pages.infinit.net/pbannon/datemoyennearrive.htm) reports 26 February for the earliest sightings with 3 March as the mean return date … so heaven alone knows what these two are doing here. Hopefully they will find enough shelter from the cold and they are certainly well placed for food!
On checking, it transpires that one was also seen in late December so the chances are that these two birds never left the area – very hardy fellows anyway and they certainly deserve the prime breeding territory when spring does come at last.
So, I added two more birds to my year list – House Finch and Red-winged Blackbird, giving a patchwork points total of 22 and a Bigby list total also of 22. Species for the day were Northern Cardinal, Euro-Starling, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, BC Chickadees, Blue Jay, American Crow, Dark-eyed Junco
House Finch, Red-winged Blackbird