Number of species for my patch this year is now 98 … so close, but still work to do.
This morning, I helped Chris lead a birding walk in the arboretum during which 9 species were added to the patch list for the year. Yesterday afternoon and overnight was very, very wet indeed and the rain, if not exactly of biblical proportions did add quite a few centimetres of water to ground that was already saturated and so quite unable to accept any more at all with the result that the going was pretty marshy. The leaves are opening out fully this past day or two and while not a complete leaf canopy yet we are pretty close, thus making seeing birds quite hard at times. Fortunately they were shouting their little feathered heads off.
After all that rain the air was saturated and not very warm and the sky very overcast – though we did see a glimmer of blue sky around 11:30 when we packed in for the day. We have had 60 or 70 species on this walk in the past but given the weather were pleased to have clocked 42 species by close of play today.
Almost the first bird before even leaving the conservation centre was an Indigo Bunting (#90) grubbing around on the ground alongside the Chipping Sparrows. That’s quite unusual, usually they are sitting up in trees declaring their territorial rights. Fifty metres down the trail we were treated to a harsh metallic hammering and found a maleYellow-bellied Sapsucker beating seven bells out of a species identification lable on a specimen tree while the female sat up in a nearby tree saying “yeah, so what? Think I’m impressed”. We checked the Great Horned Owl nest as we passed. She was eyeing us grumpily and rather damply from her high vantage point. Her feathers looked decidedly out of sorts in the wet – can’t imagine what it must have been like to have to sit up there under lat night’s rainfall.
Proceeding via the quarry and Blossom Corner we made it to the southern farm field where four male (at least) Bobolinks were quartering the grass far away form the entrance and using the solitary tree as an observation post. A wise move as some unmitigated idiot let his/her uncontrolled dogs loose in the field. Barking and making a damned nuisance of themselves, though fortunately not chasing after any birds. I really do not understand why people cannot keep their dogs on a leash at all times or even come to that, why they have to bring them into the arboretum at all. I know the dogs bring needed revenue to the place but the price we all pay for their presence is not worth it in my humble opinion. I really, really like the arboretum and all the people who work there but if there was one thing I would change it would be to ban dogs outright. They aren’t allowed into most public parks and certainly not into national and provincial parks so why the arboretum? If people feel that they need to run their dogs then take them to a dog park or use your garden. In public they should always be leashed and if they must come into the arbo then certainly they should always be leashed there. I would note that the arbo is within the Senneville federal migratory bird sanctuary and if you look up the laws governing MBSs on-line you will see that anything that disturbs birds during migration and nesting periods is illegal (albeit almost never enforced). End of rant.
Down then past the larches to the bobolink-less Bobolink Field, into Pullen’s Pasture and back via Chalet Pruche and some exceptional muddy and water filled trails. The run-off at one point (see photograph) was such that is was forming a waterfall around the base of a large tree.
And so, we have mentioned the Indigo Bunting previously, other new FOY birds recorded today were Red-eyed Vireo, Black-and-white Warbler, Tennessee Warbler (heard), Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and a glowingly orange Baltimore Oriole singing its heart out.
Ninety-eight patch species – which will be numbers 99 and 100? I have the Baillie Birdathon to do on Tuesday so let’s hope that will bring the missing couple into pubic view.
Pictures, pictures … here we are. not as many as I would have liked as I was supposed to be helping peopl in the group see birds for themselves, but some nice ones for all that. I need to spend some time later stalking closer to thr Bobolinks – these pictures were digiscoped at pretty extreme range.