Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April Warblers

Over the past weekend, until today, southern Ontario has been experiencing some unseasonally warm temperatures coupled with southerly airflows. These conditions have produced some notable influxes of migrants, with many species appearing on earlier than average dates. Indeed, at Point Pelee there were 27 warbler species recorded yesterday! However, I have not been distracted by this bewilderment of diversity and instead have concentrated on recording (rather poorly I'm afraid) a typical array of more sombre 'April' warblers. Palm Warblers (above) are pretty nice though - and the second most abundant warbler at this time.

Pine Warbler. I usually only see them in ones or twos, but on Sunday morning I counted at least 10 at Confederation Park.

Notched my first Yellow Warbler of the spring on Sunday - and there were already 4 singing males in close proximity at that time...soon to be ubiquitous around wetland edges.

Yellow-rumped - the all-season warbler. These are recorded in pretty much every month of the year in southern Ontario. I saw a small flock back in mid March, but right now they are by far the most numerous component in the species mix.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hooded Warbler

Now we live down in the steamy Carolinian zone of southern Ontario, I was looking forward to some more regular encounters with Hooded Warblers, but I wasn't expecting one quite yet! We came across this little cracker at Confederation Park in Hamilton this morning. It gave a great performance, even giving some short bursts of song. The first significant arrival of warblers occurred only yesterday and the stormy weather overnight seems to have pinned many of them down until this morning. Other warblers were Yellow-rumped, Palms and Pines. Other stuff included a Brown Thrasher, an Eastern Towhee, lots of Chipping and many White-throated Sparrows. Bring it on.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Confederation Park

Okay, so things are looking up. It was a dour day in Hamilton, no mistake; cool, bit of a breeze and showers - very grey. So, naturally I used my impeccable sense of poor timing and headed out in search of migrants. I decided to take a stroll along Hamilton's most natural-looking strip of lakeshore, Confederation Park....and not surprisingly it yielded few migrants, however, given my lack of recent success, it did provide me with six new birds for the spring: Eastern Phoebe, Swamp Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Common Tern, Northern Rough-winged Swallow and Hermit Thrush. The fact that most of these have been knocking around for the past two weeks only goes to highlight my reluctance to bird in places which actually have birds.

The beach trail at Confederation Park

A rare encounter with a perched Turkey Vulture.

First Chipper of the spring.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow taking a breather.

Song Sparrow, because I couldn't get a picture of the Swamp Sparrow.


...and Mrs (Red-winged Blackbird)


...and Mrs (American Robin)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Increasing Difficulty of Bird Spotting

I suppose it's not so much the difficulty of spotting - I've seen a few nice birds recently, and the spring migrants are starting to appear. Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet today...but can I get any photos? Nope. So it's the same old dross, the easy stuff. Ring-billed Gulls strutting their stuff at La Salle Park.

This chap, in a small group of 8 Cedar Waxwings being buffeted by the wind.

No trouble with Turkey Vultures. Dundas is pretty much slap bang on the major flight path up from the US, via the Niagara Peninsula, which separates Lake Ontario from Lake Erie.

I feel spring is definitely happening once I've heard my first Savannah Sparrow. This was my fourth or fifth this week, despite the cool temperatures before the weekend.