More migration

The day started well with a Philadelphia Vireo in the front garden. We don’t get many, that is perhaps the fourth in eleven years and so very welcome it was too. That makes 64 for the year this year so far, so room for improvement. Inspired by this sign I went to St-Lazare sand pits and did the little wood first, finding, you’ve guessed it, a Philadelphia Vireo, hurrah for a pits year bird.

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In the pits proper there were more shorebirds than yesterday and considerably less rain. The best shorebird was a moulting adult Stilt Sandpiper. It was a bit distant and the flock spooked despite me pretending to be a well-fed reed.

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Three of the four Great Egrets that arrived last week remain, this bird almost landed on the aforementioned Stilt Sandpiper.

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I spent some time trying to photograph flying Tree Swallows badly, I think I succeeded!

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One of the Caspian Terns was around but I won’t bore you with the shots. Instead here is an Immature Ring-billed Gull, not too many young gulls this year so far.

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This shot is of a dodgy Green Heron. I don’t mean that it was involved in anything illegal or anything like that, just a crabby shot.

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There was a few warblers around too: Bay-breasted, Yellow-rumped, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green and Blackpoll. I expect more to follow soon.

Now a little grumble: Am I alone in feeling a little peeved that apps like Merlin from Cornell are dumbing down birding so much to the point where any half-wit will be able point their phone or whatever at a bird and will be told what it is? Put it on a plate and they will eat it, but then they only end up fat with facts and starved of experience. If the app goes to the point where it can ID any bird anywhere, and then the user sends the record to eBird and it’s a gross rarity, will eBird review the record or be honour bound to accept it on the basis that their app was responsible for the identification? I see troubled waters ahead.

Finally – not a bird but a Monarch. I fear for these, I’ve barely seen one this year and it’s clear that they are struggling, it’s only five years ago that I used to count lots of them on migration as they went past. If we lose the Monarch then it will be as big a nail in our species’ coffin as we have ever seen. In the scheme of things I think that your average Joe or Jane might be momentarily concerned about the loss of a species, but it’s no more than a passing emotion. Very sad.

More reading can be found at the links.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/29/the-monarch-butterfly-population-just-hit-a-record-low-heres-why/

http://www.citylab.com/weather/2013/08/tracking-years-dismally-small-monarch-migration/6495/

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