A walk in the woods

After a few too many days of weather related malaise, a shift saw our autumn warbler migration really kick-off. Naturally St-Lazare sand pits was my venue although I spent the majority of my time in the small woodlot by the Football pitches. The warblers were everywhere and I followed them for a couple of hours as they slowly cleaned the trees of bugs.

It was the best warbler passage there that I’ve ever seen at the pits and unusually the birds were in no hurry. The woodlot is small and there are several new trails that appear to have been cut by whoever thinks they can frighten people away with ‘privee’ and ‘gard le chien’ signs. I hope to meet him sometime to find out what he’s up to on public land. Personally I think the trails are a great improvement, especially one that goes to a small pool that will attract drinkers.

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Ignore this!

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Bay-Breasted Warbler – 16 present at least.

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Tennessee Warbler, good numbers too but they rarely rest.

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Black-throated Green Warbler, lots around and the tamest of them all.

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Black-throated Blue Warbler is always a treat, especially the males.

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Black-and-White Warbler – bah humbug.

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Magnolia Warbler.

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Three species of vireo present including this Warbling Vireo. I have yet to find a Blue-headed Vireo there so far this year.

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Ovenbirds were doing their light peck calls everywhere.

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Only one Chestnut-sided Warbler.

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I came across this moulting male Scarlet Tanager, messy.

My vireo/warbler list was Red-eyed Vireo; Philadelphia Vireo; Warbling Vireo; Tennessee Warbler; Nashville Warbler; Chestnut-sided Warbler; Magnolia Warbler; Cape May Warbler; Black-throated Blue Warbler; Blackburnian Warbler; Yellow-rumped Warbler; Black-throated Green Warbler; Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler; Black-and-White Warbler; American Redstart; Ovenbird; Wilson’s Warbler. I’m still missing a Northern Parula for my pits year list but it should come soon.

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Down on the pits the American Bittern (not a warbler) finally stopped panicking.

I tallied 57 species for the morning, someway short of my day record of 78, but quite respectable given that ducks have yet to really get moving and shorebirds are still poorly represented, despite their being suitable habitat as the water levels drop.

September arrives on Monday and, although it may only be a calendar date, it often sees a kick-on for migration, especially visible migration, a feature that has been lacking with our recent clear skies and static high pressure systems. Unless I can get Sandra to go down the St-Lawrence chasing jaegers and shorebirds, it looks like I’ll end August on 158 species for the month, my second best count since I’ve lived in Canada (yes I keep by month stats).

For new visitors, or those that have been prevaricating, my first birding eBook ‘Going for Broke’ is available at $2.99, follow the link on the side bar (click on the cover). I’m trying very hard to get my second book out before the end of the month. It will be near double the size of the first and deal with my twitching in the UK between 1982 – 2003. It is written in my usual irreverent style and illustrated by Sandra. Obviously there will be a blog post announcing it when done.

Incidentally, the blog post title is taken from Bill Bryson’s excellent book of the same name. If you’ve never read any Bill Bryson, you are missing out on some superb, observational writing and no, it is not about birds.


2 thoughts on “A walk in the woods

  1. Great series of warbler photos! I like the light on the first Chestnut-sided Warbler image. I can’t decide if that or the one of the Black-throated Blue Warbler is my favourite! We have parulas here in Ottawa, but I haven’t seen any Blue-headed Vireos yet this fall, either.

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