Birding in Our Woods – April 27

Cormorant display, May 1, 2015
This morning Anita was at the gym so I went out at around 8 AM on my own without my favourite spotter, but with my old, trusty Bushnell Birding Series 8X binoculars in case I spotted anything.

Heard the chipping sparrow’s machine-gun call as I stepped out the front door. It was in the large willow across the street from us. They had arrived in some numbers and I heard them throughout my one hour walk in Our Woods. The spectacular, dependably early, Myrtle warblers were out in force finding tiny insects invisible to me. Peewee commonly heard. Redwing blackbirds were abundant and the males plenty vocal as usual. Saw a couple of females, too. They cautiously don’t announce their presence. Saw the ruby-crowned a few times.

By the two blue benches near the small, well-maintained playground I walked down to the creek that runs SW through the park and flushed what I assumed was a great blue heron, which flew NW along the creek to escape me, probably to the lower “lake,” one of two “made” from the three old quarry pools when the old quarry became a housing development, though I didn’t see it again as I walked counterclockwise around both lakes. The Myrtles, also called yellow-rumped, were plentiful at the N end of the lower lake.

Out of duty I report a grackle in the wild, having already seen a couple, uninvited, at the sunflower seed feeder off our backyard deck. We like to assist the nuthatches, white and rose-breasted, chickadees, juncos, downy and hairy woodpeckers, cardinals and occasional blue-jays by shooing the gourmand blackbirds when we see them. Ah yes! Mustn’t forget the double-crested cormorants, seen today: 4 on the lower lake and 11 on the upper. We first noticed them in Our Woods in 2015.

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Birding Done For Now

Five of about thirty cormorants who rested in Our Woods
Five of about thirty cormorants who rested in Our Woods in April

Time to tidy up our spring birding. This year, for the first time, about 55 double-crested cormorants rested in the two little “lakes” near our house. First time I’ve ever seen cormorants in this neck of Our Woods. We took flight before they did – left May 2 on a tour of 6 major cities that were formerly behind the “iron curtain.” Came back – with my head spinning – to find a pair of these distinguished looking divers  still with us. They are apparently in numbers too great to be appreciated in the fine Ontario cottage country of Muskoka. And I finally got a decent photo of the yellow-rumped warbler before we flew away. We missed the peak of the  spring warbler migration, and saw only one species yesterday.  It was a female American redstart. Didn’t get a decent photo of it due to the lush May foliage. Saw two red-tailed hawks soaring high above us – a treat to see them enjoying 25 km air currents. Today the blue heron was still fishing, harassed by our plentiful red-winged blackbirds protecting their nests near the shore. So here are a few more photos before this blog moves on to the arts and architecture of Austria, Hungary, Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.