Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

A Grey and Wet Finale to our Early Morning Birding

A report of the Apr 25, 2018 Early Morning Birding walk, by Tim Pullen 

It was a lowering grey sky that covered us as we gathered at the Carleton Place Arena for our final Early Morning Bird Walk of the season. Thirteen hardy souls gathered together with happy smiles and pleasant chatter as we shook ourselves out into a parade to walk along the Mississippi Riverwalk Trail.

The slow drizzle didn’t dampen our spirits, but it also did not help extend our list of birds. This was really the first April shower day of the year, and the late spring has meant many of our expected birds were missing.

photo by M. Gauthier

The group was lucky to see one of the earliest female red-winged blackbirds amongst the many busy and noisy males who were starting to stake out territories for the coming season.

We also saw several yellow-rumped warblers flitting through the very tops of the trees over the boardwalk, giving us all a chance to practice our ‘warbler neck’ exercises in preparation for the coming invasion. The bird of the morning was a rusty blackbird. He still had some rusty edges to his feathers, but quickly moved across the swamp and into the trees at the edge of the river. He was a first for this location, but hopefully not the last.

The regular denizens of the forest and open fields were present, robins, nuthatches, chickadees, as well as a few remaining water birds. A pair of swallows, one tree and one barn, gave us a beautiful example of the difference between these two, with the long swallowtail of the barn swallow clearly marking the difference.

A song sparrow photographed on the same trail last year. Many song sparrows were also recorded this year, in addition to the sightings of one barn swallow and one tree swallow. photo by M. Gauthier

 

The drizzle never really stopped, but we did manage to record 26 different species, and when you look at the list you will see the mix of birds that make this such a good location for birding, with the different habitats all nicely joined by a good trail. It was a wet walk but enjoyed by all.

 

Following is a list of birds recorded during our outing:

 

Canada Goose  2

Mallard  3

Bufflehead  10

Common Goldeneye  10

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4

Mourning Dove  6

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  4

Downy Woodpecker  1

Hairy Woodpecker  1

Northern Flicker  2

Blue Jay  5

American Crow  4

Tree Swallow  1

Barn Swallow  1

Black-capped Chickadee  8

White-breasted Nuthatch  3

American Robin  12

European Starling  19

Yellow-rumped Warbler  5

Dark-eyed Junco  2

Song Sparrow  17

Northern Cardinal  9

Red-winged Blackbird  28

Rusty Blackbird  1

Common Grackle  17

American Goldfinch  8

Thank you to all who participated in our Early Morning Birding in 2018! Records of birds observed during these and other MVFN outings are submitted to e-bird by the MVFN Birding Committee.

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