Monday 17 December 2012

Warbler insanity


As most readers are aware, the Ivory Gull is no longer being seen in Ottawa. It was found by Mike Runtz in the early afternoon and word got out to the birding community. It was seen all afternoon, last seen by Mike roosting out on the ice, seemingly for the night.

Unfortunately for observers searching the next morning, the bird failed to show up, making it another Ivory Gull that was a one-day wonder in Ontario. 

I was picking up Laura up at the airport the day it was found so obviously couldn't chase it, but if I had, I would have arrived after dark and missed it since it would have been a 5 hours drive for me. Makes me glad I didn't go! For some reason I have had a great deal of luck (or as I like to think - skill) in picking which birds to chase and which ones not to. It worked out again, this time.

Warning: It may make you green with jealousy, cause I certainly am! The kicker is the last photo, with Ben Di Labio AND the Ivory Gull in the frame. Ughh!!!!! lol


Rare (for winter) warblers and other neotropical migrants continue to be reported in some locations in Ontario. An Indigo Bunting and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher were found in Toronto on the CBC, a Cape May Warbler was at Turkey Point, and a variety of warblers have been found on various CBCs (Common Yellowthroat, Nashville, Orange-crowned, Pine, etc). Perhaps best of all was the new addition to Sedgewick Park in Oakville: the Blackpoll Warbler that David Bell and Jesse Pakkala found yesterday.

Laura and I happened to check it out yesterday to see if we could turn it up. As soon as we got out of the car though, the rain came pouring down. Half an hour later we hadn't seen the Blackpoll (though we had all the other warblers) so we left.

Today, I dropped Laura off to meet some friends in Hamilton and had the afternoon to do some birding. I decided to continue looking for rare warblers. I checked a bunch of spots in Burlington and Oakville, turning up Yellow-rumped Warblers in a couple locations, but nothing else of note. I eventually ended up at Sedgewick and began looking for the warblers.

not a warbler (Burlington, ON)

On my 3rd visit, I finally got a look at the Ruby-crowned Kinglets and even managed a photo of one. The yellow/green on the wings really stood out in the dull light! 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Sedgewick Park, Oakville

In short order I ended up seeing all the warblers that were present, except for the Blackpoll. I ended up staying for 2 hours, checking out all the warblers and kinglets over and over again. I checked over most of the park, thinking the Blackpoll may have moved, but no luck there. Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes! At least I managed crappy photos of all the other species there. I'll start with the crappiest photos, so that each subsequent photo is better and when you are done reading you have forgotten about the crappiest photos.

Nashville Warbler - Sedgewick Park, Oakville

Orange-crowned Warbler - Sedgewick Park, Oakville

Orange-crowned Warbler - Sedgewick Park, Oakville

All of the warblers and kinglets seem to be doing really well. There was a fresh hatch of midges today and the insects were all over the place, providing a feast for them. But that will only last so long, as the temperature will drop to -3 as a high by the weekend. That being said, that is 5 days from now, more than enough time for another warbler or two to pop in!

Yellow-rumped Warbler - Sedgewick Park, Oakville

Cape May Warbler - Sedgewick Park, Oakville

For those keeping score at home, the total for this tiny little park for the last week includes:

2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
2 Orange-crowned Warblers
1 Cape May Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
2 Yellow-rumped Warblers 
1 Hermit Thrush

Not bad for mid-December. 

I also happened to cross paths with a bright Pine Warbler in some tall pines in Village Wood Park, located just west of Bronte. It was high in the pines with a flock of Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Apparently Gavin Edmondstone had 3(!!!) in the area on the CBC. 

If I had seen the Blackpoll, and tried to pick up a Common Yellowthroat somewhere, it would have been a 7 warbler species afternoon!!

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