10 October 2009

TOC Bird Walk–Toronto Islands Late Migrants

The forecast for today a week ago was, in effect, cold rain and lots of it, side of wind, optional gloom. By the time today actually rolled around, it was a gorgeous fall day; high of 11 C, and mostly clear and sunny. Since this came after a week of rain and otherwise adverse-for-migration conditions, there were a lot of birds to see, in terms of both numbers and species.

Kevin Seymour ably led the walk. Highlights include the airport fence, where the snipe, kestrels, one of the northern harriers, rusty blackbirds, and a plethora of thrushes, phoebes, and catbirds simply presented themselves for viewing, and the lunch stop that included not only passing raptors but interacting ones—a sharp-shinned hawk and a cooper's hawk had words, and another cooper's hawk made a try for a blue jay. The commentary from the blue jay flock was not polite.

In total, I saw 51 species of birds:

American crow
American robin (high flocks!)
black-throated blue warbler
blue jay (group count abandoned when it passed 200...)
brown creeper
Canada goose (group count abandoned when it passed 200...)
canvasback duck
cooper's hawk (at least 3! one trying to eat a blue jay!)
dark-eyed junco
double-crested cormorant
downy woodpecker
gold-crowned kinglet (clouds of kinglets)
great blue heron (2! one immature with an upper bill the blue of hammered iron just out of the fire)
great horned owl (only 1, but it was a complete-with-yikes! experience)
hermit thrush
herring gull
house sparrow
mallard duck
mute swan
norther flicker (yellow shafted)
northern harrier (five!)
palm warbler
peregrine falcon (three!)
phoebe (almost as many as there were kinglets)
red-breasted nuthatch
red-tailed hawk (only 2, but one was eating, from a very visible distance)
ring-billed gull
ring-necked duck
ruby-crowned kinglet (clouds of kinglets)
rusty blackbird (2! in plain sight!)
sharp-shinned hawk (more than six!)
snipe (sitting in a low damp spot in a mowed field, all by itself. Eventually left when members of the drifting-that-way Canada goose flock started trying to pull its tail feathers.)
song sparrow
Swainson's thrush
teal, probably blue-winged teal
turkey vulture (15+!)
warbling vireo
white-breasted nuthatch
white-crowned sparrow (1st winter white-crowned sparrow can have a very ruddy crown stripe...)
white-throated sparrow
wood duck
yellow-bellied sapsucker
yellow-rumped warbler

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