May 23rd – The Wheel Is Coming Off

Thanks to Darren O’Neil

When I was a kid, our family would make a yearly hike along the railway tracks from west Hamilton to Dundas. Every now and again we’d have to “get out of the way!” as a train approached. What a feeling as this oh so powerful machine rushed by within a few meters of us and then….the wind and silence as it disappeared around the bend. This is what today felt like: The train, that was the massive movement of migrants heading north, has rushed by leaving the relative silence as it recedes into the distance.

We had such a lousy Spring – cold, wet, windy. It held up the migration. But as soon as the conditions became favourable the birds, feeling the need to get going (they were late!), blew by in a matter of a few days. Whew! I can only imagine the mass of migrants that flew over each night while I slept; it must have been awesome. But now, things are winding down. We weren’t nearly so busy today as we were yesterday or, even more so, the few days before that. Oh, we’ll still be getting migrants for the next 2 weeks or so but not nearly in the numbers that just went through.

May 22nd; Banded 65:
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Least Flycatcher

Easy to miss if it’s not calling: Least Flycatcher. -AG

1 House Wren
11 Gray Catbirds
9 European Starlings (nestlings in 2 nest boxes)
3 Blue-winged Warblers

We have a significant breeding population of Blue-winged Warblers at Ruthven. (This is a male.) -DO

5 Tennessee Warblers

Tennessee Warbler. -ELO

8 Yellow Warblers
1 Canada Warbler

Female Canada Warbler. -ELO

1 Northern Waterthrush

Northern Waterthrush. -DO

1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1 Indigo Bunting
1 Chipping Sparrow
2 Song Sparrows
1 Swamp Sparrow
13 Baltimore Orioles
1 Orchard Oriole

Lovely shot of an older Orchard Oriole. -KMP

3 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 57 spp.

May 23rd: Banded 32:
1 Least Flycatcher
2 House Wrens
1 Swainson’s Thrush
3 Gray Catbirds
1 Warbling Vireo
1 Yellow-throated Vireo
2 Blue-winged Warblers
2 Tennessee Warblers
4 Nashville Warblers
3 Yellow Warblers
1 Ovenbird
1 Common Yellowthroat
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
5 Indigo Buntings

SY male Indigo Bunting. -FAS

3 Song Sparrows
1 Baltimore Oriole

ET’s: 64 spp.

The second half of May is a good time to be looking for shorebirds. This is a Short-billed Dowitcher. -CB

One of my favourite shorebirds: Whimbrel. -CB

What a stern look! Great Horned Owl. CB

Size of a crow: Pileated Woodpecker. -AG

Male Blackburnian Warbler. -AG

Male (black eyebrow) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. -AG

A fairly late migrant at Ruthven: Wilson’s Warbler. -AG

Male Chestnut-sided Warbler. -CB

Tree Swallow eggs. -ELO

European Starling eggs. -ELO

Eastern Bluebird eggs. -ELO

The male Killdeer has been attending the female more these last few days – the eggs are about ready to hatch! -ELO

Baby chickadees – “the size of a thumb nail”. -KMP

You try drinking a martini upside down on a pole…… I guess the more you have the easier it gets. -KMP

Steve Irwin…..I mean…. Liam Thorne with a young Anaconda, er, Garter Snake. -JET

Male Canada Warbler. -HV

Male Black-throated Blue Warbler. -HV

Boy in the fog. -FAS


2 thoughts on “May 23rd – The Wheel Is Coming Off

  1. The upside down martini! There’s a new drink for 2020 ?.
    We saw 2 Pileated woodpeckers in Ancaster about a week ago! So exciting!

  2. Thank you all the time, every day for all the great stuff you share in your blog!
    So informative & exciting!
    Thank you!
    Thank you!
    Thank you!

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