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16 May 2011 @ 09:19 am
Mud Lake Migrants  
After a gorgeous, sunny Saturday the clouds and cool weather returned on Sunday. I decided to head out to Mud Lake anyway, as birders were reporting an increased number of warbler species and I was eager to see some new ones. I started the morning off with a walk at Sarsaparilla Trail where I found three Pied-billed Grebes and my first Great Crested Flycatchers (2) of the year. I also saw a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers and heard a Common Yellowthroat, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a couple of White-throated Sparrows singing. It was an excellent start to the day.



I walked into the Britannia Conservation area from Rowatt Street and headed into the woods. Right near the entrance I saw a small bird drop from a branch onto the ground and then begin foraging along the trail. I recognized it as a thrush, and when it turned to face me the rather plain breast identified it as a Veery. He hopped back up onto a branch and turned his back to me, where he sat for a good ten minutes. Eventually I had to walk past him, and he flew down to the ground where his search for insects carried him deeper into the woods.



Veery


There wasn't much activity in the woods so I headed up to the Ridge. Tree Swallows and Barn Swallows were swooping through the air above the lake and the Ridge, and there were warblers! Yellow Warblers were still singing on the Ridge, but they had been joined by tons of Yellow-rumped Warblers (a few of which were singing), a couple of Palm Warblers, a stunning Blackburnian Warbler, a Black-and-white Warbler, and a singing Black-throated Green Warbler in the trees between the Ridge and the filtration plant.



Black-and-White Warbler


The Black-and-white Warbler was surprisingly cooperative as it ambled along a tree branch looking for insect larvae. It paused every now and then, allowing me to get a couple of decent pictures of this species. The Blackburnian and Black-throated Green Warblers - both of which were year birds for me - were not as obliging.




Black-and-White Warbler


I also managed to photograph a Yellow-rumped Warbler which was perching quite low in a shrub. Although there is a branch in the way, I like this photo as it shows the male's distinctive yellow crown.



Yellow-rumped Warbler


Warbling Vireos, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Northern Flicker, a pair of Black-crowned Night-herons, several White-throated Sparrows, and a Pied-billed Grebe were also present. Numerous Canada Geese, too, were feeding on the lawn and swimming in the lake, and I was surprised that were no other species of waterfowl present except for the year-round Mallards.

On my way back to my car, I came across this robin stalking earthworms on the ground. I also heard a couple of Pine Warblers, bringing the total number of warbler species seen up to seven.



American Robin


Despite the damp, gloomy weather, it was great to be outdoors and see some new species.