by Greg Zbitnew, photo of Northern Parula by Sandra Dashney

On 11 May, 17 enthusiasts enjoyed a trip to the east end’s little known gem, the woods and fields east of the Rockcliffe Airport.

Conditions and results were excellent for mid-migration, just prior to the peak. Quite a few birds had just arrived – literally over night. It was a little cool, but there was quite a bit of sun and the winds were moderate. There were no biting insects, and the foliage was really starting to show the many shades of green and red that spring is renowned for.

As promised, we saw a little bit of everything, from WATERFOWL to WARBLERS and everything in-between. The group tally of species seen was 54, excellent considering that song volume was on the low side of normal. Some of the totals were WOODPECKERS (4), FLYCATCHERS (3), CORVIDS (3), THRUSHES (2), SPARROWS (6), ICTERIDS (5), and WARBLERS (8).  Some highlights included:

  • A male SCARLET TANAGER giving close views in brilliant sunshine
  • A male BOBOLINK that made an appearance just after someone mentioned that this would be a lifer for her.
  • 2 male BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS displaying to a female.
  • Multiple male AMERICAN REDSTARTS flashing orange-red patches to anyone interested.
  • Several HOUSE WRENS singing almost non-stop.

We saw nothing particularly rare, although 4 AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS were noticeably late, as many have been this spring.

This area was unknown to many of the participants, and a few plan to make future trips. Summer is not bad, but spring and fall are the best times to visit this area, which is not heavily birded.

Good birding to all!