Birding by Ear – Part VII !
by Pierre Geoffray, 16 May 2017.
Fifteen of us met at the Italian Hall for “Birding by Ear”. The weather decided to give us a break and we enjoyed the dry and cloudy spell (the best we can wish for this year!) as we toured the Wildwood Bluffs.
Right around the Italian Hall, we had some good views of our first Black-headed Grosbeak, singing for us in the open at the tip of an alder tree. Also there, a Yellow Warbler and a pair of Western Tanagers, all freshly arrived from their long migration, showed very well.
This year has been particularly quiet, with birds being shy and not very vocal. The cold temperatures surely have something to do with it. In a way it made it easier for us as it helped us focus on the fewer songs we heard. The warblers especially can be confusing when they are all singing together! So we unravelled them, mostly one at a time:
“Sweet, sweet, I’m so so sweet” (Yellow),
“CHI chi chi chichiCHI!” (Wilson’s),
“CHICHICHI chachacha” (MacGillivray’s), and the new mnemonic found I think by Lois,
“Chim, chim chim CHIMNEY!” (Black-throated Gray Warbler)…
The vireos were very present yesterday. We heard many Warbling, a rapid series of notes with the last two going up, encountered a cooperative pair of Hutton’s and heard the sluggish call and response song of a Cassin’s Vireo on the bluffs: ” Where are U? Here I am”, with that slurry Mexican accent that makes it roll the R’s, remember?
We walked along the bluff trail, so beautiful at this season with all the flowers blooming. There we had a different set of birds: Hammond’s and Pacific-slope Flycatchers… We heard an Oregon Junco singing, an uncommon breeder here, a musical trill very similar to the “dropping” trill of the Orange-crowned Warblers we had heard earlier in the second growth.
While admiring the view from the bluffs over the Straight, an Osprey flew by, another not so common bird for PR north. All in all we had 31 species.
It was a very fun walk, thanks to all participants for their enthusiastic and focused attitude.
Good Birding all! And don’t forget to use those Binoculars when they dangle around your neck!
Note: Pierre also supplied his Ebird list for the day, and encouraged us to take advantage of that extraordinary internet birding resource: