Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rainy Days and Wednesday Warblers

Nine of the worst bird pictures you will see this spring! Can you ID them?

I am sitting here watching the rain hit the window for the 5th day in a row in an already sopping spring season. Mid-May is the peak of spring migration in southern Ontario and the best time to look for warblers. I tried a little birding in the pouring rain on Saturday while my husband sat in his vehicle. There were lots of birds around but with water on my glasses and binocular lenses I soon quit my search.
Rattray Marsh, Mississauga ON
 On Monday I took my brother to the airport in Toronto (in the pouring rain) and then drove to Rattray Marsh which is along the shore of Lake Ontario in Mississauga. Experienced bird watchers reported seeing 23 species of warblers there the previous day. I cannot even identify half that number with any confidence. I got out of my car and walked a few metres into the trail and was surrounded by warblers of all kinds at eye level. Apparently the wind, rain and fog has forced them down from the treetops in search of food.

Chestnut-sided Warbler
The dull drizzly day was brightened by many colourful, singing warblers, many of them life birds for me. My camera was ready but there was not enough light to get pictures of rapidly moving targets. I finally gave up and just enjoyed the walk with my binoculars.

American Redstart- one of the more photogenic warblers
Closer to home, the local park where I am doing a seasonal bird count is also alive with eye level warblers. I counted seven species yesterday on a stop after work. Rick, the head bander at Ruthven Park wrote in his blog yesterday that the persistent rain and cool temperatures are hurting early nesting birds like Tree Swallows and Bluebirds. There are not enough insects around because of the weather, especially for swallows. And it is forcing other migrating birds to ground level for food.

The long weekend is coming up and I do hope for better weather, not just for me, but for farmers and vacationers. Local sports parks are closed because fields are too wet for baseball and soccer. Everyone would like some sun, especially the birds. I will even wish for a big hatch of flying insects (preferably not mosquitoes) for them.

1. Magnolia Warbler 2. Bay-breasted Warbler 3. Chestnut-sided Warbler 4. Black and White Warbler 5. Yellow Warbler 6. Magnolia Warbler 7. Cedar Waxwings 8. Northern Parula 9. Male and female Blackburnian Warblers (only I know where they are!)


  1. Bird pictures aren't easy, and you have many great ones. I won't try identifying. I sort of wish I could though.

  2. The rains have stopped here,temporarily,but the birds are few in number.I like the collage of birds.

  3. You see amazing variety, and you have some lovely photos. Wish I could identify the ones I see as easily as you do.

  4. What a bunch of fantastic finds!! I was reading on the bird forum how there are numerous amounts of warbler to be seen. These rainy days have kept our birding to a minimal, but has brought luck in finding the warbler species. Great post!

  5. The rain certainly has put a damper on things. I have been camping twice - once at the Pinery and the other at Rondeau. It rained both times. Did see some nice birds, but camping in the rain is a pain.

  6. Rain has been the story on the east coast this week and even in the south. We took a week long road trip to NC and managed to escape eally heavy and consistent downpours. Enjoyed the bird pics.


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