Rainy Day Birding

The following weekend it rained. Still, it was the second weekend in May and I only had one more weekend in Ottawa before my trip to the Bruce Peninsula, so I didn’t want to squander any free time on these last two weekends. I headed out to Mud Lake, still hoping to catch up with a number of migrants reported there. Fortunately only a light misty rain was falling, which was fine for me (no umbrella needed!) and the birds (which were quite active) but not so great for photography.

I walked along Cassels Street, hearing the loud, distinctive three-part song of a Tennessee Warbler. I couldn’t find the Tennessee among the quickly developing leaves, but came up with a Cape May Warbler and a couple of Baltimore Orioles instead! In the shrubs behind the parking area I found a number of White-crowned Sparrows, the first ones I had seen since the one in my neighbour’s backyard on May 8th. Warbling Vireos were singing from a number of trees, and Yellow Warblers had taken over the Ridge.


On the Ridge I found my first Cedar Waxwings (a pair) of the year, and my first Ruby-throated Hummingbird. I counted ten different warbler species, including Tennessee Warbler (which I heard a number of times but wasn’t able to see!), Nashville Warbler, a Magnolia foraging at about eye level, Black-throated Green Warbler, Palm Warbler, American Redstart, and a pair of stunning male Blackburnian Warblers.

Blackburnian Warbler

Other birds on the Ridge included Gray Catbird and a trio of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and I caught a glimpse of a male Common Merganser flying along the Ottawa River in the channel between the Ridge and the island.

I took a walk down to the edge of the lake after discovering a number of short trails leading from the filtration plant lawns through the shrubbery. I saw one Black-crowned Night-heron eating a fish at the water’s edge, and three more flying over or sitting on the far shore. At another opening onto the lake I startled a Spotted Sandpiper which quickly flew off and came upon a Northern Waterthrush making its way through the dense vegetation along the water’s edge! This was one of the best birds of the day, as it’s one I don’t see every year. Further out in the lake, a pair of Common Terns sat squawking at each other on a rock.

Finally, I saw a Blue-headed Vireo in the trail leading to the open sumac field west of the lake and a male Common Yellowthroat foraging on the ground with a couple of White-throated Sparrows on the Ridge….another species which I don’t usually see at Mud Lake.

Despite the light, intermittent rain it was a great morning with a total of 44 species seen. When the rain grew heavier I decided to leave, pleased with the day’s tally and the 12 species of warbler observed.

SPECIES SEEN

  • Canada Goose
  • Mallard
  • Common Merganser
  • Pied-billed Grebe
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Common Tern
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Northern Flicker
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Blue Jay
  • American Crow
  • Common Raven
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • American Robin
  • Gray Catbird
  • European Starling
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Tennessee Warbler
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Magnolia Warbler
  • Cape May Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler
  • Blackburnian Warbler
  • Palm Warbler
  • American Redstart
  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Common Yellowthroat
  • Song Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Common Grackle
  • Baltimore Oriole
  • House Finch
  • American Goldfinch
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