I had a great outing at Hurdman Park last Wednesday. I didn’t take many photographs, but I saw almost 30 species, many of which were migrants just passing through, and many others which would be gone by the time the snow flies.
In the woods along the feeder trail I encountered my first pocket of warblers. At least two Nashville Warblers and a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers were foraging in the trees overhead, and I spotted an Ovenbird foraging beneath a couple of shrubs close to the ground. A couple of Red-eyed Vireos were with them, and close by I heard a Warbling Vireo singing as well.
Further along the path I encountered a pair of cardinals, a flock of Cedar Waxwings and a small group of chickadees. I thought that might be all the migrants I’d see on my walk, until a little later when I encountered more Yellow-rumped Warblers, two Gray Catbirds, a Downy Woodpecker, a Common Grackle and a White-throated Sparrow in the same area. Sparrows migrate later than warblers, so it was a bit of a surprise to see one this early.
Near the river I found a Song Sparrow, a few more Gray Catbirds, and another group of migrants. This time I saw a couple of American Redstarts and a Blackpoll Warbler, but the real treat were the two flycatchers with them. A phoebe landed on a branch close to me, flicking its tail, and then disappeared. Much higher up an Eastern Wood-pewee was flitting about in a dead tree. Although he wasn’t singing, the plain face, peaked head, and buffy wing-bars confirmed its identity. This was the first time I’d seen either of these flycatchers at Hurdman before.
At the river, the two black swans were feeding close to the shore.
A couple of mallards, three Double-crested Cormorants, a Great Blue Heron, and a single Hooded Merganser were swimming on the Rideau as well.
I didn’t see any damselflies this time, nor any Common Green Darners patrolling the riverbank. The dragonfly season is almost over, a fact which makes me dread the inevitable change of seasons. However, it was still quite warm for mid-September, and three Autumn Meadowhawks were perching on a sunny rock near the water’s edge. I saw a couple of Eastern Tailed Blues as well, a species which should be around until the first week of October.
It was good to be outdoors on such a beautiful day and to see so many neat birds. I am lucky to have a place so close to work which draws so many different migrating species in the spring and in the fall. One day, perhaps in the winter when the birding season quiets down, I’ll have time to put together a list and count just how many species I have seen at Hurdman over the past few years.