Bruce Birding (Long Weekend)

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Spring migration typically peters out out by the time the May long weekend arrives, but it came early enough this year to coincide with the peak warbler push on the Bruce Peninsula.

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I spent my first afternoon hiking the side trail that runs above Mallory Beach. Whether from the time of day or the chilly temperatures, the warblers were keeping pretty quiet, and I had my work cut out for me tracking them down. Luckily one can always count on the chickadees to let you know where everyone’s at.

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Early the next morning I hit Bruce Caves. Still cold enough for numb hands, but at least the blackflies weren’t biting. I did a fair bit of bushwhacking to get a look at a singing Northern Parula (a bird that taunted me from the same location last year). Of course, once I found one, they kept popping up everywhere within easy view for the rest of the weekend. Tends to be the way it is with birding. Loads of Blackburnian Warblers kept me happy as well — gorgeous little flames in the trees. My favourite warbler.

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Sunday I hit up Isaac Lake for the usual suspects and a few conspicuously empty ticks on my weekend warbler list. A Brown Thrasher popped up out of the scrub and began singing in the trees above my head as I walked the road. They’re typically shy performers, but everyone likes an audience on occasion.

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When not out on the trails, I spent most of my weekend on the cottage deck with book and bins, doing some armchair birding. Waves of foraging migrants flit past in the trees overhead, and five warbler species I couldn’t stir up in the field instead turned up in the yard. My last for the weekend was a lovely Canada Warbler, singing his heart out as he bounced about the cedars.

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