The Victoria Day weekend is often the best time of the year to see migrating birds. With that in mind, I headed the the eastern section of the Bluffs to see what birds (and wildflowers) were about.
Catbirds and Yellow Warblers were everywhere plus a few House Wrens, Baltimore Orioles, Bank Swallows, Cardinals, Least Flycatchers and the usual Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles.
I heard but was unable to photograph American Redstarts, Tennessee Warblers and Blackpoll Warblers.
While photographing a Blue-eyed Grass flower:
a small bird, which I guessed to be a Chestnut-side Warbler because of some brownish flashes, appeared.
Through my camera lens, I could see that this was not a Chestnut-sided Warbler but the much less common Bay-breasted Warbler.
Each June during a ten day Breeding Bird Survey trip in Northern Ontario, I hear a few Bay-breasted Warblers but rarely see them due to the density of the boreal forest.
I remember my grandfather telling me that this is one of last of the migrating warblers to show up in Ontario. The last is usually the Blackpoll Warbler which was also present on this day.
The two bold wingbars are a good identification feature for the species. Females are a paler version of the males. The photographed bird is a female.
Bay-breasts spend the winter in northern South America and Panama and head north in late spring to breed in dense coniferous forests. Migrants can be found in any woodland lot.
The song is very high-pitched and weak so it can be easily overlooked.
It is a musical series of notes that increase in intensity teete teete teete tee tee tee
They are at their most numerous during spruce budworm outbreaks.