Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Singing Eastern Meadowlark - Carden Alvar
Our May vacation is all about seeing birds during migration. Really, I'm almost embarrassed when non-birders ask me what we're doing during our two week May vacation, and my answer is always one word, "birding".

But that's what we do. We're up and out early, on our feet for hours at a time, quick nap in the afternoon, and then we sometimes go out again at dusk, it can be exhausting, but we love it. So many of the species we see during the month of  May, we only see during migration, and we try to see as many species as we can.

Our first week of vacation kept us pretty close to home, visiting local parks and enjoying all the excitement going on in our own backyard. More on that in a bit.

Our first lifer of vacation was at Colonel Samuel Smith Park. We really don't expect to get lifers (first time seeing a species) in Toronto anymore, unless it's a rare bird, so this little guy came as a pleasant surprise, thanks to a birding group that was at the park that day. I'm using a friends pic as he was with us that morning. We all had great looks at the Le Conte's Sparrow.

Le Conte's Sparrow - Pic by Dave Iluck
We did venture to the Carden Alvar area one day, about 2 hours north of us. It was the first time we'd been in a few years, and it didn't disappoint. The singing of all the different birds was as enjoyable as seeing them.

Male Eastern Bluebird - Carden Alvar
Female Eastern Bluebird on the next bush beside the male.
Singing Brown Thrasher - Carden Alvar
Tree Swallow - Carden Alvar
Singing Eastern Phoebe - Carden Alvar
Singing Savannah Sparrow - Carden Alvar
We did do a couple non-birding things during our first week off. We went to see the "Avengers". Besides our love of birds/nature/wildlife, we're big Marvel fans. Now, no spoilers here, but I will tell you this. If I had known how it was going to end, I would of waited to watch it a couple days or a week max, before the next one comes out. 

We also had our very first visit to The Cheesecake Factory. Last May when we tried to go, the wait was over 3 hours, as it hadn't been open long. We chose not to wait at that time. This year the wait was only 20 minutes. The menu is over 20 pages long! The food was good, huge portions, we both brought half our meals home, along with 2 pieces of cheesecake to share. We'll go back. It won't be a regular place for us to go, but maybe a May vacation tradition, if only for cheesecake.

I think I speak for Rob as well, when I say the highlight of our first week off, was the many new yard birds we had!

New yard bird - Brown Thrasher - May 4
New yard bird - Eastern Towhee - May 5
New yard bird - Yellow Warbler - May 6
New yard bird - Black-throated Blue Warbler - May 7th
Not a new yard bird, but this Nashville Warbler spent three days enjoying our backyard.
We have had bird baths in our backyard for years, but I do believe we owe all these special visitors to something we purchased last June. A 3 tier water fountain, the sound of the water draws them in, and if we had of  known just how well this worked to bring the birds in, we would of bought one years ago!
The bird magnet.
This pic of the fountain was taken last year after we bought it. Rob's added some stones to the top two pools, so the water isn't as deep and to slow down the water. We've enjoyed many birds drinking and bathing in it.

Our Baltimore Orioles also returned for another season on May 3rd, and the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds on May 4th. I believe we have 4 pairs of Baltimore Orioles and we see them all day long. The hummingbirds are a little more sporadic and Rob hasn't got a picture yet.   
Two Baltimore Orioles enjoying the buffet we provide for them.
A banded Baltimore Oriole, Rob's working hard with the camera to try to get his band number.
Week one was great fun, and pretty much all about the birds, as will be week's 2 blog, stay tuned!


Unknown said...

Love your blog! Sounds like an amazing holiday!
Waiting for part 2

Rob said...

It was an exciting first week, especially with all the new backyard visitors!

Dan said...

Great post and pics! Happy to read your property is attracting a variety of birds. Magic fountain! :)