Probably more photographs than words this week … but that’s what most of our readers like, so we’ll press on.

After a record setting wet April (another five or six hours and we would have beaten a 75 year record for the month, but the last few drops fell in May) we still have more rain … and more and more still. The reliable forecast says things may start to get a bit dryer and more seasonal round about the 20th of the month – on the other hand the water levels just down the road at the confluence of the St-Lawrence and Ouatouais rivers are the highest on record and they are talking about trying to lower the levels in Lake Ontario by diverting water into the St-Lawrence. This may not end well, though we are high enough not to be personally affected.

But despite that, and despite the total saturation of the ground and flooding up and down the river, garden growth has really taken off this week as the attached pictures will attest. After all, it’s the first week of May and right on time the leaves are starting to unfurl all around, covering the trees with a faint green haze.

The Dark-eyed Juncos are still with us, as are the White-throated Sparrows (where are White-crowned ones?) and several Purple Finches are seen daily. The Magnolia stellata is in full flower and the Magnolia soulangiana is just about catching up.

Highlight of the week – and possibly of the year, but who knows what’s to come, was the appearance of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in the garden on two separate days. Sightings were brief and photographs no better than record shots but this is a RARE bird hereabouts. We had one at this same time two years ago that came for several days and then vanished but at the moment this is one of only two records for the year in the Montreal region. A lovely little bird.

The “warbler trap” waterfall is doing its job again. This is still very early in migration but one day we had a Yellow-rumped Warbler bathing in it (that was reported on this blog last week under the “Stop Press” heading) followed in the afternoon by a Great Crested Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwings and, of course, the first appearance of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

Towards the second half of the week an expeditionary force of two young raccoons were seen travelling along the back fence on the “animal highway” around 8am – later returning and pausing to paddle in the waterfall and dip paws in the pond before proceeding back along the highway.

As the week has progressed the numbers of Juncos have diminished a bit but there are still more than are usual for this date.
Tulips are now showing, including some species tulips, and good clumps of daffodils, grape hyacinths, and other seasonal flowering bulbs. The blossom on the sour cherry tree looked ready to open out between rainfalls but has wisely decided to wait it out.

Now, some photographs … click and thumbnail to enlarge a photograph or scroll down to view a slide show which you can stop at any point of interest

Slideshow …