I don’t think that we have been to the arboretum much since back in the autumn. Our cold-weather winter wandering is usually around the nearby bird banding station where we do a couple of shifts a week counting birds and filling feeders, and then this spring we have been busy getting our own garden up and running. Prompted by a request from a friend to help monitor the arrival of Bobolinks in a farm field that is only accessible through the arboretum we put down our trowels and spades and went to the forest for a change.

From tomorrow the weather is scheduled to get warmer and sunnier but today was decidedly chilly with a rather strong northerly wind – for all that, we each felt that we should have come earlier. Great minds think alike. The spring ephemerals will be over shortly as the tree leaves unfurl and cast their shadow on the forest floor – although we saw some very good flowers we came close to missing them altogether.

Bobolinks – none at all yet. One had been reported to eBird (a ‘heard bird’ possibly) a couple of days ago from the MBO but there were no signs of any on the field they usually settle in. Very early yet however – these are usually reliable birds so unless something dreadful has happened they should be with us before too long.

So then it was time to wander. Seventeen species of birds were tallied. Nothing spectacular – that cold wind was not helping at all – but I have posted the list after the following photographs if you are interested. Nevertheless, the Tree Swallows are back, clinging for dear life to a couple of floppy branches on the “Branchery” near their nesting boxes and looking decidedly unhappy. Any insects for their lunch would have blown past at high speed today. At the Scout Hut the usual pair of Eastern Phoebes have built their nest where they always do. They shot out as we approached, presumably to draw us away, and proceeded to pose beautifully for the photographs I was unable to take as just then the camera battery needed changing. Wouldn’t you know it. As compensation, a nice male Red-bellied Woodpecker worked the trees around the edge of the flooded quarry for our enjoyment.

** Click any image in the gallery below to open an album and read the captions

eBird report

Morgan Arboretum, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue CA-QC 45.43508, -73.94618, Montréal, Quebec, CA

11-May-2021 10:32 AM – 11:47 AM

Protocol: Traveling

2.487 kilometer(s)

17 species

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 2

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 1

Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) 3

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) 1

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) 2

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) 1

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 4

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) 3

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) 1

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 2

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 1

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 4

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) 4

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 1

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 1

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 5

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) 3

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/checklist/S87826573