Sunday, 12 May 2013

Burnaby Mountain Warblers

May11, 2013 Burnaby Mountain 
(High pressure system breaking down/low moving in/sun partial cloud, rain imminent)

The vistas from Burnaby Mountain are spectacular and it's a popular picnic spot with locals and tourists alike. The mountain is also a known for its excellent bird watching. Earlier in the year, a flock of Pine Grosbeaks drew many birdwatchers while in May the flowering trees and shrubs attracts hummingbirds and warblers. Sooty grouse can be heard 'booming' in the trees while if you are lucky, one may make its way to the ground to feed.
On Saturday I had a phone call that the Black-throated gray Warbler was present in a mixed flock of Townsend's, Yellow and Wilson's Warblers. Having never seen one before it didn't take me long to head over the Port Mann Bridge and up the mountain, it turned out to be a good decision.
The birds were present on the pathway above the Horizon's Restaurant. They were easy to find, their songs filled the woods. Soon I had a Townsend's in my viewfinder albeit from quite a distance, then a nice surprise, a Warbling Vireo popped out to snag a green caterpillar. The Mountain Ash and Maple trees were providing plenty of insects for the foraging birds. Then, out of the greenery came my 'Lifer' the Black-throated gray Warbler.  It was a brilliant sight to watch as it went from limb to limb, hopping around, sometimes feeding upside down. 

Black-throated gray warbler (Dendroica nigrescens)
I try to imagine the journey these birds have made to get this far and how much further north they might go. The bird books say Black-throated gray's nest in open mixed dry oak, juniper or coniferous woodlands, so I expect it will have a few more days of flying to arrive at their final destination. Anyway, there was an abundance of insect life on the trees and the flock were pre-occupied although somewhat wary of the humans traffic below. Occasionally the flash of the yellow and black Townsend's would flit across the frame, the females out numbering the males three to one.
Female Townsend's Warbler (Dendroica townsendi) gobbles down a catipilar.
Male Townsend's Warbler
The Townsend Warbler winters in Mexico and  California.

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) winters in Central America.

I wonder if the aformentioned birds migrate as mixed flocks, anyone have any thoughts about this?

Bonus Shot while photographing Warblers
Sooty Grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus)
 Burnaby Mountain

1 comment:

  1. John, another highly successful outing! Great captures!