My first clue that the weather would finally warm up was the overnight influx of wood warblers found early of the morning of May 27. Since that time, more species have returned to make each day of birding a joy.
The 27th was a prelude of what was to come with yellow-rumped, yellow, magnolia, black-throated green, northern Parula, black and white, common Yellowthroat, chestnut-sided and American Redstart kicking off the wood warbler season.
In addition to those lovelies, both red-eyed and blue-headed vireo had returned and both Swain’s and hermit thrush were singing on territory and ovenbird were calling loudly from wet, mixed woods. Ruby-crowned kinglet were calling that morning as well, but not yet singing. That didn’t begin in earnest until June 1. The most pleasant surprise, however, was a single brown thrasher, a species oft-seen in the years of living in Ontario and this was my first Cape Breton encounter with this large ground forager since returning home! Since May 27, more wood warblers have returned to our area including eastern palm, blackburnian and blackpoll.
Flycatchers appeared quite suddenly June 1 with olive-sided, yellow-bellied, least and alder in suitable habitat. Lincoln’s sparrow often appears late but this year it returned by June 1 as well and was singing on territory immediately upon its arrival. Of course, there is little that compares to the haunting and simple song of the white-throat but the Lincoln’s always makes me stop and listen.