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Jewish Warblers!

May 21, 2012

On Saturday, I went out birding with the good people at the TOC (that’s Toronto Ornithological Club, by the way), since my own peeps were out doing a fabulously ambitious birdathon at Rondeau, Pelee, St. Clair Marsh etc, and I couldn’t commit to such an ambitious outing because I was expecting a house guest and bathrooms had to be cleaned, floors swept, dust removed, etc. Nevertheless, I experienced my first TOC bird outing, led by the knowledgeable and good humored Jim and Petra Grass, and it was a lovely morning (which, alas, I had to cut short due to aforementioned domestic duties, which ended up being entirely worth it because I had a fabulous time with my dear friend who came all the way from my former digs in mid-Missouri).

And off we went, all 30 of us, to find Whimbrels (we were early; whimbrels are due to arrive a day or two from now, sigh), warblers, the King Eider, and other goodies at Kipling Spit. We immediately saw a Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla), immediately recognizable by the black patch on his head, which one of the more experienced birders referred to as his yarmulke!

Photo from Wikipedia

Yes, I’ve finally met a Jewish warbler! We locked eyes, discussed our faith briefly, and off he went, fluttering from branch to branch. (In Yiddish, a Wilson’s Warbler is a Wilsonztrilerl, according to Hirsh Perloff, the Yiddish Bird Expert Lexicographer.)

I saw my first Magnolia warbler and Blackburnian warbler of the season and the latter took my breath away with his bright orange neck and its orange-yellow streaks around the eyes. The Magnolia was as elegant as ever, with a majestic greyish blue head covering. Canada warblers, warbling vireos, red eyed vireos, Swainson’s thrush (note the stunning polka dot design on its breast!), and there were more warbling wonders, but after a while my neck ached and I knew the morning was coming to a rapid end for me.

We saw a first year male King Eider and he adopted a rather seductive and somewhat fetching pose for us, almost like he was waiting to have his photo snapped. And there was a Black Capped Night Heron camouflaged among the rocks, a gigantic turtle flirting with a Cormorant, Red necked grebes, and a fabulous Horned Grebe who looked like he’d just gotten a platinum streak in his hairdo.

A delightful morning. Needless to say, things ended brilliantly with a coffee and a muffin in the shape of a cookie from Birds and Beans.

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