Birder's Guide

JAN 2019

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 57 of 67

56 Birder's Guide to Travel | January 2019 Ontario's Birding Trail Finn, who is trying to photograph another cardinal. Birding at this time of year, when the forest is near its densest, is best done by ear. So, it's great that Bruce is masterful with identifying the overlapping myriad of bird calls and songs. As the well-trodden trail morphs into a boardwalk, he shares every time he hears a bird, helping our lists quickly grow. A pair of Swamp Sparrows, a Brown- headed Cowbird, a Baltimore Oriole, and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet all appear within seconds of each other. I attempt to get a shot of the kinglet, but the tiny speedster is too fast. The group flocks over the trail in a solid pack, all vying for glimpses. It's a good mix of people of all ages and skill lev - els; nearly everyone has a giant lens, and many a competitive drive. Finn, however, is sticking close to Bruce, who is in front of the pack. Finn's impatience with being part of the large group is something we share. We hear the descending chink chink chink call of a Northern Waterthrush as our group arrives at a swampy yet serene scene where cobwebs sparkle on still wa- ter. I spot the province's provincial flower, a white trillium, before we come upon another swampy area where a Swainson's Thrush appears. Growing tired of the slow pace and am- bitious attitudes, Finn walks ahead of the group. I realize maybe it's not my thing, either. Elbowing my way to the front is not my style, though I do appreciate the expertise of having such a knowledgeable leader. Feeling a bit claustrophobic, I trail behind for a bit. This, of course, results with me missing what would have been my first Blue-headed Vireo. I catch up just as a Scarlet Tanager is singing and posing for the bird paparazzi. "It sounds like a robin with a sore throat", jokes Bruce. Everyone chuckles. Suddenly, a wave of warblers takes center stage and the park lives up to its coined designation as the "warbler capital of North America". First, a Yellow-rumped Warbler appears, followed by a Nashville, a Magnolia, and a magnificent Cerulean! All eyes are on the branches, and soon everyone is pointing and sharing sightings, leaving me more ap - preciative of the group effort. Continued from page 54 teeth, rather the dance move made popu- lar by…you guessed it, Fortnite. I comply and learn the dance, which garners hearty laughter. The good feels continue as we snuggle for the first time in ages. I'm impressed when we get up early in the morning. It's day three and no words of complaint murmured. It's a tad chilly, but we are hoping for a day of good sight- ings. After a birder's breakfast, we meet up with a group of 20 who've united for a two-hour Parks Canada-led hike, as part of the Festival of Birds. "You see this bird here at three o'clock?" asks Bruce Di Labio, kicking off the hike. "It's a rare species here—a House Sparrow! There are a few pairs in the park." We learn quickly that Bruce, who has been birding here since 1974, is fond of bird jokes. "But really folks, the bulk of the sing- ing you hear right now is American Rob- ins", he continues, as we set out on the half-mile loop of the Tilden Woods Trail. Dutchman's breeches are in full bloom, their white petals reaching upward from the green forest floor along the trail sides. Soon we hear more than robins. The sweet sweet shredded wheat of a Yellow Warbler and whitchity whitchity whitchity trills of a Common Yellowthroat ring through the cedar savannah and ma- ture swamp forest. "Oh, there it is", Bruce points to the yel - lowthroat. Like a good tennis match, everyone turns their attention, all heads whipping upward in unison. Two French women at- tempting to get a look nearly knock over

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