May 2 was a beautiful morning for a bird walk. Warm south winds the night before had brought in migrants. Walked the trails at Camp Kawartha with Jacob Rodenburg and Tim Dyson – respecting two metre distancing of course. In a couple of hours we found 38 species, including some first-of-year birds for me, such as Nashville Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. Maybe the highlight of the morning, however, was seeing and hearing so many Eastern Towhees. They were pouring out their “Drink…your…teaeeee” song at numerous locations along the trails on the east side of Birchview Road. We probably saw or heard 6 to 8 different birds. Other memorable moments were several pairs of Common Loons flying over, Ruffed Grouse drumming, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers hammering, White-throated Sparrows whistling their iconic “Sweet Canada” song, and Field Sparrows sounding like a musical rendition of ping-pong balls dropping on a table. New plants were almost in bloom, too, like Red-berried Elder and even trilliums in some locations.

Eastern Towhee – Drew Monkman
White-throated Sparrow – Drew Monkman

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) (1) – Reported May 03, 2020 12:38 by Brody Crosby – Peterborough–Mervin Line, Peterborough, Ontario – Map:,-78.3478148&ll=44.2413458,-78.3478148 – Checklist: – Comments: “Kinglet-sized, gray dorsal, white ventral, distinct black eyebrow, and white eyering. Call was buzzy and drawn out. Photos to come.”

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – Karl Egressy

We were driving north of the Reptile Zoo on Highway 7 (May 3) and saw a bird with black wing tips, a white belly, and grey back flying low over a farm field at Indian River Line and Division Road. Could it be a Northern Harrier? Rob Tonus

N.B. Definitely sounds like a male Northern Harrier. D.M.

Male Northern Harrier -Nima Taghaboni

These little beauties ..White-crowned Sparrows.. have just shown up in our backyard…migrating up to Hudson Bay area…now spring is really here….!!! Mike Barker, Algonquin Blvd

White-crowned Sparrow – Mike Barker

I saw my first Bobolinks of 2020 today, May 7, on Nicholson Rd near County Road 2.
Carl Welbourn

Bobolinks – Carl Welbourn

I was up to the trail in Lakefield on May 4 and got pictures of Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Carl Welbourn

Palm Warbler – Carl Welbourn

Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) (2) – Reported May 10, 2020 13:00 by Dave Milsom – Dummer Alvar, Peterborough, Ontario – Map:,-78.0956&ll=44.36185,-78.0956 – Checklist: – Comments: “pair flying across back field”

Upland Sandpiper along Wylie Road at Carden Alvar (by Greg Piasetzki)

As of May 11, a pair of Brown Thrashers is still nesting in a neighbour’s backyard here in the north end of Peterborough off of Fairbairn Street. We were able to find the nest hidden in a brush pile. It doesn’t look like the eggs have hatched yet.The thrashers are also visiting our feeder regularly where they take fallen seed off the ground. Liliana Perez, McCrea Drive

Brown Thrasher – Drew Monkman

Today, May 14, we had 17 species at our feeder and yard: Northern Flicker, Hairy Woodpecker, American Robin (fighting with Blue Jays), Common Grackle, American Goldfinch, Black- capped Chickadee, Red-winged Blackbird, Northern Cardinal, Brown-headed Cowbird, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Wild Turkey (in neighbouring pasture), Baltimore Oriole (attracted to the orange I put on planter brackets), Rose-breasted Grosbeak and, to top it off, an Indigo Bunting (in its moulting stage). Mathilde Colley, Fifth Line, Selwyn Township

Indigo Bunting – Greg Piasetzki

I was along the Rotary Trail behind TASSS today and saw my first Gray Catbird, House Wren, American Redstart, and Yellow Warbler of the spring. Carl Welbourn, Kawartha Camera Club

American Redstart – Carl Welbourn
Yellow Warbler – Carl Welbourn

I had my first Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Baltimore Oriole this morning, May 14. Migration has picked up speed! Rob Welsh, Stoney Lake

Baltimore Oriole – Rob Welsh

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) (1) – Reported May 16, 2020 19:05 by Kyle O’Grady – 160 Indian Road, Asphodel-Norwood, Ontario, CA (44.273, -78.04), Peterborough, Ontario – Map:,-78.0401892&ll=44.2732513,-78.0401892 – Checklist: – Comments: “Lone Male at Oriole feeders and foraging amongst Baltimores.”

Orchard Oriole – Wikimedia

Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera) (1) – Reported May 17, 2020 09:26 by Matthew Garvin – Peterborough–Rotary Park & Walkway, Peterborough, Ontario – Map:,-78.313466&ll=44.3128468,-78.313466 – Checklist: 7 Photos

Blue-winged Warbler – Matthew Garvin

I wanted to let you know that on May 17 we had a very good sighting of two Sandhill Cranes. They were feeding in a field with Canada Geese. The field is on the northeast corner of Country Road 6 and Camp Line Road in Douro-Dummer Township. We saw them between 5 and 5:45 pm.  Jane Bremner 

Sandhill Cranes – May 16, 2015 – Wayne Stovell

An Orchard Oriole turned up at our feeder today, May 18, joining the many Baltimore Orioles that have been coming. We also get several Red-headed Woodpeckers at our feeder pole every day, Joe Taylor, Duncan Line, Rice Lake

Orchard Oriole – May 18 – Joe Taylor

Our resident Common Grackles (many) have taken to depositing nesting waste (poop-balls) into our pool. To set the scene, the pool is still covered by a dark blue plastic sheet with about 12 inches of rain water on top. The offending grackle/s will approach from 70m off the top of a 60 foot high birch swooping down and alighting at the edge of the pool. The waste is held in the beak as they survey the area before they fly over the pool dropping said waste in the middle as they go. They then land on the opposite side and appear to be confirming that they hit the target before taking off back to the tree and, I assume, the nest. Not all poop goes in the pool because, as I look out the window now, I see maybe 40 of them which were dumped on the edge of the pool, on both sides, in various stages of dehydration. That said, a great number do make it into the water. We had noticed it last year but this year seem particularly bad. Any idea what may be causing this behaviour and how we could stop it from happening in the future? It is quite a mess and although it will undoubtedly stop when the nesting ends, we are reluctant to open the pool until it’s over.

Common Grackle – from The Crossley ID Guide to Eastern Birds

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) (9) – Reported May 20, 2020 19:21 by Guy Hanchet – Lakefield Marsh, Peterborough, Ontario – Map:,-78.2779098&ll=44.4284475,-78.2779098 – Checklist: – Comments: “2adults and 7 cygnets. 1 adult is chasing away a single goose up and down the marsh.”

Mute Swan at Presqu’ile Provincial Park – Drew Monkman

Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) (2) – Reported May 20, 2020 06:00 by Dave Milsom – Peterborough–Rotary Park & Walkway, Peterborough, Ontario – Map:,-78.313466&ll=44.3128468,-78.313466 – Checklist: – Comments: “Missed juvenile but 2 adults flew up the Otonabee at 6.20 a.m.”

Black-crowned Night Heron – juvenile – August 28, 2017 – Carl Welbourn

While my husband and I were walking our dog this afternoon, May 20, we spotted a gorgeous male Scarlet Tanager. It was high up, flying tree to tree. We were  walking through Roper Park at the end of Firwood Street in the west end of the city. It was in the wooded area. Nancy Clubine

Scarlet Tanager – May 2019 – Jeff Keller

Vesper Sparrow + 44 other species (click on checklist)

– Reported May 20, 2020 09:06 by Bill Crins – Otonabee Gravel Pit Conservation Area, Peterborough, Ontario – Map:,-78.2546389&ll=44.2104955,-78.2546389 – Checklist:

Vesper Sparrow – Karl Egressy

  Although we get what are described as rare birds around here (Ennismore), like Orchard Orioles, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Pileated Woodpeckers, etc., we were surprised to see the following little guy on the evening of May 20.  He appears to be a Indigo Bunting.  Is it odd to have one here?  We have not seen him since. Ron Garrod

N.B. Indigo Buntings are fairly common in the Kawarthas but usually not noticed unless you know the song. They are often high up on the dead branch of a tree or on a telephone wire. Through binoculars, they can appear black against a bright sky. D.M.

Indigo Bunting – Ron Garrod

Blue-winged Warbler (2) + 33 other species

Reported May 21, 2020 08:35 by Cathy Dueck – Peterborough–Hubble Road, Peterborough, Ontario – Map:,-77.9193&ll=44.53712,-77.9193 – Checklist:

Blue-winged Warbler – Wikimedia

On Thursday, May 21, I took several videos of the Mute Swans and their seven cygnets in the Lakefield Marsh. They were taken near the Doug Sadler Lookout Tower. Dodie Parsons, Hague Blvd, Lakefield

Lakefield Marsh 26-May-2020 7:20 AM – 9:00 AM

Walked from Sadler Tower around the perimeter of the point, making a loop. 31 species: Canada Goose 16, Mute Swan 6 (two adults and four cygnets), American Bittern 3 (pair seen flying followed by a single bird flying), Great Blue Heron 1, Bald Eagle 1, Belted Kingfisher 1, Northern Flicker 1, Eastern Wood-Pewee 4, Alder Flycatcher 1, Least Flycatcher 2, Eastern Kingbird 3, Warbling Vireo 10, Red-eyed Vireo 4, Blue Jay 6, Black-capped Chickadee 4, White-breasted Nuthatch 1, House Wren 2, European Starling 2, Gray Catbird 4, American Robin 2, Cedar Waxwing 2, American Goldfinch 6, Chipping Sparrow 1, Song Sparrow 6, Swamp Sparrow 3, Baltimore Oriole 6, Red-winged Blackbird 6, Common Yellowthroat 2, American Redstart 6, Yellow Warbler 4, Northern Cardinal 1 Drew Monkman

American Bitterns flying over Lakefield Marsh – Drew Monkman

On May 27, I had my first Monarch butterfly of the year in my yard. I saw it or another one again the following day in the same location. Sheila Potter, 2000 3rd Line North, Dummer

Monarch on Tithonia – (Drew Monkman)

This morning, May 29, I walked the ORCA Agreement Forest, west of County Road 6, with Jacob Rodenburg and Sheila and Derek Potter. We were rewarded with quite a list of warblers, thrushes and tanagers. 29 species in all. Drew Monkman

Here’s our full list:
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Broad-winged Hawk 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 5
Eastern Phoebe 2
Great Crested Flycatcher 3
Red-eyed Vireo 16
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 1
Common Raven 2
Black-capped Chickadee 1
House Wren 2
Gray Catbird 1
Veery 1
Swainson’s Thrush – 2 (singing)
Hermit Thrush 10
Wood Thrush 1
American Robin 1
Cedar Waxwing 5
American Goldfinch 2
Ovenbird 12
Northern Waterthrush 5
Black-and-white Warbler 6
Nashville Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 2
Black-throated Blue Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 8
Scarlet Tanager 3

Scarlet Tanager – May 29 – Drew Monkman
Black-and-white Warbler – May 29, 2020 – Drew Monkman

Starting on May 29, we have had an atypical Hairy Woodpecker coming to our feeder in northeastern Connecticut. The bird is yellow where it should be white. I’ve attached a photo and a video. Tim Huchthausen, Hampton, Connecticut

N.B. From what I’ve been able to research on-line, the bird has a condition called xanthochroism. “Xanthochroism is a pigment disorder, as are albinism (lack of pigment) and melanism (excess pigment). In xanthochroistic birds, either there is excessive yellow pigment in the feathers or yellow replaces another color, typically red. Xanthochroism occurs not only in birds, but also in other organisms. It may be caused by dietary deficiencies or a genetic mutation.While fairly rare, the condition is nonetheless reported in a number of species of birds. One in which it is noted nearly annually is the Red-bellied Woodpecker. Because the red color of the head is replaced by a golden yellow, the Red-bellieds are often misidentified as Golden-fronted Woodpeckers. Orange Scarlet Tanagers and Northern Cardinals are also fairly common.” from Julie Craves, June 20, 2003

Xanthochroistic Hairy Woodpecker – May 29, 2020 – Tim Huchthausen Hampton, Connecticut
Video of xanthochroistic Hairy Woodpecker – Tim Huchthausen – May 30, 2020 – Hampton, Connecticut

A friend found a mating pair of Cecropia in her yard in Peterborough – near St Paul’s school. There is a cocoon in their maple tree and the female seemed to have just emerged yesterday, May 30. She and the male remained attached through the night, suspended from the cocoon. He flew off this morning but she stayed, possibly needing to dry her wings. I picked her up and moved her to a sheltered, sunny spot. She excreted a white substance onto my hand that had a sweet smell – pheromonal? Pics I took of the female aren’t as good but I’ll attach. She was missing one antenna. Sheila Potter

This flying squirrel is my nightly visitor. Seems very tame! Bet Curry

Flying Squirrel – Bet Curry