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May 6, 2013

Rose-breasted Grosbeak arrives

Watercolour sketch of Rose-breasted Grosbeak ~ Barry The Birder

Above is a copy of part of page, from a bird list I created many years ago, at a friend's cottage on Clam Lake, just west of Algonquin park.   I am using it here because the photos I took today of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak turned out badly...unusable, in fact.   I can't bear writing about a bird when I can't illustrate it with a photo.   In this case, I'm reduced to using a pen sketch I did,  way back when, with a bit of watercolour paint.   My friend and neighbour Ed Millar emailed me to say that Rose-breasted Grosbeaks had returned, as they always do, to his backyard.   I replied that I hadn't had one in my backyard ever!    I checked my records, and discovered I did see one in 1975, the first ever in the backyard.   My wife assures me we have seen a couple more over the years.   The day after Ed's email, guess what showed up in the backyard: a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.   I emailed Ed to say I thought I had his bird in my yard and that he should come over and get it.   Ed told me how they always a number of grosbeaks each year the feeders but he had only one this year.   Our village is undergoing huge housing development this year and Ed wondered if the stripped landscape hasn't altered spring grosbeak migration in our little village.   That would be a shame.   Rose-breasted Grosbeaks sound a lot like robins, but even cheerier.
Ps. The Clam Lake bird list (partially reproduced above ) included 32 species, including five warbler species...not bad for a couple of warm May days in central Ontario.  
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