Cape May Warbler

September 2nd 2017. Algonquin Island, Toronto ON. The Cape May Warbler has been a bit of a nemesis bird for me. It’s not particularly uncommon during those two short times of the year when they pass through, but somehow I seem to keep on missing them. I have quite a vivid memory of one from some years ago and I thought I had a photo too, but I can’t find it. This is the fall migration time for many warbler species and things changed today, not only did I see two or three Cape May Warblers but I had time enough to register what I was seeing and I came home with a few decent photos; here are two of them.

Cape May Warbler.

Like many warblers, it’s an even more eye-catching bird in May when the streaky-chested male shows handsome chestnut cheek patches encircled by a bright yellow face. At this time of year though the cheek patches are fainter, although with a bit of imagination you can make them out in the photos. This Cape May Warbler was my Bird of the Day, hard earned in a day of much walking and hard searching.

I had joined a group of bird enthusiasts exploring a cluster of islands lying a short ferry ride from the shining geometry of downtown Toronto. Appropriately named, Toronto Islands, are a recreational refuge covering a lot of real estate. It took us all day to walk, well saunter, from one end to the other and I estimate we covered nearly ten kilometres.

At one time our route took us hard alongside the perimeter fence of a commercial airfield and we were entertained by a metallic voice from a motion-triggered recording that told us sternly we were in a restricted area and had better leave right away; we just kept slogging along. Shortly afterwards a bored looking security guard drove past us, he on the inside we on the outside, and I’m not convinced that he saw us.

I think the group as a whole tallied about sixty-six species, I counted fifty-four including several other warbler species including Blackpoll Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Magnolia Warbler and Nashville Warbler, all shown below with photos from other late summer excursions.

Blackpoll Warbler

Common Yellowthroat.

Magnolia Warbler

Nashville Warbler