Mount Royal Park
View from Mount Royal Park
Immediately north of downtown Montreal is a wooded hill called Mount Royal Park (Parc du Mont-Royal). It rises up from the city and can be clearly seen from the air. If you have only a few hours or one day to spare whilst in Montreal this is the place to go. Most of the area is heavily wooded but there are plenty of paths and an area of open parkland with a small lake.
As ever, we started early getting a singing male Red-winged Blackbird at the park entrance at the top of Rue Peel. This was soon followed by a fine male Baltimore Oriole and American Robin and Red-eyed Vireo. The path and a road wind up the hill and there is a set of steep and long steps which can get one to the top faster than by following the road. We stopped near the top of the steps and heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee. A Hairy Woodpecker flew straight towards us and landed on a tree about two metres in front of us. Further up the path splits into a fork. We took the right fork and soon saw our first Great Crested Flycatcher. Deciding the left path would have got us to the top quicker we retraced our steps and took the left fork. A short walk later and we were at La Belvedere Mont-Royal. This is a lookout point facing over the city towards the St. Lawrence.
Carrying on towards La croix du Mont-Royal we went through some quite dense woodland. After seeing Blue Jay and Indigo Bunting we heard a singing male Black-throated Blue Warbler. Within a couple of minutes we had tracked it down in the wood and were watching this excellent-looking bird. Back on the path we added Golden-crowned Kinglet and Blackpoll Warbler.
Leaving Mount Royal Park we arrived at Voie Camillien-Houde, the road that separates the park from Mount Royal Cemetery. We then caught a bus to the cemetery entrance because the road went through a cutting in the hill and had no footpath.