Brass Monkey needs welder – urgent!

Its just become pretty cold here, glassy roads leading to bottom feeders who can’t drive ending up sat in the median until the nice tow truck hauls them out.  Its been an odd winter so far, last Monday even saw temps of around 9 degrees and day long rain then bone cracking weather.

I had intended to revisit the Hawk Owl this Saturday but the best laid plans of men without mice were scuppered and I only mananged a tour of the St-Clet lanes late Saturday afternoon. As usual the snowies did not let me down, four were visible but there are likely as many as seven now. The ice had forced the Snow Buntings to flock up together by the looks of it, the one flock present had about 500 birds. A nice little treat was an immature Northern Grey Shrike which allowed me to get one photo off before it legged it. It would have been more but the camera had shifted settings, those setting wheels really should be locked once set.

Its interesting that the Great Grey Shrike complex in Europe and the Middle East has been split into at least three species (could be four actually) but the Northern Grey Shrike remains lumped despite obvious plumage differences and a bloody big ocean getting in the way. Perhaps the only way to get it done is to present the AOU with a big bag of shrike corpses, they seem to like that sort of thing.

Below a dodgy photo of the shrike, precise location witheld!


Third time lucky

Well before Christmas an occasionally local birder saw a Northern Hawk Owl perched on wires adjacent to the busy little place that is Pincourt, situated at the west end of Ile Perot. Recently it emerged that the bird was still there and showing very nicely. I had tried a couple of times for it last week before finally scoring today. The bird is very obliging and approachable, aren’t they all? Its location might well attract mousers, those photographers (not birders) only interested in the photo and not the bird. The location is pretty busy and the owl would likely end up as a feathery pizza if it is moused, of course there is also a bright side in that a mouser might suffer a bruise or two from car collisions, we can hope I suppose.

After that success Sandra and I headed out to the lanes around St-Clet seeing a couple of Snowy Owls including a male, not a bad morning.

The circle shows the bird, behind is the Maxi supermarket. With the bird being missed for so long I suppose it is conclusive proof that birders do not shop at Maxi.

This one is a digiscope job, nearly got the lens lined up!

Pity about the twig at this angle.

A bit better photo, lower would have been nicer though.

The same female Snowy as last time.

Pleasantly mild

It has been pleasantly mild here in Quebec this past week and the weather people are promising a few more days of relatively mild temperatures. The lanes around St-Clet are finally starting to produce, with three Snowy Owls there today along with two Northern Grey Shrikes and 400 or so Snow Buntings. Even St-Lazare sand pits weighed in with 27 Bohemian Waxwings in their regular pre-roost trees.

Below a shot of one of the Snowies, this is the first time one has been close enough for a photo and even then I had to trespass a bit.

All quiet on the frozen front

This winter so far has been hard work! The general lack of posts here reflect a general lack of birds. The first three days of the year were characterised by continuous snow, albeit light. The next available birding days it was nice, bright and pretty cold. The year  list has nudged just over 30 species, bolstered as it was by Glaucous and Iceland Gulls at Beauharnois Hydro last weekend, things, as they say, can only get better!

I’m still leafing through the Panama stuff, I realised I’d missed Yellow-bellied Elaenia off the list and that I had a mystery hummer to go at which I’ve now identified as a Violet-crowned Woodnymph.

Violet-crowned Woodnymph

Blue-chested Hummingbird

Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer

Long-tailed Hermit

Long-tailed Hermit

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird

Sapphire-throated Hummingbird

The first of two Snowy-bellied Hummingbird shots

Violet-bellied Hummingbird – several photos.

Violet-headed Hummingbird – two photos.

White-necked Jacobin.

Violet-capped Hummingbird

Now to try something new

Not sure how well this is going to work.

While in Panama we did a bit of recording using the Remembird device, a handy little recorder for songs and notes. We had one day where everything worked, so first of all here is a shot of a Great Tinamou, not a great shot but if you know tinamous not bad either. This bird came to us after I played its song while waiting for Sandra who had climbed the tower at the Gamboa Rainforest Resort. I was not actually trying to get one in but, when we left the tower, one appeared just off trail. We had great views and then it started to sing just out of sight. For me it was a hair stand up on the back of the neck job, and that is without having been up the tower!

This is a Little Tinamou, even harder to see than the big one. We walked a trail at the Gamboa called Senderos (trail in Spanish) La Laguna which was very birdy. After the success earlier in the morning with the Great Tinamou I tried the ipod and we had a response straight away. The little beauty came trotting towards us calling as it went until it realised there are no Little Tinamous five feet eleven inches tall!

In theory you should be able to click on the sound link and hear the actual birds. In the case of the Little Tinamou, I put the ipod away and did my own duet, guess which is which.

I cut out the sound files when the WordPress annual fee was required again MD Jan 2011


After fighting the other blog system I decided to try WordPress to see whether they are a bit nicer to work with.
It to has its quirks but I`ll push on.
Below a couple of pictures from Panama, with captions!
More photos are at the old blog at:

Spotted Sandpiper, still hanging on to a few spots or are they new ones for next year?

 Social Flycatcher

 Social Flycatcher, common around Gamboa but very similar to Rusty-margined until it opens its beak.


Great Kiskadee, a big noisy bird but it too has a lookalike, the Boat-billed Flycatcher.
Violaceous Trogon, we expected more species but they sit so still sometimes
that you just walk straight past them.
Crimson-backed Tanager, a lump of a tanager.