Rigaud and Voyageur Park

We had a little trip out to the secret river at Rigaud, secret because it does not seem to have a name. There are a nice little set of rapids and some shorebirds were taking advantage of the feeding, mostly Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs but also a few each of Semipalmated Sandpipers and Solitary Sandpipers. Spotted Sandpipers breed there and,  judging by the presence of immatures, had had a good season.

The main reason for the visit was to get a few dragonflies and damselflies typical of a flowing river with deeper eddys. The sun shone and we started well with a Powdered Dancer, quickly followed by the excellent Violet (or less impressively named Variable) Dancer. In the flags were spreadwings, mostly Lyre-tipped but also a few Northern. Blue damsels were represented by Hagen’s and Stream Bluet, the latter being a species I’d not seen before but had obviously overlooked as they were fairly common.

Powdered Dancer teneral, a lump of an insect.

Violet Dancers, see, a much better name than variable even if they can be.

Violet Dancers on a first date and straight to the action!

A Violet Dancer (left) and Stream Bluet.

Stream Bluets, a nice and distinctive damselfly.

We then went on to Voyageur Park in Ontario, which is a bit pricey at $14.00 but we knew that we could find a nice quiet bit to wander.

White-faced Meadowhawk.

Voyageur is a nice spot for Baltimore Checkerspot.

We also chanced upon a Hummingbird Hawk-moth busily feeding around the Pickerelweed

A few views

Secret River both ways from the bridge.

Quiet pools at Voyageur.

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Osprey surprise

While out dragonflying we chanced upon a roadside Osprey nest atop a purpose built pole. The site at ground level was already occupied by photographers, mustn’t generalise here, my last set of comments didn’t go down well, but the birds seemed ambivulent to their/our presence. The light was pretty dodgy so we went off around the ditches and pools enjoying several species of dragonfly when the sun crept through. After about three hours we headed back hoping for a snap or two in better light and position and were able to enjoy some excellent activity, along with the same photographers who had obviously waited it out for the good light.

Below are the snaps, plus a couple of photos of a Garter Snake which had recently fed on our front step.

Downhill from here!

Saturday dawned murky but warm. The pits were fairly quiet although the Wood Duck family still numbers eight well grown ducklings so they might make it into hunter’s freezer yet. I had a little run around the lanes between St-Dominique and St-Emanuelle west of Montreal and came across good numbers of mostly Cliff Swallows hawking the crops and roosting up on the roadside wires, summer is a done deal! Expecting nothing I did a bit of flash photography from the car, the results are below. On Chemin Poirier I came across a strutting (collective name for a group of Wild Turkeys?) of three adult and 12 young Wild Turkeys, quite a change from when we arrived in Canada in 2003 when they were only to be reliably found in the Huntingdon to Hemmingford area.

Later we had to shop in West Island but took the opportunity to return home via Chemin de L’anse at Vaudreuil. The Marbled Godwit remains and seems to be a popular weekend twitch, also present a smart Stilt Sandpiper in a plumage I have only ever seen worn by a vagrant in England!

Later still we went out dragonflying and it was nice to find one of my spots is also attracting shorebirds with both yellowlegs, two Solitary and six Spotted Sandpipers feeding in the river, more on the dragonflies  later.

Adult Cliff Swallow

It’ll always be a Sand Martin to me I’m afraid.

Bit better Godwit

I dropped by the Che de L’anse at Vaudreuil on the way home again, I can see there being lots of shorebirds there this fall, its a pity such places cannot get some protection for the duration of migration. The Marbled Godwit was still there, its a pretty scarce Quebec bird, seen annually but not always easy to connect with. Today it was 500m east of where it was yesterday so I took the opportunity to get some slightly better shots.

A Common Tern returning to offer its mate a fish.

Raspberry thief

As we swelter in the hottest spell in Montreal for 23 years, activity in the garden has been fairly slow. The Common Grackles have been marauding as usual, their fiesty youngsters testing everything for edibility.  A regular background noise, along with the mowers, blowers and thudding car stereos had been the calling of Great Crested Flycatchers. They respond quite well to a mimic of their upslurred whistle and will often fly in but recently they just seem to be a garden constant. While lunching at the weekend we found out why.

Since moving into the house seven years ago we have been cultivating (i.e. not mowing) wild Raspberry canes. This year they have been heavy with fruit and the Great Crested Flycatchers have been nicking them all. They are a bit shy but if you sit still for long enough they will sneak in and pluck a few prime berries. I’ve not had much luck photographing them, hence the dodgy photo below.

The warm weather has naturally stimulated the dragonfly activity around Bordelais Bog. A few recently felled trees also reveals the presence of Beavers there although the habitat makes it hard to see them, usually they are just a plop and swirl. Something else has been down there too, there is a patch of vegetation flattened which suggests something bulky had been in the water and climbed out, perhaps the Black Bear that is being reported locally.

Below a few photos rom the bog.

A female 12-spotted Skimmer, always worth watching and easy to ID.

A dragonfly makes the transition from terrestial to aerial.

An Eastern Forktail (female) quite distinctive.

Red-waisted Whiteface, recently emerged at the bog.

Sweetflag Spreadwing, a tough bunch to sort out sometimes.

A couple of Sweetflag Spreadwings get it on.

Widow Skimmer at an oblique angle

Marbled Godwit

Today I decided to go home from work via the Chemin de L’anse at Vaudreuil. The road sweeps along a large bay on the Lake of Three Mountains and the shorebird habitat is looking very good this year. Halfway along I saw a large shorebird with a batch of scruffy Mallards, a nice self found tick for Quebec, a Marbled Godwit.

The only camera I had was Sandra’s old Panasonic but I managed to zoom a few record shots, hand held at 18X optical zoom.