Normally bird info in Quebec does not travel at speed, the culture here is different and more like the grapevine system used in the UK pre the paid bird information services. When bird info does get aired, actual directions can be erratic or absent, such was the case today when Ornitho-QC anounced that a Yellow-throated Warbler was present in Parc Marie-Victorin at Longueuil on the south shore. Despite Google maps assuring us that no such place existed, we vaguely remembered looking for a Pacific Loon there about five years ago so, after watching Sunderland thump Chelsea, we went on-spec.
On arrival no birders were evident but we walked the paved route and came across a small group of Black-capped Chickadees after a few minutes. I told Sandra to expect it to be rather Black-and-White Warbler like in behavior, hugging the tree so to speak. Suddenely she declared that she had it and there it was, fizzing about, part warbler, part nuthatch with a throat that defines the colour yellow. It was super active and I managed a few snaps before the flock moved quickly around the trees, eventually flying off. The great views more than made up for missing one a few years ago one cold afternoon in Sherbrooke!
Inspired by having had a Quebec tick we headed back via Ste-Catherine and Rue Titanic to try for a White-winged Dove, present for a while but without directions since its discovery. I had a sinking feeling that we would not score but funnelled our efforts into trying to make it a two QC tick day. We did multiple circuits of the area around Rue Titanic but it cut no ice, I can’t really fathom why the finders, whose yard it frequents, can’t be a bit more specific. We did see an urban Merlin on watch from a garden tree, later we saw the same bird take a dove!!! Despite being in the most urban of settings we stopped the car and had a look. it was just a luckless Mourning Dove and not the WWD, phew! So from the heights of success at Parc Marie-Victorin to the depths of failure on Rue Titanic, such is the birding in Quebec.
Below a few warbler shots, those of you who found five puns in the previous paragraph, well done!
On a very quiet bird day I spent some time this morning watching a Red-tailed Hawk zero in on a rodent, despite the noisy attention of a malitia of American Crows. The hawk would sit intently staring at one patch of ground, never taking its eyes of it even when close passes were made by the crows. It twice moved location, still concentrating on the concealed rodent, until finally it lauched at it, hitting the ground hard and coming up with a snack.
The pits were covered in Canada Geese, as is normal for this time of year, and a single blue phase Snow Goose was in the mix along with a solitary Ruddy Duck. Slivers of ice were much in evidence in the margin, inspiring me to change to the winter tyres in anticipation of the first serious snow fall.
Below a few shots of the hawk.
Today’s little sortie was supposed to be into Ontario to see the annual build up of Sandhill CRanes near Ottawa but it got cancelled for one reason or another. Undaunted I headed up to Pointe Fortune and checked out the gulls below the hydro, hoping to see last week’s Lesser Black-backed Gull and maybe take a picture, no luck though. I find the rocks below the hydro well worth a look if passing, especially now that the fisherman in boats can’t get up close to scare them off. It looks like the sort of spot that will get the rarer gulls, rarer that is than Lesser Black-backed, I’ll just have to keep looking.
Nearby at Rigaud I came across the accipiter in the photo below. I’ll not name it, it shows more than enough for an ID if you read your Sibley.
With the clocks changing here my evening birding time will disappear very quickly. Apart from at the weekends and until the pits actually freeze up, it will be birding the Chemin De l’Anse daily. Last year I went as often as possible and had a few nice birds. Today there a good sized flock of scaup (both species) was in evidence at the west end, also Common Goldeneyes are increasing in number, Barrow’s would be nice.
And, as promised in an earlier post, photos of a Fox Sparrow. There seems to be only one at the moment but plent of Dark-eyed Juncos.
Today I headed off back to Hungry Bay, via the pits of course. I think its the first weekend in a long time that it was not blowing a stiff breeze. The pits were awash with Canada Geese, which I feel are way down in number this year, perhaps many more are waiting in the north to arrive or we are in a cyclic slump. The flock had a few Snow Geese for the first time, not much else for excitement there although I did add American Bittern to the pits year list in the week.
At Hungry Bay Lac St-Francois still had a bit of swell and heat haze but it was very pleasant nevertheless. Highlights were a Horned Grebe and two Red-necked Grebes plus fair numbers of both scaup and three White-winged Scoter. I have also been looking at as many of the local loons as possible, I can’t figure out why we do not get Pacific more frequently when they are regular on the east coast and Great Lakes. Needless to say I just saw Common Loons, abouth a dozen.
After a good meander around as many fields with cows in as possible, trying to find another Cattle Egret (but one in Monteregie in particular) I arrived at Beauharnois and was surprised to see four Red-necked Grebes feeding in the current from the hydro. I tried to take a few photos but they were very distant and I can’t make anything of them so no photos this post. On the way back home I checked every lake side lookout and came across four Ruddy Ducks but nothing else of note.
The garden still has a few Fox Sparrows, or did until a neighbors garden maintenance team showed up and spent three hours mowing the life out of their postage stamp lawn after blowing their fallen leaves onto our property. They have yet to return but probably didn’t go far.
Wet tomorrow, Costa Rica soon.
I lied about no photos but not how lousy they are!