No gifts from Irene

So Irene swept through, brushing Montreal with her soggy arms but not delivering a hoped for pelagic rarity anywhere local. On the haunch of the store a few shorebirds dropped into the pits, distant as usual, a Short-billed Dowitcher stayed five dyas, two Pectoral Sandpipers joined the melange of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and a few Semipalmated Sandpipers joined the Leasts but that was it.

In the garden the rain forced down three Magnolia, one Tennessee and a Chestnut-sided Warbler which stayed a short while. The real legacy of Irene for us was the sixth power outage of the year and, yes, we had stocked the freezer the day before, poot!

Odes are relatively few although a fresh Black Saddlebags at the pits was hopefully a locally bred insect, hard to tell. In the garden the Autumn Meadowhawks are abundant and happy to pose for digishots, good practice and pretty good results. This is the only meadowhawk with yellow legs and the females have that sticky down bit at the tip of the tail. The last photo is a Monarch’s head but you knew that anyway.


Last Tremblant trip of the year, maybe…

This Saturday was forecast to be the best of the two weekend days weather wise and so we went off to Parc Recreation de Mont Tremblant, a couple of hours north of Montreal.

We had intended to explore areas we have yet to visit, its a big place after all, but we ended up doing our favourite spots before very heavy rain curtailed activity. We started off on the Atocas Trail about 2km after the Visitor Center, the target being Black Meadowhawk. A few were at the regular spot, off the second viewing platformm, but they were not settled, being constantly harried by a variety of darners.

Moving on we picked our to the Barrage du Lac Escalier for lunch and, as it happened a very vocal and showy Black-backed Woodpecker, showy if you had a scope that is, we did. Odes were few and far between here so we took the lane to Lac Rossi. Here we take a small lane to a quiet car park with usually active lake and stream. We were not disppointed finding numerous Spotted Spreadwings, Cherry-faced, Banded and White-faced Meadowhawks, American Emeralds and a couple of emerald species that would not cme close enough for photos. Canada Darners were super common but we also had Black-tipped and Shadow Darner. Eventually a cartwheeling pair of darners pitched down onto a rotting stump. He was off smartish but she stayed to lay eggs and pose, the first Variable Darner I’ve managed to photograph.

Add a few butterflies to the mix, Pearl-spotted Fritillary, White Admiral and Monarch’s and it was a good trip. We stopped off on the way home to see the Ospreys near Pine Hill, four birds were present so presumably their young were out of the nest, they were a bit distant to age.

Below a set of photos starting with the Variable Darner. The photos  were taken with a mixture of the Canon with 100-400X, the Panasonic and the Nikon P6000.

Finally a Bonaparte’s Gull

Friday 19-August I finally added Bonaparte’s Gull to my pits list. It might not sound much but I’ve missed about five that I know of and have put in extra effort this year, below a digisnap. Also present were the now traditional late summer Caspian Terns, an adult and juvenile. All three birds sat together on a small patch of mud, mud that I hope will have a few more nice birds before this fall passage is out. Later I took a watch over the Birch woods north of the pits and around 18:20 four Common Nighthawks popped up and did their thing.

Its turning out to be a pretty good year at the pits so far with, hopefully, more to come.

First nighthawks

The pits were not so good today. They are infilling at the west end, unfortunately right over one of the spring seepages instead of 5m to the north on scrub. Moving on I wandered down Chemin Fief seeing a Northern Harrier, two Eastern Bluebirds and an Eastern Phoebe.  Hoping to practive digiscoping I went along Chemin George which bisects Rigaud Mountain, there is a nice little pool with parking which usually has a few opportunities.

The pool was busy with large darners which turned out to be Shadow Darners, settling down to try to photograph them suddenly three Common Nighthawks appeared overhead and started hawking and it wasn’t even night! They only hung around for a few minutes so I grabbed some record shots before the hawked off.

First Autumn Meadowhawk

There were a couple of Caspian Terns at the pits today, an adult and an immature making it 144 species for the year there. I had a go with the camera at about 180m range, interesting blue wash overall, the sky was clear blue so presumably that is the reason. Here are a couple of shots, one without zoom on the scope eyepiece and one with about 50x, the image gets softer the higher the mag.

I checked out Bordelais Bog too, barely any bird activity but Slender Spreadwing was new for the site. Close examination of several small odes revealed Band winged, White-faced and Cherry Faced Meadowhawks. Also present the first Autumn Meadowhawk for the year…. Photo below.

Hot again

Fine weather sits on Quebec and the heat slows down the pace. I waited until late afternoon to go out, the pits were lightweight so I dropped into Bordelais Bog to take a look see. Catbirds mewed and Cadar Waxings trilled, its been a good year for them so far. There were a few Dragonflies around, an elderly White-faced Meadowhawk, a bright male Fragile Forktail and a fine Green-striped Darner were enjoyed. Overhead the distinctive calls of 60+ Purple Martins indicated that its started!

Tomorrow some rain is promised, it could be good for pulling something in, we’ll see.

Not so white faced now.

Not sure what makes these so fragile, ask the fly it ate!

Green-striped Darner – very nice.

Warm again

After a couple of cooler and certainly wet days the sun shone again and I was able to spend a bit more time around the pits. Nothing new, the big push south has yet to kick in although hirundines do appear to be passing through including a few Purple Martins.

Odes are thinning out, species wise, but the darners are gathering and the time is nigh for the swarming.

Sad to see the recent events in the old country, any society has an underclass waiting for the opportunity to act outside the realms of decency and like an unwelcome turd they float to the surface. Like an unwelcome floating turd they should be flushed away but someone will always quote Human Rights, conveniently ignoring the fact that the rights of the Humans who suffered at the hands of the few have diminished rights under Law, for Law is merely present to perpetuate the income of the Lawyers, not to seek justice.  What goes around comes around, hopefully in the case of the malignant few.

But back to reality, a few snaps.

Crappy Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the photo not the bird, taken in heavy rain through the scope hand held with rickets and other excuses.

First two Greater Yellowlegs shots digiscoped, last one with the SLR

Flying Canada Darner