Local email groups are a great way to contact local birders when hoping to see a few birds that might otherwise take time and effort to locate. Via that medium, today I had the pleasure of a days birding with Marcus Nygards, a Swedish exchange student who wanted to see Snow Geese (sorry Marcus, can’t do the squiggly bits on Swedish letters).
We started out at the Pont du Gonzague south of Valleyfield. On arrival only a few Snow Geese were to be seen but, after a good scan of the many Lesser Scaup and Ring-necked Ducks, the distant “wenk wenk” signalled the impending arrival of many more birds. Once they had pitched down I quickly located a Ross’s Goose, presumably the same one I noted in an earlier post. Fuelled with success we headed off to Hungry Bay.
Hungry Bay is best when its not windy. Our visit coincided with fairly calm, amost balmy weather. First up were three Black Scoters followed by a good scattering of White-winged Scoters and a lone Long-tailed Duck. Closer grilling also revealed two immature Surf Scoters for the hat trick. The highlight though was the flock of Common Goldeneye that flew over a duck hunter just at the time he had chosen to wade in and retrieve his plastic decoys, tee hee.
We moved down to Dundee and walked part of the Digue trail finding up to six Sandhill Cranes and enjoying fairly close views before they flew off to a more private section of the marsh. Almost just as they landed a second year Bald Eagle yomped over flushing a noisy flock of Snow Geese. There were also two Rough-legged Hawks staking out the marsh and a brief squeal from a Virginia Rail. The next stop was a quick look at St-Ettiene where Northern Shovelers shovelled and Northern Pintails dunked. There were also about two hundred Green-winged Teals and a lone Ruddy Duck out there.
A surprise at Dundee was the presence of at least three Autumn Meadowhawks. As per the only reference, the Odonata of Quebec, these were the latest by two days.
We dropped in to St-Timothee for a scan, no Eurasian Wigeon but neither of us will lose sleep over it, as we snacked a smart Rusty Blackbird jangled from the trees near the car park. Last stop was the pits where we added Common Merganser to the day list of 53 species. Marcus seemed well pleased with his haul, even if he is missing Sweden’s first Dusky Thrush!
The flight shot of the Ross’s Goose was on Marcus’s camera when he got home, serendipidous or what!