Today was spent in the excellent company of visitors to this Maple Isle from the UK, Tim and Fiona. We started out around St-Clet in a cold biting wind and lacking any promise of the bright spells the weather person promised. The fields were awash with Snow Geese. A couple of hunters had also figured this out and were squatting in a ditch, presumably out of eyeline of the geese or they might actually have been caught short, a cold wind can do that to an elderly bladder!
Nearby, desperately hoping not to be seen or even mistaken for a goose was a Snowy Owl, an owl all but lacking that quintessential required camouflage, snow. When we’d had our fill of the geese, not in terms of satiated hunger you understand but in terms of having seen quite a lot, we headed off. We dropped in at Hungry Bay where lots of Greater Scaup were milling about then moved on to Dundee. We walked the Egret Trail, no egrets yet, naturally, but lots of wildfowl around including yet more Snow Geese. There were also good numbers of Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal and Amercian Wigeon on adjacent flooded fields. At least three Sandhill Cranes were around the area, we eventually tracked down one of them about as far from the car park as you can get. It showed very nicely before calling, launching itself skywards and flying past us to a less obvious location. The geese were skittish but we didn’t come across the culprit. On the walk back we flushed and explosive Ruffed Grouse from the side of the path that battered off through trees leaving a shower of feathers behind it.
We moved up to St-Timothee, passing through St-Barbe and seeing, you guessed it, Snow Geese. A smallish group near the road included a Ross’s Goose. At St-Timothee it was a delight to find that a Great Horned Owl had again occupied the currently empty heronry. A Great Blue Heron was feeding in the ditch by the car park, perhaps planning to be the first back in situ and a couple of Hooded Mergansers were checking out the same ditch.
We returned to the St-Clet area and found many more Snow Geese rising and falling perhaps upset by some unseen predator. The day remained cool and breezy but 42 species were seen which was not bad at all. Below a few shots from the day, apologies for the quality of the owl shots, it is a long way away for digiscoping.