Light passage

Better weather today produced light passage through St-Lazare sand pits, with flocks of Rusty Blackbirds and many Myrtle Warblers going over to south. The Canada goose congregation is growing daily, that despite the attempts of local hunters to bag their ‘prized’ Canada Goose for the pot in local fields. This morning the flock had a Cackling Goose amongst the bog standard Canadas. I managed a couple of record shots, this is the Richardson’s version which is the one I see most but I have seen very small birds from time to time that must be approaching the original Cackling Goose of the West Coast.

It turned out to be a pretty good few hours around the pits with a Common Loon over and the first Common Merganser of the autumn. The large sparrow flock is spread over all the weedy areas of the pits making it difficult to figure out what is around. The White-crowned contingent is up around ten birds now, there are numerous White-throated Sparrows and also two Swamp Sparrows, which were nice to find. There are several roving chickadee flocks around the pits and the golden rule is find the chickadees, find the warblers. I pished in first one then ten more Ruby-crowned Kinglets in one group then a Blue-headed Vireo came in which was pleasing as it was a pits year tick. I think I had about 45 species all told which was not bad given that the warblers and shorebirds are getting scarce now.

With a bit of light on the job I then went back along Montee Chenier to see whether the American Golden Plovers were still around. I found ten but the rest could well be still out there, it is a big field. I parked opposite the large and obvious dung heap that has sprung up over the last few months, I suspect local Chickens have been working overtime. By sitting and waiting a bit the fifty strong American Pipit flock came in to feed but were nervous. As I watched and snapped both Myrtle and Palm Warblers joined in the feast. It took quite a bit of wafting to get all of the flies out of the car but eventually they all left and so did I. I then went along nearby Chemin Fief, a quiet lane that I wandered recently and found 25+ Eastern Bluebirds around the paddocks, a welcome sight because I thought that they had all gone early. The flock was still there today but they are always a bit skittish, I did manage one shot though. By the time I realised that the camera was still on the pipit photo settings I had taken the photos and the bluebird had legged it, which is why it is so white a background.

Below are the photos. The first is a mystery bird, the last is the answer so, if you want to test your sparrow skills don’t scroll down too soon.

A chance to compare Cackling against Canada Goose.

One of the Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Nearly a decent digiscoped shot of a White-crowned Sparrow.

American Pipit.

Target Acquired!

Fly loving Myrtle.

And the mystery bird is… a Savannah Sparrow.

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