Patience rewarded

Another cold night saw the ice in the margins of St-Lazare sand pits extend three meters out into the lake, no problem for the geese but of the shorebirds, only a single Greater Yellowlegs remains. From the viz-mig watchpoint the Northern Grey Shrike was active, doing the old furtive tree top to tree top routine. I located the objects of his attention, a small flock of Common Redpolls. On scoping them one was seen to be a nice, bright Hoary (Arctic) Redpoll. Looks like I’d better get the Nyger seed feeders stocked, last time the redpolls came we had hundreds in the garden including ten or more Hoary and several Greenland which dwarfed the Common Redpolls. Only a single Pine Grosbeak was about today but the star of the show was an immature Bald Eagle. Normally they are fairly high or distant when the y visit the pits but this one actually flew towards me before levelling off and landing on a perch about 150m away. I managed to rattle of a few flight shots but the perched bird was well obscured.

I then moved on the relatively nearby Les Coteaux jetty via Montee Chenier which still has seven American Pipits and a Peregrine. At Les Coteaux the dancing chop was much in evidence making visibility very limited when scanning for birds on the surface of the lake. At range I picked up an immature Red-throated Loon which seemed to be drifting my way, albeit at a rather slow pace so I got as close to the end of the jetty as I could and waited. After 45 minutes or so it realised how close it was getting and paddled off pronto but I managed a few shots which are a vast improvement on my recent photographs of this species. I’ve not heard of anybody else locally reporting Red-throated Loons. I seem to have found them on the past three trips to the Hungry Bay/Les Coteaux area, perhaps I’ll have to arrange a master class on loon ID for anyone in the area interested.

I’ve been pressing on with entering my records into Ebird. I am up-to-date with 2012 and part way throught 2011. I also decided to enter my trip records as a break from entering American Crows and Blue Jays at the pits. It was interesting entering Cuba, the ‘are you sure’ flag appeared time after time, even for birds endemic to the area where we saw them. It is probably because many sites have yet to have their Ebird species database established or, perhaps, because Ebird is out of Cornell University and the USA have some local spat going on with some fella called Castro, then the C word is not allowed to be used. Another little problem I’ve had is where bird names have changed, an issue with birds seen in Thailand particularly. It is my intention to enter everything I have in all of my notebooks eventually but it is a huge task. So far I’ve only had three emails asking me to confirm my entries, I expect many, many more.

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