The thermometer outside the kitchen window reads -18°C, not sure what the windchill will be but brrrr! It is this time in winter when you start to pine for warmer fjords which you know are still a good eight weeks away. The birds know its cold, they blanket the feeders in this weather and it is a fair bet that all of the local birds will be at my and my neighbour’s feeders and that a walk in the local woods would not produce a single bird, such is Canada in winter.
On Monday I took advantage of the newly opened highway 30 to get to St-Etienne near Beauharnois. The trip took just over 20 minutes, it would have been an hour plus via the old Valleyfield route, the new road now makes sites on the south shore so much easier to get to and any trips east no longer have to plough through Montreal on highway 40. The run out was to look for a Yellow-headed Blackbird recently found out there. Once the mass of Starlings and Brown-headed Cowbirds around the busy farm settled the bird, an immature male, was easy enough to pick if it faced you. I couldn’t get close enough for a photo but here is one I took in Nevada last year. This one is an adult but at least lives up to the name and you get some of the picture I think, just reduce the yellow by 95%.
One of my winter jobs this year, apart from the eBird records entry marathon, I’m up to 2600 checklists so far, is to sort out all of my photos. It has taken a while just to sort out the ‘edited for blog’ set but it was fun to browse images that I’d forgotten I’d taken or just to relive a good day once again. One such good day was at Baie du Febvre a few years ago when a Red-necked Phalarope and Wilson’s Phalarope spent the day picking tasty insects off the surface of one of the tanks at the site. So here, to cheer me up as much as anything, are a few of those images to enjoy once again.