Only in Canada can I go out birding one day in -4°C and hail then be tearing off the layers in a balmy 23°C the next day!

Last year I couldn’t find an Osprey on my patch (St-Lazare sand pits) for the first time in nine years, yesterday seven went through in 20 minutes – right place, right time I suppose. The warm spike produced a rush of migration and kept me out for four hours enjoying it. FOS birds were Chipping and White-throated Sparrow; both kinglets, Hermit Thrush (this side of the Continent) and Blue-winged Teal. At around ten the hawks started moving north, keeping my attention skywards. No spectacular numbers were recorded although three Rough-legs were pretty good, I don’t see that many at ‘the pits’, no eagles this time though. Broad-winged and Red-tailed Hawk made up the bulk of the passage but it fizzled out after an hour as the sky became a uniform, bland grey.

Despite making 1300+ visits to the site I’d never been inside the Base de Plein Air, part of the site to the south of the main pits. As I was gazing up into space one of the passing cars stopped behind me, this is unusual as people normally just slow down to stare, it’s a Canadian thing. Anyway, this chap got out and, after exchanging the usual (for me) “desole, je ne parle pas Francais” he told me that there was no longer a permit needed for parking and that access to the trails was free. Taking advantage of this new found freedom I walked the short trails finding three Hermit Thrushes. They are a welcome addition to my recording area, especially as access to the wood to the north is patchy and will eventually be lost. I’ll also use the site to park when dragonflying the west end instead of risking a ticket, nearly ten years in Canada and still no tickets of any description!

The camera/s have been a bit redundant recently as visible migration watches tend to focus on things high up and more in Hubble Telescope range than a terrestrial camera but below are a few bits and bobs using ‘big’, ‘little’ and iPod, see if you can tell which are which, not that I care you understand.

DSCN1039 DSCN1059 DSCN1066 IMG_0158 DSCN1073 IMG_0150 IMG_8207 IMG_8236 IMG_8216


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