I went to see the American White Pelican at St-Etienne today. It means nothing to UK birders but we generally don’t get them in Quebec, I’ve only ever seen one here previously. American White Pelican look as weird as the rest of their tribe. If they were a car they’d be the Friday build, the one that looks just not quite right. Having said that they have a certain charm and at least they have few options for hiding. I went, I saw it, I still have to wonder why they evolved that lump on the bill, perhaps I should ask someone who believes in ‘intelligent design’, a made up answer has to be as good as any.
Having committed to crossing the Beauharnois Canal I thought that I might as well go to Dundee and have a look for the Blue-grey Gnatcatchers. No joy there but FOS Common Tern, Veery, Warbling Vireo and Yellow Warbler. The Sandhill Cranes were being noisy and one was wandering around feeding, not too far from its sitting mate, nice. I notice that the Osprey breeding platform along the Great (if absent) Egret trail seem to have a problem. It seems that gravity is imposing itself on the platform and it is currently at an alarming angle. I presume those who ‘manage’ the site know and are taking steps to right it, otherwise the Ospreys using it are going to need to get hold of some Velcro pretty quick if they are going to get through the season.
Next was the Montee Biggar area, Northern Waterthrush were singing away and so were several Eastern Towhees but no Bobolinks. I see from eBird that the FOS was reported from I’le Perron, odd place for us to get the first, especially when the regular spots are not occupied.
Having seen my first ode of the season at Dundee, see http://quebecodes.Wordpress.com for details, I thought I’d check out Gowan Road, always good for birds and odes alike. I was pretty hot when I got there but I parked under a singing male Scarlet Tanager and managed a photo of it before it realised and flew off. Then a Great Crested Flycatcher chose to sit and chill while I photographed it. With such success I tried a bit of pishing and an Ovenbird came in and went a bit off the rails. He sat concealed chuntering at me then flew directly at me just as I focussed. He calmed down a bit but never gave me a full view for the camera.
So what was originally going to be a quickish jaunt for the pelican turned out to be a bit more involved. A count up revealed 78 species, had I realised I’d have stopped on the way home to add a few ducks. The days of 30 species worked hard for and frostbite thrown in seem a distant memory.
Below are the photos.