Interesting news from the extreme east of Quebec regarding a grey cuckoo, published as a Common Cuckoo and new for Canada. I hope they heard it call as Oriental Cuckoo should also be regarded as a possibility, especially as we had a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper from the eastern end of Oriental Cuckoo’s range in Québec at around the same time. I’d also be interested in the age of the cuckoo; an immature reverse migrating would fit both grey cuckoos but probably not an adult. An adult with a navigation defect would presumably have reversed on its first migration; if it is an adult then maybe a ship was involved.

Local birding has been slow as high pressure sat over Québec making it very pleasant, weather-wise, but each day had little variation and no real visible migration as such. Yesterday was different though and in one and a half hours, 1842 Blue Jays went south through St-Lazare sand pits. I’ve not checked my records but I think that is the best count so far although I do remember other big years. Years I have not yet entered into eBird.

On Tuesday last I had a nice meeting with Lyne from St-Lazare’s environmental department. The city is compiling wildlife records and I hope my efforts will be of use. We discussed the infilling – it is allowed and the site end use is housing but not until sand extraction is finished. Unfortunately sites like the pits are lost because they are not placed highly enough in the conservation order. I will say now that there is no site in Québec of comparable size that can match the biodiversity of St-Lazare sand pits. I have the records to prove it too. It is all well and good preserving the pristine, if it still exists, but if you want to develop a resource that can be included in an education syllabus, as environmental issues as they relate to animals (and not to Humans) should be one of the cornerstones of education – how else will anything other than us survive.

We also discussed the spring fed seasonal pool and land at the west end of the pits. I have ideas and the land is owned by the city so perhaps something positive will happen there. Ideally we could create the first dedicated odonata reserve but perhaps that is dreaming, we shall see.

For the next couple of weeks the blog will be a bit neglected, the pits certainly will be as I will be otherwise disposed.

I’ve not got any recent photos to show so I’ve put the images I sent to Lyne to illustrate the Pits diversity and marquee species. All have appeared in either this or the ode blog and so I won’t label them. Incidentally, nobody offered any suggestions regarding the recording I posted a link to – hard I know but at least there is some context with it being in Canada in autumn, thanks Greg for suggesting Dropbox. The call is two seconds in, is a trill, does not match anything under either Snow Bunting or Northern Shrike present on Xeno-Canto – over to you guys.

Baird's Sandpiper Black Saddlebags Buff-breasted Sandpiper Common Buckeye Eastern Amberwing Elfin Skimmer Halloween Pennant River Bluets Variegated Meadowhawk


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