This Sunday Sandra and I nipped out to Ottawa to look for a reportedly confiding female King Eider, the only one of four present last Wednesday to remain. On the way we stopped on Milton Road to admire 25 Sandhill Cranes. We got to Andrew Haydon Park just as the rain piddled down and Sandra, feeling grotty anyway, stayed in the car while I looked. The Brent Goose was still there and there were more Hooded Mergansers than last time I was there but no King Eider. I was just about to head off when another birder pulled into the car park and told me it was visible from a spot further up the road. He’d actually driven from the bird to the main car park to tell any birders who were looking where it was, aren’t birders great, I was very grateful.
Earlier she had been close but when I got there she bobbed about offshore for a bit before heading out into the bay, no frame-filling shots for me then just the dodgy record shots below.
Earlier in the day I checked the Chicken dung pile on Montee Chenier in Les Cedres, half expecting the presence of mechanical monsters fetching in the Cattle Corn to have moved them but no, they were still probing away and getting their bills covered in goo for their trouble so more snaps of them to enjoy.
The King Eider took me to 650 for the year, most of which were seen from Panama going north. My Québec year list is trundling towards 250, I might make it if I can find a few of the owls that I missed early in the year such as Hawk, Boreal, Saw-whet and even Eastern Screech. I’m also lacking Pine Grosbeak and both crossbills and it would be nice to find all three at the pits (and the owls too, yeas please) to round off the year but the finch report forecast suggests otherwise, oh well at least we won’t be spending a fortune feeding redpolls http://www.jeaniron.ca/2013/forecast.htm .
Below a snip from eBird showing the year totals (at the top only, sorry low-listers). Gérard is going very well but has some way to go to catch the 275 recorded by Monique Berlinguette in 2002, not sure but that might be the record. My best was 266 in 2007 and I still missed about 15 species so there is a possibility for someone to set the bar high if they fancy a go.
Addendum: Last year Olivier Bardon recorded 283 species in QC but even he was surpassed a few years ago by a 290 although I’m no sure who that was. Thanks to Samuel Denault for the information and the screen-grab below showing the totals in EPOQ for 2013.