I was out today with Claude who was up from Toronto for a few days and wanted to do a bit of birding out west of Montréal. We started at the Pont du Gonzague on the Beauharnois Canal. The recent chill had frozen the lake but a fair quantity of Snow Geese were still around, resting on the canal along with the remnant waterfowl, Hooded Merganser, Pintail, Ring-necked Duck and a multitude of Mallards etc. The geese were resolute in keeping their distance and were eventually flushed off by a big ship steaming south. We located some of the flock later on frozen farm fields but too far away for any photos unfortunately.
Our next stop was Hungry Bay where a fair chop made viewing the ducks challenging. There were a couple of Greater Scaup and some distant Common Goldeneyes but it was an effort. The highlight came when we paused at the roadside feeders on the way out and found two Tufted Titmice making regular visits. We parked and viewed with Claude managing a few feeder shots. I did too but mine only give a hint of titmouse. Also of interest there was a leucistic Grey Squirrel. It happily contested the fallen food with the standard version and was even holding its own in one spat.
We tried a few sites for hawks and geese but most have sensibly pushed off to somewhere warmer. Dundee is normally a shoe-in for a Rough-legged Hawk but none were available, just a distant Northern Shrike and even that didn’t sit still long enough to be admired properly. We retraced our steps and, in terms of them being a bit nearer and not leaving suddenly, had more luck with the geese back at the Pont du Gonzague,. As we wound up the day a lone Peregrine sat on a lamp on the ‘somebody I have never heard’ of bridge on highway 30 and the grey was starting to promise snow.
It was fun to get out in good company even if the birds were not too cooperative, there will be other times and we were lucky with the weather to some extent. My day count was a modest 34 species, just two weeks ago that would have been double, such is the evacuation of Québec by the birds in the winter. I had thought that my record shot of the Ross’s Gull (now seemingly gone) set a new low in photographic quality, I suspect however that my capture below entitled ‘titmouse on a feeder’ at least equals that benchmark. Things can only get better!