Warm coat time

Yesterday I was out with Australian birders Jordan and Zoe. Our main target was Snowy Owl and you’d think it would be pretty easy at the moment but no. We drove the St-Clet lanes and only found one bird. Later we passed one near Mellocheville but it was way out in a field and we were hauling bottom down highway 30 to Vaudreuil to rendezvous with the train back to downtown.

We did all the St-Clet lanes seeing just a single Snow Bunting, where on earth have the rest gone? We did pick up a few things new to our visitors before heading to Hungry Bay where we enjoyed some success at the feeders. Tufted Titmice were frequent an a couple of House Finch dropped by. We then went to look at the remaining open water next to the Pont du Gonzague. It was pretty good with a few welcome Snow Geese, lots of Hooded Mergansers, a Bufflehead and, quite surprisingly a Pied-billed Grebe.

Our little jaunt produced 39 species, not too bad when it was -12°C with a wind chill factor of -19°C. Jordan and Zoe coped well with the temperatures although I suspect Zoe will be glad to get back to pleasantly warm Perth while Jordan is here a while longer and it looks like he will get the opportunity to enjoy a real Canadian winter.

Today Sandra and I went off to La Prairie. The reason was to search for a wintering Northern Mockingbird and to have a bracing walk in the -23°C. We came across c40 House Finch, a couple of which posed for shots. After completing a circuit of the woodlot we found the mockingbird back almost right by the parking lot. It sat shivering on a branch but looked healthy enough and so we took a few photos and enjoyed getting a good view of a fairly scarce species in Québec.

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Driving home we passed a Snowy Owl right by highway 20 at Les Cedres but with the bonus of a service road to stop on. The owl was skittish when the trucks went thundering past and eventually gave up on the perch and went off out into the fields to sit somewhere safer and quieter. I got lucky and was looking through the lens just as it went.

The Northern Mockingbird was a new one for my winter list. This year I’m up to 68 so quite encouraging and with plenty of gaps. It would be nice if eBird Canada had the winter list up in their totals.

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