Sat in front of the feeders and looking at yet more diagonal streaks of snow falling, I got to wondering whether I was imagining this winter as being long, or at least longer than the 10 previous ones that we have ‘enjoyed’ since moving to Canada. Fortunately I also have the notebooks in front of me to research this question and below are the answers in terms of what I saw on this day, 30-March, since 2004. I should say that, coming from temperate islands, that winter as a discernable entity was pretty new to us. Yes we had snow in the UK but often it only lasted a couple of days and then as slush. To have snow on the ground for four or even five months was definitely something different and I’m not sure we’ll ever get used to it.
2004: Weather – fine, 15°C. St-Lazare sand pit. Canada and Snow Geese moving all day. Highlights Eastern Meadowlark, 5 Red-shouldered Hawks, 1 Tree Swallow, 3 Northern Flickers, 5 Rough-legged Hawks, 1 Horned Lark (site rarity), plus all of the regular species.
2005: Weather – sunny, fine. St-Lazare area. Lots of Red-winged Blackbirds singing, Turkey Vulture, Northern Shrike. Regular species back.
2006: Weather – very hot and sunny. Red-footed Booby, Bicolored Conebill, Blue-crowned Parakeet etc, oh wait, I was in Venezuela!
2007: Weather – bright, fine but cool n/w wind. Montmagny area, 61 species, highlight, Gyrfalcon.
2008: Weather – sunny 10°C. St-Lazare area, regular species back.
2009: Weather – fair, cool. St-Clet area, Snow Goose 1000s, still one Snowy Owl, fields have flood water with all the regular ducks on.
2010: Weather – hot, sunny, Cuba this time.
2011: Weather – fine, 7°C, lots of geese moving. Open water on rivers, lots of duck.
2012: Weather, cool, 0°C. Open water with ducks. Fox Sparrows in the garden, geese everywhere.
2013: Weather – mild. St-Clet area, 4000+ Snow Geese. Golden Eagle over St-Lazare pits. Regulars back and singing.
2014: Weather – more snow, -3°C, windy, when will it end!
So there we are. They have promised warmer weather next week but we are still some time from thawing. Like everyone else I’ll keep on birding whatever the weather but for now I’m waiting for these: