Floodgates ajar.

The long hoped for migration event finally happened today as many expected summer birds started to turn up around Québec. I had a particularly fruitful day with 12 year birds plus another five for QC. I was out with Tim, over from the old country visiting relatives. I hope he has recovered from the sensory overload, it was quite a busy day with 94 species recorded and some surprising gaps in the day list when I sorted it out.

Our day started early at the I’le St-Bernard reserve, an excellent place and always a migrant magnet. Before we even got out of the car we were seeing White-crowned Sparrows vying with masses of White-throated Sparrows for our attention. Once onto the trail we started to add many more birds. Yellow-rumped Warblers had certainly arrived, they were all along the route.

We spent three hours there in pretty grey conditions but enjoying the birds lots. We didn’t come across anything rare but it was a pleasure to get good views of Veery, Swainson’s Thrush and a Pileated Woodpecker knocking lumps of a log, as they do. We probably missed ten species or so but we weren’t counting and were ready to move on.

Here are a couple of shots of Yellow-rumped Warblers.

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We were making our way to St-Timothee via a few points and it was worth the detours. Maple Grove had Black Terns, Beauharnois had Bank Swallow and Mellochville had a Caspian Tern (again), I saw one there on 6th-May too but eBird seems to be having trouble adding it to the QC year list. Out of interest I thought I’d see how many countries I’d actually seen the species, 13 in all including two self-founds in the UK where it is a National rarity and so records are judged by a records committee. Also at Mellochville were a few Bonaparte’s Gulls, neat looking in their summer dress.

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St-Timothee had lost most of its ducks, just a few Redheads and Ring-necked Ducks remained. On the canal we found two Long-tailed Ducks, late and unexpected. An American Bittern “kerplunked” away in the reeds and a confiding Virginia Rail put on a show as it scuttled along the reed edge. Amazingly we didn’t see a Northern Harrier there but compensation was a sub-adult Bald Eagle that came past.

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We rounded off by visiting a few sites, dipping and seeing. It was one of those days when you’d like to have been at many sites for the morning. I probably missed a few year birds for St-Lazare sand pits, we did go there briefly, but it didn’t matter what I’d missed, more what I’d seen. Tim seemed quite happy too, most of the species were new for him and he’ll probably have a head full of calls in his head for a while. Tomorrow is another day and it is the big sit weekend too, I might take part unofficially, just to see what I can turn up at the pits, it depends how wet it turn out.

PS. After the last post I went out locally and found a Great Crested Flycatcher so don’t worry about it, it’s home.

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