Yesterday Daniel Ouellette chanced upon a singing Dickcissel near Franklin, finally one was close enough to twitch! I got there around 5:45 and within three minutes the bird was up and singing away on a wire. The early morning light was rather dull but I got there acceptable record shots. I’d always expected my QC tick Dickcissel to be at a feeder somewhere or flying overhead calling and so one so relatively close was very much appreciated.
With the hour being so early I checked a few more sites in the area, hoping for Grasshopper Sparrow – no luck, and Black-billed Cuckoo – no problem. I also nipped back to a site I’d visited yesterday where there had been a Clay-coloured Sparrow. No sign of it today and so yesterday’s brief view of a singing bird had to do.
I’m still well behind the Quebec year list leader but I’m not really trying very hard there and I expect to pull a lot of birds back once we venture up to Tadoussac later in the year. For now my North America year list is a modest 313 but that will improve soon. My World list is just short of 400, that too will get better.
Recently a team of Quebec birders broke the day record with 178 species. That sets the bar very high and any team fancying a poke at the record next year would need to be based in the Quebec City area and have a sound knowledge of where birds can be found in that area. I think that Montreal based birders might do a 170+ if the planets aligned but our sites are so far apart that it makes it a more time in the car than the field experience. I suspect that one of the team of record breakers is also on course for a 300 year in Quebec. I think the current best is 295 but may be mistaken. Either way, I think the sole arbiter now for any year list has to be eBird and, fortunately, we can watch how things develop from the comfort of our PC screens.
Meanwhile, here is a challenge for all Canadian birders – which Province is the best? Naturally you might plump for yours, especially if you live in Ontario, with its vast array of bird attracting sites, or British Columbia, the Province with the largest list of species? Clearly there is some disparity between Provinces in terms of birds available but what if we level the playing field?
Here is a link that explains the premise. http://greenbirding.ca/ABC/ the idea is that teams would bird race against a handicap based on their Provinces bird list for a given period of September based on eBird averages over five years. To succeed the challenge needs to be inclusive and we need participants from every Province speaking any language they prefer.
So fellow birders in all of Canada’s Provinces, are you up for the challenge?