In a remarkable coincidence of the sort that rare birds often go in for, a Blue Grosbeak was found in Québec yesterday. The coincidental part is that it was sharing a field with another QC rarity, the long staying Dickcissel on Montee Clinton, near Franklin.
My hands were full this morning but by feeding and watering (well coffeeing) Sandra’s folks and then putting ‘Hang Em High’ on the TV for entertainment I was able to slip out to try for it. I was optimistic, especially as it had been seen well that morning but when I arrived all I saw was an empty parked car and the Dickcissel blasting out its song.
After a short while a number of cars arrived, it seems that they had been off looking for an Upland Sandpiper nearby – the Blue Grosbeak had been missing for most of the day and they had taken a break from the search. I decided to try up the lane a bit, last week when I was watching Blue Grosbeaks in Arizona they seemed to like flying up into nearby trees then back to scrub to feed. As I approached I saw the object of our desires on a seed stem and so set about waving like a madman, my whistle is something of a disgrace.
The bird showed very nicely for everyone before drifting away into an orchard. I reviewed my shots and disaster. The over exposed setting I’d been using yesterday just flooded out the bird and were useless. I stayed a while after most had left but the bird stayed hidden so I made the short walk back to the car, it was 29°C and I was getting thirsty. I thought I’d drive up the road and turn around near to where we’d enjoyed the bird and voila, there it was again.
Montee Clinton is a nice and very quiet road with probably only one car per ten minutes. As I approached the bird in the car, a motorbike of the noisy dick variety thundered past and the grosbeak had gone. My shots are pretty dodgy to say the least, the latest ones of the Dickcissel in better light are a slight improvement on the last lot.