Pits bits

I spent part of this morning looking at St-Lazare sand pits hoping to see one of the Solitary Sandpipers that at least one other visitor sees on each visit. No joy, but now ten Greater Yellowlegs around, and encouraging sign. Strangely there have been no Killdeer for some time, they are probably still out on the farm fields but should start coming in to roost soon. The morning was also marked by a few year-firsts for the site, although I’m way off target for getting anywhere near last year’s 180 species seen by me. Two other species were reliably added to that total by others including a Wilson’s Phalarope that must not be mentioned.

Expected, but not taken for granted was the first Purple Martin for the year, part of a hirundine flock that was taking advantage of a good hatch. In much the same vein was the first Ruby-throated Hummingbird of the year. I usually get a few in spring, but this year I’ve found that fewer seem to be around. Less expected was a vocal Willow Flycatcher. Over the years I’ve noticed that both species  of large empid (relative I know) shut up once they pair up, then later have another singing period. This is usually just before eBird starts lumping them under Alder/Willow and calling them rare. Perhaps I overlooked the Willow Flycatcher earlier in the year, this bird was right by the road.

If you bird the small woods by the soccer pitch car park, be aware that last years ‘privee’ signs have now been replaced with a ‘garde le chien’ sign. I intend to ignore the sign, as usual. The woods are owned by St-Lazare town and access is free. If the sign erector has a doggie that bites and they’ve publically advertised the fact, then they’d better get a good lawyer too.

I also took a look at the seasonal pool at the west end of the complex, a good Solitary Sandpiper haunt sometimes. The pool is also owned by the town but has had problems with ATV riders who seem to find 17,000km of ATV trails in Quebec (I checked) too limiting. I raised the issue with the environmental person last year, but nothing got done about making access difficult. The result is that the riders are chewing up the area and damaging the spot that holds River Bluet, virtually unique to St-Lazare in Quebec. The two ATV registration numbers were VV82500 and VV82305, they were there at 11:40. I’ve also passed this on to the town for action. Oddly they were wearing helmets, I’d of thought that padded trousers would have offered more protection for their brains.


As I walked the trail away from the infill site, or ‘death of the pits corner’ as I call it, I came across a clearwing on the path. Two clicks and it had gone but I got the shot and it turned out to be new for me, a Snowberry Clearwing.

Snowberry Clearwing

Back to the main pit and a Caspian Tern was doing a circuit. It is around this time of year that a parent and young starts to show up. I hope a lone bird isn’t indicative of a breeding season failure.

IMG_3996 (2)

I’m pondering on doing a print version of my eBook ‘Going for Broke’. If I do I’ll be using LULU.com, a print to order service. I’m not sure at present what the cost would be (not $2.99). It takes a bit of setting up but, if you are interested, please keep checking back. New visitors (or those with a limited attention span) can get my eBook directly from http://smashword.com Just search for my name or ‘Going for Broke’ There is a link on the side bar that takes you straight to my page.

If you want to friend me on Facebook, this is the link to me. https://www.facebook.com/mark.dennis.9212


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