Early autumn blast

From 30°C Sunday to 10° today, a big temp shift and the birds know all about it.

Yesterday was a day to get wet and so I did, well in the morning at least. Shorebirds had been building at the pits nicely but I think that there must be some muddy hollows out on the farmland now because only one Greater Yellowlegs remained yesterday, in conditions that I normally find productive at St-Lazare sand pits. I did wheedle out a few Least Sandpipers and a Semi-palmated Sandpiper but it was hard going.

On Monday there were many more shorebirds about, with birds pausing briefly before pushing on. A flock of 20 Lesser Yellowlegs came and went in a tight group. Similarly 13 Least Sandpipers chose not to join the ones already down, preferring to just wheel about for five minutes before going off to look for a proper sewage farm.

Herons numbers are also building with Green Heron numbers up to four, three Great Egrets, plenty of Great Blue Herons and regular sightings of American Bittern and Black-crowned Nigh-Heron. The first Blue-winged Teal of the autumn came in Tuesday and no doubt many more will be popping up in the next few weeks as ducks start their desertion of Quebec.

Despite the rain yesterday I did the walk, I try to do the same route for consistency of observation – it’s a patch data thing – and got thoroughly soaked but managed to add to my building seed carpet. It wasn’t until I was almost at the gate that I found the main chickadee flock. Find the chickadees in autumn and you find the warblers.

With rivulets of cold rain running down my back I was delighted to be able to watch two Bay-breasted Warblers at eye-level plus 8 Yellow-rumped Warblers doing their usual stuff. I’m looking for Cape May Warbler for my year list and they usually prefer to be away from the main woods and in the lower trees of Lotbiniere. I didn’t find any this time but they’ll come I’m sure. I was about to splash back to the car when a larger bird emerged from nowhere, a Scarlet Tanager, neat.

My pits year list is only 143 so far, eBird has 149 so I’ve managed to miss a few but I expect to get them back, they are not especially rare species although a Black-billed Cuckoo (from 12-Aug) is always a good bird there. It’s good that a few more eBirders are visiting the site, hopefully between us we can pull something like a Willet out of the bag this autumn, you never know.

Despite the foul weather, I managed a record shot of one of the Bay-breasted Warblers.

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