After having been AWOL from St-Lazare sand pits for three days, I was back down there this morning, almost twitching. A friend of mine, Seb Castagnier, had been down looking for the Ross’s and Cackling Geese but with no luck, he did however get Fox Sparrow, Golden-crowned Kinglet and, best of all, Orange-crowned Warbler for his trouble. He also had a Winter Wren, something that was only confirmed as a site bird last year.
The sparrow, warbler and kinglet would be site year ticks for me, pushing that list into the 170s. The day was calm, still and very pleasant but the birds less than willing to give themselves up without a fight. Find the chickadees and you find the warblers is always my autumn maxim, I did and I did but it took nearly an hour of scouring the soccer pitch wood. Eventually the Orange-crowned Warbler gave up and fed busily close-to, but never giving photo ops. I think it was only my second ever there.
I found plenty of Ruby-crowned Kinglets in the woods and mucho juncos but no other sparrows. At this time of year I routinely play Bicknell’s Thrush calls in the wood because one day, well you never know do you? All it did was annoy the three or so Hermit Thrushes that have been around for a while
Taking a break from the leaf peeping, I checked out the lakes from the road. Ducks were arriving from the fields and in numbers. The arrivals were split 50/50 between the open water and the wet marsh. A cursory glance at the ones in the open, revealed a Black Duck with a very yellow bill. Switching to the scope and I could see that there were clear black spots at the base, but it was still a Black Duck. I suspect that this bird had a wandering mummy or daddy as there are some features associated with Mottled Duck there, well at least from the neck up there are.
It was be in good company. The web-footed gathering included the regular Canada x Snow hybrid goose and a Mallard x Northern Pintail that looked very much like last year’s bird.
Nearer home, well in fact at home, yesterday was Dark-eyed Junco arrival day with 30-40 making little grey carpets as they picked up the seeds. Our little feeding area also had a Hermit Thrush, looking a bit confused as to what it should be doing. That made 76 species in the garden this year so far. I’m expecting the redpolls to show up this year so we might nudge past 80, a list that has no House Sparrows or House Finch on it.
Back to the duck and here are few shots plus a real Mottled Duck from our Texas trip this year.