These past couple of days a lost Lark Sparrow has been filling blanks in Quebec life lists out Princeville way. I knew it was a rarity in Quebec, but one that turns up almost annually, or in recent years at least. When I looked at eBird this morning and saw who had been for it, there was a strong clue that an available bird was well worth making the effort for, even if it was a bit of a drive to get there.
The list of Quebec birds at http://www.oiseauxqc.org/details.jsp?no=9159 gives 63 records although that list is such an odd mish-mash that the figure is only tentative. Anyway, I went despite snow and other tribulations. The bird is on a very minor little rang (road) that has not been gritted or salted and so is entertaining to negotiate with only two-wheel drive van. Just as I was thinking it might not be the most sensible thing I’ve ever done I came across a small group of birders watching the sparrow in an adjacent field. It was a bit distant, hence the record shots below.
After a short while, the Lark Sparrow and some recently found friends, three American Tree Sparrow got up and flew off along the road, we follow. It had gone about 250m, had lost the sparrow friends and had decided to do some road grovelling, perhaps taking on fine grit for digestion. Those of us that had followed stayed a respectable distance, not even within record shot range, hoping to edge a bit nearer for clear shots. Unfortunately a Northern Shrike was not so polite and chased the exotic meal around trees and out of sight. I didn’t see either bird after it had gone behind some trees so perhaps the shrike is sat on the ground with a large sparrow shaped stomach, unable to take off, or, the Lark Sparrow used some of its southern cunning and avoided capture, I hope so. Half an hour later and I’d have missed it, hence to post title.
On the way back home I came across a flock of Bohemian Waxwings at St-Cyrille-de-Wendover, they, along with the Lark Sparrow, were additions to my North America year list.
If you are a new visitor to this site, or have yet to explore properly, then take a look at the links on the side bar. There are two free eBooks, ‘Snowy Owls’ and ‘A Site Guide to St-Lazare Sand Pits’ – ok, the latter title ,might only have limited appeal but the owl stuff is good. There are also two excellent birding books about year listing twitching, ‘Going for Broke’ and ‘Twitching Times’. Each cover is a link to the page for the relevant book on Smashwords. While at the Smashwords site recently I noticed an intriguing book about killer Beavers, which sounds so ridiculous I might just take a look at it.