This awful February, the coldest on record for those that missed that salient fact, has been rather restricting. eBird ran a 20 checklists from your patch in February thing, not in Quebec in February my friends. Now for March they have 20 checklists including wildfowl, are they having a laugh? The ice everywhere is so thick that I doubt we will see much water in March anywhere. The only upside to the freeze will be the plethora of dead fish that will bob up at St-Lazare pits once it does thaw. Turkey Vultures and Bald Eagles on standby, the good times are a coming.
My V-D woes relate to my continued attempt at a Vaudreuil-Dorion big year, well actually Vaudreuil-Solanges but it doesn’t have the same comic connotations as VD now does it. We may well be trying to sell the house and leave Quebec at present but that doesn’t mean you give up. So I’ve been keeping my birding to within the boundary as much as possible this year but it has been hard going. There are few, if any dedicated (free) walking trails kept open anywhere worth birding. If you want to cross-country ski they are there for you, all nicely flattened on the rates but they are not supposed to be for us. As it is, in the Pimade I just use the ski trails politely but will argue back when somebody with planks strapped to their feet inevitably squeals.
Speaking of high-pitched and pointless noises. The Base de Plein Air at St-Lazare, now fully under the city’s jurisdiction, is playing shite pop music for the people there during the day, isn’t that nice in a country setting. To rub salt in the wound, every day in term the place is full of kids (and pop music) who should be in class learning what awesome actually means and when it is appropriate to insert the word ‘like’ into any sentence, rather than pratting about in the snow. Anyway, why should I be surprised, the shite music is probably part of the city conservation plan which will, and I quote “save our trees and water”. Good intentions, yes, but what about saving enough trees in one place to form some sort of usable habitat for wildlife? The only water we have is in private sand pits and the like so I don’t know where they are coming from with that, it’s like, crazy. Most likely they mean the stuff we drink, which you would think would be a given to conserve.
There was a time when I would direct energy at these little problems, the music, the keeping ATVs off sensitive bits and trying to explain how best to balance the destructive expansion programme we are under, and the needs of our beleaguered wildlife, but I can’t be bothered here, now. I asked the City environment woman (lower case E) to put a stop to the ATV access to the seasonal pool at the west end of the pits but she had done bugger all last time I checked. Again, I shouldn’t be surprised really, these people are not naturalists and don’t understand enough to care. As it is, the barrier to the site has been open all winter, despite me locking it once. I’m not sure what they are up to, perhaps they have decided to dump snow off the roads down there or do something else equally unsuitable and likely to wipe out the only viable population of River Bluet in Quebec.
I think I’m turning into a grumpy old man (go on, say it, what do you mean turning into!).
Now for something a little more cheery. I was surprised and delighted to see that the Baie Brazeau guide has been downloaded 72 times, it would be nice to think that a few people are tempted to take a look at the site for themselves. It’s catching up with 57 Varieties in terms of downloads (125). The St-Lazare sand pits guide has been plucked 247 times and the Snowy Owl thing 280. It’s nice that they are all proving so popular, it makes the effort in producing them worthwhile.
So the V-D year list is standing at 45 species, rubbish really, even the Bohemian Waxwings have wandered off. It will get better just as soon as the birds start heading back and we can get out properly. Until then I’ll keep plugging away. Maybe next month eBird will do a ‘checklists with Mosquito bites thing’, we’d be in with a chance!
Just to remind you of the Vaudreuil-Solanges recording area, here is the map again.
And a random bird for the look of the thing.