Frying Friday

Friday it was 30°C so I took a walk around Baie Brazeau or Ruisseau a Charette de Baie Brazeau to use its full name. Regular readers of this blog will know that I ‘found’ the site last year and it has become a place that I enjoy visiting when I can. This year it is a free site; they have shut the art gallery and are renovating the old railway house. As I understand it birders can visit at any time and are free to walk the trail. If you want to go and take a look email then feel free, it is at 275, rue Interprovinciale, Pointe-Fortune, Québec. Type that in and Google maps will find it for you.

I arrived after 10.00 because I was mainly looking for dragonflies but I also wanted to see what had arrived in the marsh. Because of the late hour the bird song was limited but there were still plenty to see. Half away along the track I came across a close Ovenbird clattering away. After each burst of song a second song would strike up, quieter and seemingly warbler like. American Restarts seem to have many variations and I assumed it was that species but wanted a look, it was also interesting that it never sang until the Ovenbird had done its turn. I stalked and it sang, I moved and it moved and it took me ten minutes to get a view. The learning curve that is birding made me laugh when a male Indigo Bunting uttered the song while I watched. I’ve been seeing and hearing a ton of Indigo Buntings for about ten days and I have never heard one sing like this bird did, I even checked Blue Bunting just to be sure!

At the marsh I relaxed into the first viewing gazebo looking for the chattering Marsh Wrens and hearing a Least Bittern, only one though, last year there were three. There were no ducks on the lagoons and no herons on the marsh. Had this been Florida it would have been heaving with herons but it is not Florida, it is Quebec, still I think it reasonable to expect Great Blue and Green Heron s to join the skulking Leasts, the habitat looks great. Here are a few habitat shots.

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I didn’t take many photos, mainly because I had my odes camera and not the big one but I did snap a Red-eyed Vireo and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The vireo was interesting because it showed a cheek mark, not sure why but I’ve seen others with this mark. It was also curious that it and another were singing from adjacent tree on the trail that bisects open marsh. Normally they are in the canopy of the forested sections of the trail. To compound this curiosity I heard and then saw a male Scarlet Tanager sitting in a bare shrub in the middle of the marsh. It was only there for 20 seconds or so then it flew to one of the vireo tress and started singing, again well out of the normal forest habitat I expect from this species.

My eBird entry was for 39 species. I could probably have added to that significantly had I been there from 6.00am, something I intend to try this coming week.

Below the photos, I’m still learning how to use the camera and have found that I have to put up with occasional focussing problems that seem inherent to the model. Now I have the dilemma, do I take only the small camera with me the next time we go to the tropics or do I lug the big one around? I suppose if I can get a photo of one of my regular Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in flight with the Nikon I’ll have answered my own question.

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A Good day

Today I led a walk around a local site, Baie Brazeau. We were mainly looking for dragonflies but the birds always show up anyway and we ended up with 57 species which was not too bad. I managed a few photos along the way, a couple of Virginia Rails put on a nice show and a 2cy Bald Eagle spent a while showing off before dropping onto something hidden. We had obscured views of a Least Bittern and Marsh Wrens were chattering away everywhere. At one point an American Kestrel started to mob a Red-shouldered Hawk, either because it was in it’s territory or perhaps it fancied the snake it was carrying.

The dragonflies were pretty good, especially when a couple of us went to another site and found a first for Quebec, Comet Darner. There is a photo below of it and more on the dragonfly blog, link on the links list.

The Comet Darner.

Great Crested Flycatcher carrying a snack for the bebes.

Not a great shot but there is the American Kestrel, snake and Red-shouldered Hawk.

Great Spangled Fritillary – a touch of colour.

Virginia Rail in one of the very few gaps in the vegetation.