Sunday, April 17, 2016

St-Louis-de-Gonzague/Marais St-Timothée, April 16, 2016

Birding with the crowd
Spent the morning reeding
Marais St-Timothée
Marais St-Timothée
Gadwall Anas strepera
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe
Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
  Bleary-eyed and disoriented like a newborn giraffe when Dan showed up at the ungodly hour of 8:30, I stumbled into Dan’s trusty Prius yesterday morning.  We headed back to St-Louis-de-Gonzague to re-try our luck with the vaunted Pink-Footed Goose.  Once again, the goose did not fail to disappoint, with not even a hint of the 3,000 Snow Geese it conspires with.  Headed north perhaps. 
  We ran into a large group of birders from a Vaudreuil birding group there, and followed them to the nearby Marais St-Timothée (marais = swamp).  Swamps are such lovely places, I’m not sure why they get such a bad rap.  We spent an agreeable couple of hours picking through the ducks hiding amongst the stumps, and enjoying the bounty of those cavorting metallic cigars, the Tree Swallows.  The Vaudreuil birding gang were truly a cheerful and welcoming bunch of folks, hopefully our paths will cross again further down the road.  I do still find it a bit surreal to be around so many other birders, after birding in Korea for so long, a land where each birder is issued their own province.
  On the way back to Montreal, Dan slammed on the brakes as a large flycatcher zipped across the road.  I quick-deployed like a member of some tooled-up birding SWAT team, and ran back to follow the bird to the tree where it landed.  I heard it first – Eastern Phoebe!  It perched there pumping its tail like a shrike, and I managed to get a crappy record shot, as this was a lifer for me (I know, right?).  
  The key problem with this otherwise-joyous situation was that the tree in which it was perched happened to be in the front yard of a farm house.  This particular farm house featured a massive pick-up truck in the driveway, and a front yard littered with the toys of a young child.  And here I am, some random scruffy guy dressed in green running up and lurking out front, aiming a big camera in the direction of the house.   I saw movement behind the curtains then heard a door open, so I made a calm retreat back to the car.  As I walked back I swear I heard the faint sound of a pissed-off Paul Bunyan-type racking a shotgun shell into the chamber.   Or was it just the wind?  I made a show of waving my field guide around to show Dan what I'd seen, hopefully the international gesture for harmless birder (as opposed to deranged highway peeping tom).  A reminder to never break one of the unwritten rules of birding – never point optics at someone’s residence.
  In other news, I’m headed to Prévost tomorrow for a few days of music and birding – should be awesome!  Hopefully some early migrants will be passing through.

Pied-billed Grebe – 1 heard
Great Blue Heron – 3 on their nests
Great Egret – 1
Canada Goose – 65+
Mallard – 5
Gadwall – 1 pair
Northern Shoveler – 1 pair
Redhead – 1 pair
Ring-necked Duck – 3
Hooded Merganser – 1 pair
Common Merganser – 6
Turkey Vulture – 3
Northern Harrier (‘Busard Saint-Martin'?!) – 1
Red-tailed Hawk – 1
Killdeer – 1 heard
Ring-billed Gull – 10+
Rock Dove – 4
Mourning Dove – 1
Belted Kingfisher – 1
Hairy Woodpecker – 1
Eastern Phoebe – 1
Blue Jay – 1
American Crow – 3
Tree Swallow – 35+
Black-capped Chickadee – 1
American Robin – 4
Cedar Waxwing – 3
European Starling – 10+
American Tree Sparrow – 3
Song Sparrow – 12+
Dark-eyed Junco – 6
Red-winged Blackbird – 20+
Rusty Blackbird – 3
Common Grackle – 12+
Brown-headed Cowbird – 1

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