Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Siberian Weasel

Dramatic Weasel
Siberian Weasel Mustela sibirica
Siberian Weasel Mustela sibirica
  I went rummaging through some old folders from Gageo Island, as I'm known to do from time to time, and came across these adorable bandits. These tube-mice. These rusty slink-cutes. These nub-muzzled ink-eyed fur-pipes.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, Vermont, USA, November 26, 2016

Foggy Vt
Ominous Missisquoi
Shrike country

Burlington hummural
Northern Shrike Lanius excubitor
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
  I tagged along on a last-minute trip to Burlington on the condition that there would be some birding involved. The highlight after a few hours at rainy Missisquoi was a Northern Shrike, vomiting then catching a small mammal and flying off with it. It was a novel wrinkle to be birding in a location where hunters blasted away the whole time from all sides.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Towhee, or not Towhee...

Fa la la la la, la la la la
Beaver Lake
Dan being a goofy-ass
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Drunk Eastern Grey Squirrel

  ...that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the dips and twitches of looming snow squalls...ah, never mind.
  Dan and I showed up a day too late to catch up with an Eastern Towhee on Mount Royal. It was discovered by Montreal patch-birder extraordinaire Jean-Sebastien Mayer on Tuesday.
  On the plus side, we saw a drunk Eastern Grey Squirrel, hee hee!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Gray Jay tipped to be Canada's bird

 Photo © Patrick Williams

  Superb choice for Canada's bird, in spite of 'outrage' and confusion over the pick - the public poll results favouring Snowy Owl and Common Loon were thrown out, and the the Gray Jay was chosen unilaterally by Canadian Geographic. Well played, I say - seems we can't always leave important decisions in the hands of the plebs, eh wot? ;)
  Now I'll have to go find me one 'round here this winter.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Ile Saint-Bernard, November 5, 2016

Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
American Tree Sparrow Spizella arborea
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens (or is it toothpaste?)
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
Northern Green Frog Rama clamitans
Northern Leopard Frog Lithobates pipiens
White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus
Dan triple-checks the scoter
Lovely Grande Digue

  Saturday saw Dan and I make a triumphant return to lovely Île Sainte-Bernard, and its superb array of habitat. Under heavy clouds we walked the trails until our backs ached, which happens faster than it did a few years ago. The undisputed star attraction was a ridiculously gorgeous Carolina Wren. The bird appeared at our feet appeared as if by sorcery, while we stood preoccupied watching the antics of nearly tame Black-capped Chickadees and White-breasted Nuthatches. It posed and called from quite close, before bizarrely flying up into what looked like an old squirrel’s nest. High on the list of spectacular birding moments, that one. 
  The numerous American Tree Sparrows by the Grand Digue were a treat to watch as they vocalized and chased each other around. A distant scoter had us scratching our heads, but turned out to be a Surf Scoter. Probably. Two Mallard pairs were seen performing head-bobbing displays. Several White-tailed Deer, Muskrats, and lethargic frogs were also seen.

Reserve Faunique Marguerite-D’Youville, Île Sainte-Bernard, Châteauguay, November 5, 2016
Double-crested Cormorant – 1
Great Blue Heron – 1 flyby
Canada Goose – 27
Mallard – 46
American Black Duck – 3
Green-winged Teal – 17
Surf Scoter – 1 near Pointe Nord
Common Goldeneye – 5 flyby
Hooded Merganser – 8 flyby
Red-breasted Merganser – 7
Red-tailed Hawk – 1
Falcon sp – 1 chasing a Red-bellied Woodpecker
Ring-billed Gull – 5+
Rock Dove – 45+
Mourning Dove -1
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 1 male
Downy Woodpecker – 6+
Hairy Woodpecker – 1
Pileated Woodpecker – 1 heard
Blue Jay – 3
American Crow – 3
Black-capped Chickadee – 50+
Brown Creeper – 1
White-breasted Nuthatch – 12
Carolina Wren – 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 3
American Robin – 75+
Bohemian Waxwing – 2
European Starling – 2
Northern Cardinal – 4
American Tree Sparrow – 14 at Grande Digue
Song Sparrow – 4
Fox Sparrow – 1
White-throated Sparrow – 5
Dark-eyed Junco -2
Red-winged Blackbird – 3
American Goldfinch – 10