Thursday, November 21, 2019

Crossbilled Traffic

Red Crossbill Loxia curvirostra

Getting after the slushy salt/grit pile

Pine Siskin Carduelis pinus
Northern Shrike Lanius excubitor
Rivière Noire
They were that close...
  George had a wacky scheme to wake up pre-dawn and drive two hours north to try to find some hard-to-find Red Crossbills that some fellow has been seeing in his yard. I’m in! After the drive up to the boreal splendour of Saint-Donat-de-Montcalm (near Tremblant), we met the fellow in question, the affable bird-man of the north, Pierre Martin. We first got onto a large flock of Pine Siskins, and after ten minutes or so, three Red Crossbills were spotted moving in a wide circuit around us. High-five! Little did we know, within an hour we would have an absurdly confiding flock of 16 Red Crossbills on the snow in front of us, as close as ten feet away. It was a breathtaking, surreal encounter.
  The birds were focused on getting after the salt/dirt clumps on the road, and would flush en masse every few minutes in response to alarm calls from jittery sentries. The colour range on the birds was remarkable, with all the shades of a traffic light, and every gradient in between.
  We stopped by Boisé Ste-Dorothée in Laval on the way back. The tactical owl SWAT team was out in force, beating the bushes for a Saw-whet Owl that was apparently seen there a few days ago. I overheard one lens bro’s aside to another: “There were 30 people here today looking for the owl, but no one saw it.” Can’t help but think that the two halves of that sentence may have a cause-effect relationship. Pretty quiet overall there, although a Northern Shrike was a welcome sight (with another probable from the road near Prévost). I’ll swear on a Sibley’s that I heard some crossbills there too. Gip-gip gip-gip!

George’s list from Saint-Donat (includes a sound recording for the crossbill-typing nerds out there):

George’s list from Boisé Ste-Dorothée:

No comments:

Post a Comment