Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Down by the Baie

Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis

Muskrat...I mean Ruddy Duck

Redhead Aythya americana

Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata

Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris

Gadwall Anas strepera

Black Tern Chlidonias niger

Black Tern Chlidonias niger

Just a Black Tern doing Black Tern things

Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia
(Honestly...)

Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor

Young, confusing Tree Swallows - change my mind!
The ruddy one on the left is weird, for sure...

Young Tree Swallows show a faint
(Bank Swallow-esque) breast band and a white throat...

Common Gallinule Gallinula galeata

Marbled Godwit Limosa fedoa

(Note the Marsh Wren song at 0:04)



Baie-du-Febvre, June 20, 2022

  Drove out Baie-de-Febvre on the weekend with Lead-foot Levtchouk and Raf, in search of a couple of rare shorebirds. The bird of the day for me was the surprise Ruddy Duck at the water treatment pond. I guess I’d never seen a male in breeding plumage like that, but I was blown away. That’s a helluvan amazing Technicolor dream-bird. It reminded me of a Muskrat when it dove. It was also a treat to get close looks at some of the other waterfowl that had assembled there, including Redhead, Northern Shoveler, and Ring-necked Duck.

  Some young hirundines preening on a roof showed an interesting variety of confusing plumages, from a Bank Swallow-esque dark breast band, to decidedly Barn Swallowy rusty underparts (Pretty sure some folks were mistakenly listing Bank Swallows on eBird because of these birds). Online, it was suggested they were young Rough-winged Swallows. OK…then why do they both have white throats? I believe them to be young Tree Swallows. Why is one of them rusty? Couldn’t tell you. If you have an alternate ID for these birds, please leave a comment.

  The target rarities were almost an afterthought, in my mind. The Black-necked Stilt was just a blurry fever dream, shimmering on the horizon through the scope. The Marbled Godwit was cool to watch, as it strutted through a flooded farm field at a leisurely pace.

  To add fuel to George’s contention that I don’t know how to use my camera, I did make a notable gaffe when it came time to get a pic of the Marbled Godwit. I tried to photograph the full moon the other night, and I left my settings on…’nocturnal.’ I was so dozy when it came time to prepare my camera bag for the trip, I forgot to check the settings. So the record shots of the Marbled Godwit came out more like police artist’s sketches than photos. Oh well, I’m no photographer, never claimed to be.

  As always, I enjoyed watching terns in action. It was mostly Black Terns, swooping the swamps, as well as a distant Caspian Tern out by the trailer park area. Terns out I probably captured a ridiculous 4-pixel-wide image of a Bonaparte's Gull in the background of one of the Caspian Tern record shots. The day ended with 59 or so species, and one moving violation.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Dickcissel Twitch

Dickcissel Spiza americana






  What did you just say?

  Drove out east towards the townships for a Saturday twitch with George. In the lovely, sunlit uplands near Dunham, a lone male Dickcissel sang for a mate that will never arrive. Kind of sad, actually.

  So, where did the name come from, you may ask? From its song, apparently. Dick dick dick…cissel? Anyway, the first few notes sounded like Song Sparrow to my ear.

  Dickcissel, yay!

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Veery Nice

Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum

Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum

Veery Catharus fuscescens

Veery Catharus fuscescens

Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia

Swamp Sparrow Melospiza georgiana

Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula

Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula

American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla

American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla


Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia

House Wren Troglodytes aedon

Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia

Canada Goose Branta Canadensis

White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus

European Common Blue Polyommatus icarus

Forest Tent Caterpillar Malacosoma disstria

A fish that sparked much debate - not a Bowfin...

Yuck bubbles





Reserve Faunique Marguerite-D’Youville, Île Sainte-Bernard, Châteauguay, May 26, 2022

  Muggy and buggy at D-ville the other day, and leafy to boot. Feels like the winds are almost out of spring’s sails. All in all, the day felt like a bit of a dream. A hazy daze. I dunno. You had to be there.

  After 7 hours of P.M. birding, the day ended with 74 species. That total surprised me, as it felt like more of a 50-species day.

  Nine warbler species were logged – many of these species were low-number migrants on the tail end of the bell curve, while with the resident breeding Yellow Warblers and American Redstarts were evident in big numbers.

  It was a treat to get excellent looks at species that are usually quite skulky, such as Veery and Brown Thrasher. Brown Thrashers always struck me as a ‘tropical-looking’ bird, if that makes any sense.

  A Black-billed Cuckoo was heard, not seen (as is tradition), and Wilson’s Snipes could be heard winnowing at dusk, over the eastern edge of the Grande Digue. What else? I bought a hat. Stop the presses. I wonder if any crazy late-spring provincial rarities will show up in the next week...

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Parc des Rapides, May 16, 2022

Common Tern Sterna hirundo

Common Tern Sterna hirundo

Common Tern Sterna hirundo

Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus

Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus

Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus

Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula

I didn't know Downy Woodpeckers could spell...

Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus

Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia

Yellow Warbler Setophaga petechia

Palm Warbler Setophaga palmarum

Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias

American Wigeon Anas americana

Gadwall Anas strepera

Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullates

Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator

Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta

Common Garter Snake Thamnophis sirtalis



Went for a 3-hour morning bimble at the Parc des Rapides yesterday. Got some FOY birds, 38 species total. Was surprised by the lack of warbler diversity.

I really do love Common Terns - all terns, really. They look like Japanese tattoos, or art deco hood ornaments.

What else? The weather is cooling down, and it seems like rarities are finally showing up in the province.