Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017, du og jeg var skuffede over hinanden

And that's before wind chill...
Bird of the year! Black-backed Woodpecker Picoides arcticus, Mont-Tremblant, July 31, 2017
American Woodcock Scolopax minor, Mount-Royal Cemetery, May 2, 2017
Gray Jay Perisoreus canadensis, Fôret Montmorency, February 26, 2017
Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus, Mount-Royal Cemetery, June 29, 2017
Wood Thrush Hylocichla mustelina, Mont-Saint-Bruno, July 12, 2017
Saltmarsh Sparrow Ammodramus caudacutus, Sandy Neck, Cape Cod, June 19, 2017
  I was planning to get out and do a bird-sweep through the cemeteries today, to keep in line with a self-imposed New Year’s birding tradition I’ve stumbled into over the past few years ( Do something twice and it’s a tradition, innit. In light of the snot-freezingly, Tauntaun-slashingly frigid arctic air mass that has gripped the area with its mailed fist - I’m out. Personally, I could layer up and weather through it, but I’m not keen to subject my optics to a -30 torture test, just to check a box.
  2017 - what a year. It was the fastest year ever, and also the longest. Normally I’d say “I want that year back,” but eff that. Good riddance. There were some birding highlights though, which I will use to reassure myself that the year wasn’t a complete write-off. I got to really know not only the Mount-Royal Cemetery, but also the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery. That less sexy of the two cemeteries gets overlooked by birders, but has some great little scraps of habitats tucked away. One of the year's biggest cemetery surprises was probably the American Woodcock I spotted there in the spring (and the ones glimpsed in fall!). Another recent cemetery highlight was crossing paths with some Red Crossbills in November. As was the case during my first experience with the species, I failed to capture an image, heh heh.
  I got a much better feel for the wood-warblers in the cemeteries, in both spring and fall plumages. I also saw my first Black-billed Cuckoos there, and figured out where they hung out all summer - even saw a juvenile, woo-hoo.
  I was lucky enough to go on some memorable birding trips, notably several with the McGill Students' Birding Club down in southwestern Québec, and also a trip up to Fôret Montmorency near Québec City, with its rock star Gray Jays and Boreal Chickadees.
  A July trip north of Montreal revealed a long-sought-after Black-backed Woodpecker – my bird of the year. My first Wood Thrush since the 80s was also a welcome summer sight, on a mountain south of the island. I picked up more long-awaited species on trip to Cape Cod in June, with Saltmarsh Sparrows standing out in my mind. Speaking at the Congrès QuébecOiseaux in October was also a real hoot.
  Where will 2018 lead? Well, if the coin-toss comes up in favour of continued human life on Earth (instead of thorough nuclear armageddon), then I’ll get outta Dodge. Wherever I end up, I’ll be carrying on with my wacky birding scribblings, and hopefully some more of it will get published. And I'll try to get out birding a few times.
  Be nice to one another.

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