Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bird Protection Quebec's Field Trip Report - January 19th, 2008

Montreal: Given the bone-chilling cold and frigid winds of past January outings to Parc Jean Drapeau, today's outing was downright pleasant! Sunshine, light winds and a temperature of around -3 made for a very pleasant walk around both Ile Notre-Dame and Ile Ste-Helene this morning for 17 birders. Bird life on the islands was quite quiet today, with a final total of 16 species. More on that in a moment.

We even finished the morning in flat-out comfort as we were warmly welcomed in to the ground floor reception area of the Biosphere where bathrooms and vending machines with hot coffee awaited us!

Our target bird of the day was the Townsend's Solitaire which has been putting in appearances on Ile Notre-Dame for a few weeks now. Our search, as a group, came up empty but upon returning home and sitting down to write up this report, I was happy to find the following e-mail from Steve Charlton.

"Congratulations, Sheldon - you can now put the Townsend's Solitaire (Solitaire de Townsend) on the trip list! You might use the following words ..after our group moved on, I stayed behind and continued to look for it. I eventually found it not far from where we had been looking as a group.

Actually I flushed it about a third of the distance going from the Concord Bridge to the totem pole, on the left. It flew across the frozen stream and dove into a group of conifers on the other side. The sighting wasn't a particularly rewarding view, but as I had seen the bird before out West, I recognized it. As I was watching for it to re-emerge, Pierre Bannon's group came along and joined in the hunt by walking around the group of trees, catching only fleeting glimpses of the bird for the first 10-15 minutes. I guess the bird decided that it was hassled enough, because it suddenly flew out into fullview and perched on a dead snag. At that point, everyone had about as good a view as was possible in the poor light. I left the group watching the bird and taking pictures, to see if I could find you guys again, but when I got back to the parking lot, mine was the only car left. Anyway you can now add it to the trip list...A few of our group actually decided to return to the area after the formal field trip came to an end. No doubt we'll hear from them later as to whether or not they were successful.As for the rest of our sightings, here is the list.

Mallard, Common Merganser, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull,Rock Pigeon, Downy Woodpecker, American Crow, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, EuropeanStarling, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch and House Sparrow.

Thank you to all who participated and congratulations to Steve for his persistence being rewarded with the Solitaire sighting.

Next week out to the wilds of Ste-Marthe, St. Clet and Ste-Justine. Hope to see you there.


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