Saturday, March 01, 2008

Bird Protection Quebec's Field Trip Report – March 1st

Grenville: Today's trip in the Grenville area had been billed as an exploratory trip, the first in an occasional series of trips we will be having. It lived up to its name.

The snow was obviously a deterrent as far as number of participants was concerned. Including co-leaders Jacques Bouvier and Martin Bowman,, the trip began with 8 birders, but soon the road conditions led to 2 people deciding to return to Montreal post haste.

We had hoped to bird up chemin Scotch north of Grenville, but that plan had to be abandoned as the road had not been cleared of snow. The weather conditions certainly were challenging with heavy snow for much of the morning (though it finally cleared near noon). The temperature was around -6 degrees Celsius.

With the leaders plans scotched as it were by this lion of a March 1st, the trip began to live up to its name for real as Jacques and I set out on roads that we hadn't scouted north and east of Grenville in Argenteuil County. The departing two some certainly brought luck as is so often the case. Up till then only American Crows had been encountered. The next bird, which was missed by the co-leaders!, was an adult Bald Eagle in low flight over the 2 vehicles of the 4 remaining participants. Ultimately, this bird was chosen as Bird of the Day despite some real competition.
We took a concession road and found what we came later to realize was the only feeder station in Argenteuil County! No wonder there were birds there, including a textbook Hoary Redpoll that took the collective breath away. A little further along the same road, Jacques thought the habitat looked good, and so we stopped. Soon a bird was found hidden in a conifer and, with some difficulty, we were able to get an identifying look at an adult White-throated Sparrow.

Then came a long period of birdlessness in beautiful country. If only it had been a good year for winter finches!

We ended the trip by the Ottawa River, at first in Grenville and then in Hawkesbury. The river added 5 species for a respectable total of 19 species. The totals below are for Quebec birds unless otherwise noted.

Thanks so much to Jacques Bouvier for his superb birding and guiding and to everyone who came out to make something of a discouraging morning. It turned out to be a very good trip.

Merci beaucoup!

Species with totals: Canada Goose - 3 (in Ontario), Common Goldeneye - 1, Common Merganser - 3 (in Ontario), Bald Eagle - 1, Great Black-backed Gull - 1, American Herring Gull - 5, Rock Pigeon - 8, Mourning Dove - 1, Downy Woodpecker - 2, Hairy Woodpecker - 2, Black-capped Chickadee - 20, White-breasted Nuthatch - 1, Blue Jay - 17, American Crow - 4 (2 more in Ontario), Common Raven - 2, Common Redpoll - 6, Hoary Redpoll - 1, White-throated Sparrow - 1, Dark-eyed Junco 5


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