Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bird Protection Quebec's Field Trip Report for Saturday January 17th

St-Clet Area Field Trip Photo by Panamon_Creel Click photo to enlarge

For those of you who just want species and numbers feel free to skip to the end of this report!

The weatherman gave us a bit of a break from the relentless cold and winds of the past few days and with temperatures hovering at a balmy -18 to -20 C twelve intrepid individuals set out in a birding convoy through the flatlands around St-Clet, Ste-Marthe, Ste-Justine and St-Polycarpe. An occasional light snow flurry and haze made viewing conditions less than perfect but an unusual utter lack of wind in the area made the morning very tolerable for scanning the area.

Snowy owls were the birds-of-the-day and although most of the sightings were of distant birds their sheer number made up for the lack of many close encounters. We believe we had as many as 7 different individuals in the area, the closest of which was a dark young bird sitting on a silo. Many of the others were like ghosts in the mist on far away tree tops, hydro poles or sitting in fields. It made us wonder how many might be seen out there under ideal conditions.

Honourable mention goes to 15 gray partridge in three different groups some of which amused us with their abilities to run at high speeds across the fields. Seven of these birds seemed to have been "beamed in" à la Star Trek as they magically appeared out of the snow and corn stubble directly in front of us while we watched several more distant individuals.

Another interesting find was a group of approximately 25 horned larks at a feeder.

The group ended the trip by visiting the snow bunting "feeding station" mentioned in Betsy McF.'s e-mail yesterday. It did not disappoint. We estimated the number of birds at about 1000 but this is a true "guesstimate". Two lapland longspurs were seen amongst the horde. The buntings are easy to find. Start in St-Clet and travel southwest on Highway 340 for 5.5 km toward St-Polycarpe. The birds are on the left, feeding on...something in piles.... just at the edge of some trees. Be careful stopping as this is a busy road and there is a blind hill behind you. You could possibly park on Chemin Ranger which is just a little farther along on your left and walk back.

Our complete list of 18 species included: Gray partridge (Perdrix grise) - 15, Cooper's hawk (Épervier de Cooper) - 1, Rock Pigeon (Pigeon biset) - 100, Snowy owl (Harfang des neiges) - 7, Downy woodpecker (Pic mineur) - 1, Northern shrike (Pie-grièche grise) - 1 (Thanks for the spot, Virginia) (Or "Yes, Virginia that really is a northern shrike." (Sorry couldn't resist!)), Blue jay (Geai bleu) - 20, American crow (Corneille d'Amérique) - 24, Common raven (Grand Corbeau) - 4, Horned lark (Alouette hausse-col) - 30, Black-capped chickadee (Mésange à tête noire) - 12, European starling (Étourneau sansonnet) - 15, Lapland longspur (Bruant lapon) - 2, Snow bunting (Bruant des neiges) - 1200, Common redpoll (Sizerin flammé) - 60, Pine siskin (Tarin des pins) - 12, American goldfinch (Chardonneret jaune) - 10, House sparrow (Moineau domestique) - 100

Many thanks to all who came out for a very enjoyable morning, Wayne

No comments:

Nature Blog Network