Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bird Protection Quebec's Field Trip Report for Saturday April 4th

11 birders joined in on a cloudy, damp and rather cold morning in Verdun – Lasalle. Despite depressing forecast from the previous night, the rain only started at the end of the trip.

On our first stop we visited Parc des Rapides, LaSalle. From there we counted 42 Great Blue Herons standing on the nests on Heron Island. A birder from the group (Daniel Ouellette, who was also my unofficial co-leader!) also spotted a Great Egret flying over that island, which we all enjoyed watching, being the first of the year for most of us. We also heard a few Tree Swallows and saw groups of two and 10 later on, flying over the St-Lawrence, which we presumed where also of the same species.

On our second stop, we parked on Crawford Street, Verdun. From there we walked along the St-Lawrence River until we reached Douglas Hospital. Most of the diving ducks of the trip were seen there. A group of 21 Buffleheads was much appreciated, but overall, the ducks seen at a reasonable distance were pretty scarce. Most were far away on the middle of the river and difficult if not impossible to identify correctly. With much effort we also spotted the only
Cormorant of the day, half hidden on the biggest rock west of Nuns' Island. On about the same date last year, there was still a fair amount of ice along the river banks, but now the ice had all melted down. Interestingly, three Pine Siskins (heard by Daniel) were observed high in the trees along Crawford.

On our last stop, we parked on rue de Gaspé, Nuns' Island. From there, we had access to the trails covering the woods. Right from the start, we spotted the male Red-bellied Woodpecker that spent the winter there. The bird was up on a tree trunk and was very silent. But while we were all enjoying watching it, the bird gave one strong call. We didn't get the Carolina wren, but heard and saw a Winter wren. A Killdeer was also heard (thanks to Daniel), as well as two
Eastern Phoebes, nine Golden-crowned Kinglets, and then time came for us to leave.

An interesting encounter happened as we stopped for a woodpecker, tapping. We couldn't find the bird until we realized that the bird was inside the tree, only visible through a hole, that it was transforming into a nesting hole most probably. As the bird stuck its head out and thenflew to a nearby tree, we were able to identify it as a Hairy Woodpecker.

Here is the list of the 41* species encountered:
Double-crested Cormorant (Cormoran à aigrettes) (1), Great Blue Heron (Grand Héron) (48), Great Egret (Grande aigrette) (1), Canada Goose (Bernache du Canada) (15), American Widgeon (Canard d'Amérique) (2), American Black Duck (Canard noir) (1), Mallard (Canard colvert) (20), Ring-necked Duck (Fuligule à collier) (4), Greater Scaup (Fuligule milouinan) (14), Lesser Scaup (Petit Fuligule) (2), Bufflehead (Petit Garrot) (21), Common Goldeneye (Garrot à oeil d'or) (40), Common Merganser (Grand harle) (12), Killdeer (Pluvier kildir) (1), Ring-billed Gull (Goéland à bec cerclé) (100), Great Black-backed Gull (Goéland marin) (3), Rock Dove (Pigeon biset) (9), Mourning Dove (Tourterelle triste) (2), Red-bellied Woodpecker (Pic à ventre roux) (1), Downy Woodpecker (Pic mineur) (7), Hairy Woodpecker (Pic chevelu) (2), Eastern Phoebe (Moucherolle phébi) (2), American Crow (Corneille d'Amérique) (12), Common Raven (Grand corbeau) (1), Tree Swallow (Hirondelle bicolore) (16), Black-capped Chickadee (Mésange à tête noire) (8), White-breasted Nuthatch (Sittelle à poitrine blanche) (5), Brown Creeper (Grimpereau brun) (2), Winter Wren (Troglodyte mignon) (1), Golden-crowned Kinglet (Roitelet à couronne dorée) (9), American Robin (Merle d'Amérique) (15), European Starling (Étourneau sansonnet) (25), Song Sparrow (Bruant chanteur) (40), Dark-eyed Junco (Junco ardoisé) (4), Northern Cardinal (Cardinal rouge) (4), Red-winged Blackbird (Carouge à épaulettes) (150), Common Grackle (Quiscale bronzé) (1), House Finch (Roselin familier) (3), Pine Siskin (Tarin des pins) (3), American Goldfinch (Chardonneret jaune) (4), House Sparrow (Moineau domestique) (14).

Finally, we took time to stop for all sorts of bird encounters, enjoyed all the
birds seen and had great fun. I personally enjoyed that morning spent in great
company. Thanks to everyone for coming. - Diane Demers

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