Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Series of Birding 2009 - Trip #5 Report

7 birders headed out to Yamachiche and Maskinongé, north-east of Montreal, towards Trois-Rivieres this morning, recognizing that the forecast of a 30% chance of rain also means a 70% chance that it won't! The odds were on our side as we spent a full morning with a mix of cloud and sun plus a cooling breeze to take away some of the humidity.

We were greeted by a good sign for the day; a Red-tailed Hawk perched in a tree adjacent to the parking lot. This was an indicator of a good day ahead.

We were also surprised to find a brand new addition to the Pointe de Yamachiche site. A very impressive and lengthy raised boardwalk has been recently installed. It heads off to the right off the path, not far from the parking lot. It begins by winding through a forested area that, based on the muddy ground below, apparently is inondated with water during the spring months. The
boardwalk then splits off into two directions, both arms leading to raised areas overlooking marshy areas on the shore of Lac St-Pierre. This is a very impressive addition to this excellent birding site.

The trail leading down to the sandy shore along the lake is now quite
narrow with lots of high vegetation overgrown on both sides. Once at the waterfront, again heavy growth of vegetation is now covering what used to be a wide open sandy and rocky area. The water level on the lake is also quite elevated. Still we were able to see substantial numbers of Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, a few Spotted Sandpipers, one Greater Yellowlegs and a nice mix of Black Tern, Common Tern and Ring-billed Gulls. Somewhat surprising was the almost total absence of ducks. Photo of least sandpiper, click to enlarge T. Long

The wooded trail did offer up large numbers of Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroats and Song Sparrows.

After a little more than three hours of exploring Pointe de Yamachiche we headed west towards Maskinongé to check out two substantial marshes running parallel to Highway 40 on the north side. These marshes were featured on Jean-Pierre Pratte's Quebec birding sites webpage. A warning to all here. Pratte's maps present seemingly easy access points to various observations points on the marsh. Roads on his maps, plus on the Quebec road map, are barely roads which
lead to the marshes. They are dirt roads which seem to act primarily as service roads for farmers in the area to access their field. Areas indicated with a "P" for parking areas are nothing more than slightly wider clearings along side the dirt roads. Turning around to return on these roads can be an adventure as I found out first-hand as I backed in to a spot that turned out to be a mud patch. With five people pushing, we finally succeeded in getting out, but not without the back tires kicking up a massive amout of mud which unfortunately found its target on a number of the people behind the van! It looked like they were paying tribute to the upcoming 40th anniversary of Woodstock with all the mud and surrounding farm fields!

Take note that what appear to be walking paths on Pratte's map surrounding the marshes are actually covered with thick, heavy over-growth. These marshes do appear to have a lot of potential but certainly accessing them is far from as easy at it appears on the maps.

One interesting and somewhat surprising sighting of note at the marsh was a pair of Snow Geese, one adult, possibly injured, together with a dark young bird.

So, with our adventurs of today behind us, we focus on today's species list. We completed the day with a very impressive 57 species. Thanks to those who attended, particularly for taking the muddy episode in stride, with a sense of humour - Sheldon

Here is our species list for the day.
Snow Goose (2)
Mallard (40)
Blue-winged Teal (1)
Pied-billed Grebe (5)
Double-crested Cormorant (60)
American Bittern (2)
Great Blue Heron (6)
Great Egret (10)
Black-crowned Night Heron (1)
Turkey Vulture (6)
Northern Harrier (1)
Red-tailed Hawk (2)
Killdeer (1)
Greater Yellowlegs (1)
Spotted Sandpiper (6)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (16)
Least Sandpiper (4)
Ring-billed Gull (30)
Common Tern (6)
Black Tern (30)
Rock Pigeon (40)
Mourning Dove (6)
Belted Kingfisher (1)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (2)
Downy Woodpecker (2)
Northern Flicker (1)
Eastern Wood-Pewee (3)
Great Crested Flycatcher (6)
Eastern Kingbird (6)
Warbling Vireo (2)
Red-eyed Vireo (3)
Blue Jay (4)
American Crow (12)
Tree Swallow (40)
Barn Swallow (6)
Black-capped Chickadee (6)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2)
Marsh Wren (1)
Veery (1)
American Robin (8)
Gray Catbird (6)
European Starling (6)
Cedar Waxwing (8)
Nashville Warbler (1)
Yellow Warbler (40)
Black-and-White Warbler (1)
Ovenbird (1)
Common Yellowthroat (12)
Chipping Sparrow (2)
Savannah Sparrow (1)
Song Sparrow (50)
Swamp Sparrow (12)
Red-winged Blackbird (30)
Common Grackle (6)
Baltimore Oriole (2)
American Goldfinch (12)
House Sparrow (1)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

j`habite berthierville sur les berges je prend des photos quotidiennement de hérons

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