Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Morgan Arboretum
Thirty five birders met at the Arboretum this morning under grey skies but in pleasant temperatures and thereafter walked 7 muddy kilometres in search of some moderately hard to find birds. At the moment the weather is mild, there is plenty of food about and the birds do not have to put in much effort to keep body and soul together - either that or they were simply being deliberately tricky to spot. By the end of the walk, nearing noon, we had shed a small handful of people and it was suggested that the bears had got them, but almost everyone made it to the end and they seemed to have smiling faces.
The route birded was from the conservation centre to the quarry, then on to the sugar shack, the corner of the orange and yellow trail junction (prime Red-bellied Woodpecker territory - but not today), Pullins Pasture and then the Blue trail anti-clockwise to the end of the pipeline at which point we crossed the fields above the highway and returned to our cars vis Pines Road. A long walk, with some wet stretches, but one that kept us away from dog walkers and bird-distrurbing crowds.
The birds of the day were in dispute (friendly dispute) and either a half dozen White-winged Crossbills or else a large flock of 80-100 Snow Buntings that over-flew us as we ended our walk not long after we had seen a single one in the field south of the arboretum. Two Red-tailed hawks were hunting, as expected,
along the highway and a third sat perched in a tree on the edge of the forest.
A Red-shouldered Hawk was heard but not seen. Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers were frequently on the other side of the tree but Pileateds kept appearing and were hard to miss - it would be interesting to know how many of these big birds live in the Arboretum, they always seem very plentiful. two Great-Horned Owls that have been regularly sighted in a fairly constant location recently decided our numbers were more than they could bear and they kept a discrete distance away - had we been there yesterday, however .... !
For all that, we counted 23 species plus an unidentified raptor that flashed through a gap in the forest too fast to put a name to. It was considered to be pretty good for a day like today. The list of species seen is given below.
Black-capped Chickadee, Pileated Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Blue Jay, Canada Goose, Mourning Dove, Ring-billed Gull, American Robin, European Starling, Common Grackle, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Goldfinch, Red-tailed Hawk, Brown Creeper, Dark-eyed Junco, Snow Bunting, White-winged Crossbill, Pine Siskin, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Mallard
Mésange à tête noire, Grand Pic, sittelle à poitrine blanche, Sittelle à poitrine rousse, Geai bleu, Bernache du Canada, Tourterelle triste, Goéland à bec cerclé, Merle d'Amérique, Étourneau sansonnet, Quiscale bronzé, Pic mineur, Pic chevelu, Buse à épaulettes , Chardonneret jaune, Buse à queue rousse, Grimpereau brun, Junco ardoisé, Bruant des neiges, Bec-croisé bifascié, Tarin des pins, Roitelet à couronne dorée, Canard colvert
This lengthy birding route would be an excellent thing to repeat during May migration when the number of species should be extremely extensive. Richard