For those who were lucky enough to be able to get out and enjoy it, this past week has been an "historic" one for weather and great for birding.
At the spring hawkwatch at Eagle Crossing near Valleyfield (St. Stanislas de Kostka), the eagle flight certainly lived up to the name. From last Sunday until yesterday, Mabel McIntosh and I recorded exactly 100 eagles, 67 of which were Golden Eagles (Aigle royal), 31 were Bald Eagles (Pygargue à tête blanche) and two were unidentified as to species (unfortunately, no readable company names on their fuselages!) The highest one day eagle total was 29, recorded on Tuesday. When we add in the numbers from earlier in the month, the number of eagles "ticked" is raised to 121. This is by far the largest number seen by this date in past seasons. The 90 Golden Eagles seen to date this season is just 1 short of the previous record set two years ago, and we still have nearly 2-1/2 months of the hawwatch season yet to go! As to whether we will break the record is not in question, but it looks highly likely that we will break the 100+ Golden Eagles, per season, barrier. If so, this would follow on from the first 100+ season of Bald Eagles that we recorded last year.
We typically count most of our Bald Eagles from late March through to late May so we have many yet to see. Some birds are currently staging in the Chateauguay valley of New York and there are now several locally nesting pairs of Bald Eagles, including at least two in extreme SW Quebec. Much has changed since we began our counts in 1980 when, for the first decade, eagle counts for both species were typically in the single digits for the entire season.
BPQ and it's members have long been valued supporters of the Montreal hawkwatches. Thank you from both of us. Come out and join us sometime if you can. - Bob Barnhurst