What a perfect day to be out birding. Sunny, little humidity, temperature around 20 degrees. We could not have asked for better. One word of warning to anyone planning this same trip in the near future. If you are allergic to ragweed, be prepared. There are substantial amounts of the weed at all four sites. In addition to the birds, there were plenty of butterflies and dragonflies to be observed as well throughout the day.
Today's outing saw 13 birders visit 4 of the eastern Ontario sewage lagoons; St-Albert, Embrun, Casselman and St-Isidore. As we arrived at the St-Albert Lagoons we had a feeling it was going to be a great day. Our first birds of the day included no less than a Short-billed Dowitcher, a Wilson's Phalarope and a Red-necked Phalarope, all within a few feet of each other!
We spent close to 2 hours at each of the lagoons, finding a variety of birds at each. We had one major puzzle of the day, that being at the 6th of the 7 cells at the St-Albert Lagoons. There was on-going debate throughout the day as to whether a bird we saw diving off in the back corner of this cell could have been a Red-necked Grebe. Even with several well experienced birders and a battery of spotting scopes, there was much discussion on the identity of the bird we saw diving and resurfacing numerous times. Its stays underwater were quite lengthy.
There were some who believed we were looking at a hooded merganser; others convinced we had the Red-necked Grebe. You'd think with all the eyes upon the bird that we could have come to a definitive ID, but we could not, so it remains the mystery of the day, and the one that got away! Also possible that some, were just looking at a different bird. As they ID what appeared to be the only bird at the cell, after the main goup moved on, after pointing it out. Just an example of how tricky birding can be sometimes.
So here is our list of species for the day. Numbers for many species are just rough estimates. Our total count was 59 species, with the 60th possibly being the disputed Red-necked Grebe.
Canada Goose 8, Wood Duck 50, American Black Duck 2, Mallard 50, Blue-winged Teal 12, Green-winged Teal 10, Hooded Merganser 3, Pied-billed Grebe 4, Red-necked Grebe (in dispute)!, Great Blue Heron 1, Turkey Vulture 12, Osprey 1, Northern Harrier 7, Sharp-shinned Hawk 1, Red-tailed Hawk 1, American Kestrel 1, Merlin 1, Peregrine Falcon 1, Virginia Rail 1, Common Moorhen 20, Semipalmated Plover 3, Killdeer 3, Lesser Yellowlegs 12, Spotted Sandpiper 3, Semipalmated Sandpiper 6, Least Sandpiper 20, Baird's Sandpiper 1, Short-billed Dowitcher 1, Wilson's Snipe 1, Wilson's Phalarope 1, Red-necked Phalarope 1, Ring-billed Gull 3, Rock Pigeon 4, Mourning Dove 24, Yellow-billed Cuckoo (heard only), Chimney Swift 6, Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1, Belted Kingfisher 1, Eastern Phoebe 2, Eastern Kingbird 1, Blue Jay 4, American Crow 12, Common Raven 2, Tree Swallow 75, Bank Swallow 6, Cliff Swallow 4, Barn Swallow 24, Black-capped Chickadee 1, American Robin 2, Gray Catbird 1, European Starling 40, Cedar Waxwing 5, Yellow Warbler 1, Yellow-rumped Warbler 3, Savannah Sparrow 2, Song Sparrow 12, Bobolink 24, Red-winged Blackbird 12, American Goldfinch 30, House Sparrow 8
Bernache du Canada 8, Canard branchu 50, Canard noir 2, Canard colvert 50, Sarcelle à ailes bleues 12, Sarcelle d'hiver 10, Harle couronné 3, Grèbe à bec bigarré 4, Grèbe jougris (en litige)!, Grand Heron 1, Urubu à tête rouge 12, Balbuzard pêcheur 1, Busard Saint-Martin 7, Épervier brun 1, Buse à queue rousse 1, Crécerelle d'Amérique 1, Faucon émerillon 1, Faucon pèlerin 1, Phalarope de Wilson 1, Phalarope à bec étroit 1, Goéland à bec cerclé 3, Pigeon biset 4, Tourterelle triste 24, Coulicou à bec jaune (entendu seulment), Martinet ramoneur 6, Colibri à gorge rubis 1, Martin pêcheur d'Amérique 1 , Moucherolle phébi 2, Tyran tritri 1, Geai bleu 4, Corneille d'Amérique 12, Grand Corbeau 2, Hirondelle bicolore 75, Hirondelle de rivage 6, Hirondelle à front blanc 4, Hirondelle rustique 24, Mésange à tête noire 1, Merle d'Amérique 2, Moqueur chat 1, Étourneau sansonnet 40, Jaseur d'Amérique 5, Paruline jaune 1, Paruline à croupion jaune 3, Bruant des prés 2, Song Sparrow 12, Goglu des prés 24, Carouge à épaulettes 12, Chardonneret jaune 30, Moineau domestique 8