For those of you who wish to skip my verbal ramblings, our complete list of species is below.
Well, if wasn't windy and threatening rain all morning then this wouldn't be our annual Oka trip. And, right on schedule, a late morning downpour set in shortly after our arrival at the La Grande Baie boardwalk. This just as we were settling into what would surely have been the best birding of the trip. At least your leader did not end up being alone this year as a total of 13 birders showed up for the morning. Temperatures (17C) were pleasant throughout the trip.
We began the morning at the beach on an auspicious note as one of the first birds seen was a Common Loon flying by. Two black-bellied plovers and 5 Semipalmated Plovers were also present with three other shorebirds which, because of scopes vibrating in the wind and poor lighting conditions, kept us guessing their ID's for quite some time. In the end, mostly by process of elimination, we decided that they most probably Baird's Sandpipers.
We then took a walk through a wooded area leading to Lac de la Sauvagine, a small pond in the center of the park. The forest was fairly quiet with the exception of one pocket of mixed passerines which again because of poor light were more difficult to identify but included chickadees, nuthatches, several warbler species, some flycatchers, a creeper and a golden-crowned kinglet. The lake had a group of hooded mergansers, gadwall, green-winged teal, a cormorant and several Greater Yellowlegs. Its edges also produced our only sparrows of the trip.
We then proceeded to La Grande Baie under very gray skies and as we approached the water through the trees we saw a great deal of white. Our first thought was that a group of snow geese must be present. It was a great surprise when we had a good view and realized we were looking at Great Egrets. A total of 45 were feeding in the shallow waters along with 24 Great Blue Herons. Numerous shorebirds were also feeding very close to the boardwalk. Unfortunately, before we could survey the whole area properly for ducks and more shorebirds the rain set in heavily and combined with the stiff breezes put an end to our birding day. For this reason, the numbers for ducks and shorebirds given below are very low in comparison to what was probably present because we simply did not get a chance to scan and count properly.
The Great Egrets were surely our bird of the day simply because of their numbers.
Thanks to everyone who came out for an enjoyable morning and I would recommend a trip to La Grande Baie at this time as conditions there are very interesting! - Wayne Grubert
Our complete list of 46 species included: Canada Goose – 50, Wood Duck – 20 (includes a group at the “sewage treatment ponds"), Gadwall – 22, American Wigeon – 6, American Black Duck – 12, Mallards – 100, Blue-winged Teal – 30, Green-winged Teal – 12, Hooded Merganser – 7, Common Loon – 1, Double-crested Cormorant - 1, Great Blue Heron – 26, Great Egret – 47, Turkey Vulture – 6. Northern Harrier – 1, Black-bellied Plover – 2, Semipalmated Plover –12, Greater Yellowlegs – 8, Lesser Yellowlegs – 3, Spotted Sandpiper – 1, Semipalmated Sandpiper – 22, Least Sandpiper -8, Baird’s Sandpiper – 3 (probable), Pectoral Sandpiper – 2, Ring-billed Gulls – 50 (includes a group at the “ sewage treatment ponds’), Great Black-backed Gull -1, Caspian Terns – 2, Belted Kingfisher – 1, Hairy Woodpecker – 2, Northern Flicker – 1 (8 seen in one tree before official start to trip), Pileated Woodpecker – 1, Eastern Wood-pewee – 3, Eastern Phoebe - 1, Blue Jay – 8, American Crow – 10, Black-capped Chickadee – 20, Red-breasted Nuthatch – 4, White-breasted Nuthatch – 4, Brown Creeper – 1, Golden-crowned Kinglet – 1, Magnolia Warbler – 1, Yellow-rumped Warbler – 6, Black-throated Green Warbler – 1, Bay-breasted Warbler – 1, White-throated sparrows– 4, American Goldfinch – 6
Also seen in the area before official start to the trip Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2, Red-tailed hawk – 1, Merlin – 1, Raven – 1, Mourning Dove – 8, Red-winged Blackbird - 50
Bernache du Canada - 50, Canard branchu - 20, Canard chipeau - 22, Canard d'Amérique - 6, Canard noir- 12, Canard colvert - 100, Sarcelle à ailes bleues - 30, Sarcelle d'hiver - 12, Harle couronné - 7, Plongeon huard - 1, Cormoran à aigrettes - 1, Grand Héron - 26, Grande Aigrette - 47, Urubu à tête rouge - 6. Busard Saint-Martin - 1, Pluvier argenté - 2, Pluvier semipalmé -12, Grand Chevalier - 8, Petit Chevalier - 3, Chevalier grivelé - 1, Bécasseau semipalmé - 22, Bécasseau minuscule -8, Bécasseau de Baird - 3 (probable), Bécasseau à poitrine cendrée - 2, Goéland à bec cerclé - 50, Goéland marin -1, Sternes caspiennes - 2, Martin-pêcheur d'Amérique - 1, Pic chevelu - 2, Pic flaboyant- 1 (8 vu dans un arbre avant le début officiel de voyage ), Ggrand pic - 1, Pioui de l'Est - 3, Moucherolle phébi - 1, Geai bleu - 8, Corneille d'Amérique - 10, Mésange à tête noire - 20, Sittelle à poitrine rousse - 4, Sittelle à poitrine blanche - 4, Grimpereau brun - 1, Roitelet à couronne dorée - 1, Paruline à tête cendrée - 1, Paruline à croupion jaune - 6, Paruline à gorge noire - 1, Paruline à poitrine baie - 1, Bruant à gorge blanche - 4, Chardonneret jaune - 6
également dans dans le secteur avant le début officiel du voyage: Épervier brun - 2, Buse à queue rousse - 1, Faucon émillerlon - 1, Grand corbeau - 1, Tourterelle triste - 8, Carouge à épaulettes - 50