Lasalle & Verdun
Good morning everyone, I was "pinch hitting" for Diane Demers on yesterday's excursion. Hope you are feeling better Diane. We could have used your exceptional spotting skills! Yesterday's field trip to Parc des Rapides in Lasalle produced what has become an all too common refrain of late from many of the 24 participants, "maybe next week will be spring." Temperatures struggled to reach the freezing point by the end of the morning and a strong breeze with a definite northerly component caused severe attrition in our numbers. By the time we found a small patch of shoreline out of the wind near the Douglas Hospital only about eight of us remained.
The birds also think it is still winter with only 26 species confirmed and 3 other "probables." (These I upgraded from "possibles" on further reflection during the drive home. Rank has its privileges) We could not decide on a "bird of the day" (although seeing all the herons on their nests is always a treat) so the small group that was left at the end of the trip decided to break from tradition and name a mammal of the day. As we stood on the shoreline near the Douglas Hospital a seal broke the surface of the water directly in front of us about 40 metres away. It stayed in the immediate area cruising the shoreline and diving for fish for the last 20-30 minutes of our outing. At times it seemed as interested in us as we were in it. None of us were experts in seal ID so we could not name the species with any degree of accuracy. But it was an interesting sighting. We all hope it finds its way home. (A mink loping along the bank at the park gave us good views but only ranks second on our mammal list for the day.)
Our complete list of 26 (+3) avian species: Double-crested Cormorant - 2, Great Blue Heron - 40, Great Egret - 8, Turkey Vulture - 2, Snow Goose - 60, Canada Goose - 400+, Gadwall - 2, American Black Duck - 5, Mallard - 50+, Greater Scaup - 50, Lesser Scaup - 10, Common Goldeneye - 60, Hooded Merganser - 10, Common Merganser - 12+, Bald Eagle - 1 (probable; high over Heron Island soaring away), Red-shouldered Hawk - 1 (probable; uncooperative by flying straight away and never turning), Peregrine Falcon - 1 (probable; again far out over the island), Ring-billed Gull - 100+, Herring Gulls - 10+, Great Black-backed Gulls - 12+, Downy Woodpecker - 2, American Crow - 24+, American Robin - 6, European Starling - 24+, Song Sparrow - 4, Northern Cardinal - 4, Red-winged Blackbird - 50+, Common Grackle - 12, House Finch - 4
Cormoran à aigrettes - 2, Grand héron - 40, Grande Aigrette - 8, Urubu à tête rouge - 2, Oie des neiges - 60, Bernache du Canada - 400 +, Canard chipeau - 2, Canard noir - 5, le Canard colvert - 50 +, Fuligule milouinin - 50, Petit Fuligule - 10, Common Goldeneye - 60, Harle couronné - 10, Grand Harle - 12 +, Pygargue à tête blanche (probable) - 1, la Buse à épaulettes (probable) - 1, le faucon pèlerin (probable) - 1, Goéland à bec cerclé - 100 +, Goélands argentés - 10 +, Grands Goélands marins - 12 +, Pic mineur - 2, Corneille d'Amérique - 24 +, Merle d'Amérique - 6, Étourneau sansonnet - 24 +, Bruant chanteur - 4, Cardinal rouge - 4, Carouge à épaulettes - 50 +, Quiscale bronzé - 12, Roselin familier - 4
Many thanks to all who braved the elements and came out. Jean and Clémence have promised better weather for next week or your money back! And a special note to young Samuel, I promise to stop calling you Daniel. (Although Daniel was really good at spotting birds!!) - Wayne Grubert