31 March 2007

Today we saw ...........

Today was a gloriously sunny day with mild temperatures and lots of birds worth going out to see .... 31 species in all with very little effort and couple of them real stars.

We headed off for St-Thimothée where we were greeted by a chorus of loudly squabbling Red-winged Blackbirds interspersed with raucous cries of the Common Grackle.







More melodious calls came from a large number of Song Sparrows starting to set up territories and call in the ladies ... needless to say the one that was best positioned for a photo sat on a power line rather than a shrub.



These were all very fine birds, but the main reason for going to St-Tim was to seek out the famous Great-horned Owl that has set up home in an old heron nest and, right on cue, there she was merrily incubating her clutch quite unconcerned by the surrounding Great Blue Herons who seemed equally unruffled by the owl's presence. The heronry is way out in the marsh and even with over 1000mm of lens of my camera this was the closet image I could get so I have ringed the site of the nest for anyone wishing to follow in our footsteps and then blown up the owl for you to appreciate :





There was barely a moment in the four hours we were in the area that Canada Geese were not flying overhead ....



Leaving St-Tim we stopped by the bridge to St-Louis-de-Gonzagues to check out the bay where some nice Scaup and Common Mergansers as well as a small flight of Common Goldeneye and a pair of Green-winged Teal on an ice flow, were swimming amonst a group of geese and very close to a small flock of Homo stupidicus who were out ice-fishing. "Hello, guys, it's melting, those geese by your feet are on open water !"



At that moment a large ship trundled down the canal ......... happily its name was "The Puffin" so we were debating whether or not we could claim that as a tick too?



Our last port of call was at Hungry Bay where a large raft of Canada Geese not far from shore was keeping itself quite separate from an equally large raft of Snow Geese further out in the bay. Swimming amongst them were both sorts of Scaup as well as Common and Hooded Mergansers and just possibly a (far out in the bay) Canvasback is someone else would like to go and check.



So - a good day and we were all packed away, scope and binoculars stowed in the boot of the car and engine running when the sun went out, a huge shadow drifted over us and J squeaked "wozzat?". That was an immature Bald Eagle that settled on a tree along the canal path but not quite long enough to get the camera out again and leg it down the track close enough to take a sharp photograph ..........



.... before taking off and flying north over the canal towards the western end of Valleyfield. A very satisfying end to the best day's birding yet this year.





...... but lastly, we pathologists have to take our pleasures where we can find them, it's remarkable what you find when the snow finally departs :



We've earned some drinks tonight.

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