We went to Ile-Bizard nature park this morning to see what’s to be seen. The place was almost empty when we got there but interestingly, by the time we left what was to be seen, apart from birds which I shall come to shortly, were five or six couples like us – identical white bearded chaps carrying camera/tripod/scope each accompanied by female partner with binoculars. It would seem that we have started a trend.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Black-crowned Night Heron

Hot and brightly sunny on the boardwalk, which is closed three-quarters of the way along due to a collapse. It will probably take them several years to fix this and meanwhile the only way to reach the park beyond the closed sector is to drive round to another gate and walk a couple of kilometres. A nuisance, to say the least. They will probably plead shortage of funds or something, but this is important.

The usual birds for this time of year when things are slowing down and the young are being taught how to fend for themselves were around. Bird of the day was a flying Black-crowned Night Heron (#117) closely followed by Pied-billed Grebe (#118) and Marsh Wrens (#119). Three Green Herons performed and plenty, plenty Tree Swallows swooped and wheeled and made photography tricky, though I got some flight shots eventually.

One Pied-billed Grebe repeatedly would run across the water surface (see photos). These birds are a lot like Loons in that they have heavy bones and rear-set legs and so are better underwater than in the air, a place they try to avoid going. Nevertheless, running across the water is what they do to get up to take off speed, it’s just that he decided not to go through with it each time. I wonder why? The heron collection was made up to three with a Great-blue later in the morning flying along the river bank. Many Gray Catbirds.

33 species in all – with three new ones for the year patch list. Some turtles and two colours of wild iris. J saw a black Mustelid crossing the trail at one point that appeared to be carrying one of its kits. A very pleasant morning.

Final note – Ile-Bizard is not completely within my self-imposed 8km circle but is congruent with it and is certainly a west-island birding spot. What’s more the western end falls within my circle and IMHO the eastern end where the nature park is found “ought” to.  I doubt I will ever get there other than by car, distance is much of the reason for that but the roads I would have to take are a bit risky on a bike, but I think we will take a leaf from Mr Putin’s play-book and simply absorb it “for now”. This means that this year I am listing within the “circle with a bulge”, the west island, the green/bigby route and the arboretum as defined territories. The game evolves.