The weekend after next I am leading a field trip for Bird Protection Quebec and wanted to do some trail finding as the second site that we will be visiting is somewhat un-mapped to put it mildly. For that reason we set off mid morning, well after the ideal time for birding. The sun was shining and the day heating up … and at the beginning of October too. A strange year for weather.
The first mistake was to drive along Ch. St-Marie as it is still being re-tarmaced and there were delays. On the other hand this allowed us excellent static views of a pair of Red-tailed Hawks tumbling and “playing” with each other in the air over the Mac-farm fields. That needed a video camera.
After making our way past the road works we turned north along Ch. Anse-a-l’Orme to find that it too had had its surface stripped off and another delay was necessitated. Clearly that stretch of road will not be suitable for our convoy of cars to park along on the 12th so a red line has been crossed through any idea of entering the trails that run alongside the stream bordering the road. Hard to know why the Canadian road-construction industry always seems to start work in the fall when they have had all summer to get down to things and then fails to do their job in an orderly and helpful manner …. grumble, grumble, grouse, grouse.
Next we made it to the bay at the Anse-a-l’Orme nature park where we added a couple of Great Egrets and 95 Canada Geese to the day’s list. Calming down at last and with birds under our belts we finally headed off for the main objective of the trip. No pictures of the geese (do you need any?) but here is an idea of how the bay looks – good place to go canoeing from, by the way.
The fields south of the Cap-St-Jacques nature park will one day be a housing estate but right now are abandoned and wild and full of weeds and wildlife and plenty, plenty birds. there are almost no trails other than those created by the deer which is good as it ensures spotty oiks and their noisy children and yappy dogs stay away leaving the fields for discerning people like us to enjoy. As noted in a recent posting, I have only really “discovered” their potential recently but they are a little gem … once you can bush-whack your way into them. The map below shows roughly the sector we walked in – we had intended to cover more of it but the birding made us go slowly and then hunger intervened – must go back again after the weekend.
And here are a few images of the sort of territory it is …. entry is gained by a private road (I have permission) beside a school leading to, and petering out at, an airfield for model aircraft enthusiasts.
There being lots of shrubby bushes, a few trees and plenty of scrubby grassland this is paradise for Sparrows. Most likely those that are there are just passing through at this time of the year but you can pretty well stand still and let them come to you. There were five species of sparrows, four warblers and the same two American kestrels I saw last week – but this time doing the tumbling in the air business that the hawks were doing when we set out earlier (see above). They were pretty much in the same place as last week too. The commonest birds, by far, were yellow-rumped Warblers which came close enough for the small camera I was carrying to get some pictures of them in their fall plumage.
The list for the day was as follows …. and following that some bird photos. I like this place – scruffy, neglected and full of life … though I imagine that come the spring when things wake up again and I HAVE to visit it will be cold and wet and hard going getting in there; today it was a delight.
Cooper’s Hawk 1
American Kestrel 2
Least Flycatcher 1
Blue Jay 1
Black-capped Chickadee 16
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
American Robin 2
Common Yellowthroat 2
Northern Parula 1
Yellow Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 25
Chipping Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 2
Fox Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 3
Lincoln’s Sparrow 1
OK – here are the Yellow-rumped Warblers: