Year’s End Birding Comments

A friend of mine, one of the two best birders I know and a chap who has devoted his life to getting out looking at birds has published his annual birding round-up on his blog. [It’s a good read - here]. He is guilty of sparking me to write the following thoughts on some comments he made on different approaches to birding. I am focussing on this paragraph:  "Non-birders and birder-lite’s don’t appreciate what [...]

By |2018-12-29T14:55:01+00:00December 29th, 2018|birding, birds|0 Comments

The Copse – First Anniversary (+ some birds)

Last May, constant readers will recall, I wrote here ( about the start of a project in the Arboretum to plant and develop a so-called "Copse" of trees and shrubs that will bear a constant crop of native fruits for wildlife. As we went into winter the plantings had been completed, paths and a boundary had been defined and laid and there were even berries on the winterberry bushes to feed birds and small [...]

By |2018-05-16T15:34:17+00:00May 16th, 2018|arboretum, birds, flowers, montreal, spring|0 Comments

Reed Bunting … or in Canada perhaps a Sparrow?

Last week we were in England and while there were able to enjoy a visiting female Reed Bunting ((Emberiza schoeniclus) at a friend's feeder array. That's its picture above. Coming from Canada where there really are no "real" sparrows and where most so-called Sparrows are taxonomically Buntings, like the featured lady here, you could probably be forgiven if, catching only a quick glimpse, you thought that you had just seen an errant Song Sparrow in [...]

By |2018-05-11T17:43:58+00:00May 11th, 2018|birds, photography|0 Comments

Ready for the Purple Martins

Together with Jean Demers from Bird Protection Quebec this morning we lowered and cleaned out the Purple Martin house on the lakeshore grounds of the Baie-D'Urfé town hall and prepared it for the soon to be returning birds. This PUMA "condo" was donated to the town three years ago by BPQ and is an important addition to the support system for these vulnerable birds. The featured picture heading this post shows the tenants living [...]

By |2018-04-23T10:56:55+00:00April 23rd, 2018|Baie-D'Urfé, birding, birds|0 Comments

“Our” Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrows are not the commonest of the sparrows around here. Normally they pass through the area in a 10-14 day burst in spring and then back again after breeding. They nest in the forests north of Montreal. Numbers reported are usually quite low ... they normally start to build up about now and then are through and gone by the start of May. Occasional birds are seen during winter if and where they [...]

By |2018-04-19T21:10:07+00:00April 19th, 2018|Baie-D'Urfé, birds, garden|0 Comments

Listing … but at the same time, not listing

As I roar down the home straight to  achieving seventiness on the other side of summer, I have to make a dreadful admission. I'm a biologist. I'm a birder. I keep lists, because, well LISTS! That's what the above two groups do and anyway, I like lists. But somehow I am not quite so consumed by the ticks as I once was ... I will always keep lists because the good statisticians at eBird [...]

By |2018-04-11T15:13:27+00:00April 11th, 2018|birding, birds|0 Comments

A birder’s lot is quite a happy one

With Apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan When a birder’s not engaged in his employment Or revising his life-listing special plans His capacity for innocent enjoyment Is just as great as any honest man's Our froze-toes we with difficulty smother When feeder filling duty’s to be done We take one consideration with another A birder’s lot is quite a happy one Featured Image (Click to enlarge)

By |2018-01-08T12:05:27+00:00January 8th, 2018|arboretum, birding, birds, MBO, snow, winter|0 Comments

First Birds of 2018

Whether or not this is a good omen only the "Merchants of Woo" can tell me, but I was up and out at dawn this New Year's Day to photograph the sun rising over the St-Lawrence River in Baie-D'Urfe (temperature around -24C ... I suffer for my art and birds) when the first birds of the year appeared. Two American Crows flying directly out of the rising sun across the frozen river and calling [...]

By |2018-01-01T15:15:20+00:00January 1st, 2018|birding, birds|0 Comments

Christmas Eve doing good …

Christmas Eve and our first shift of the winter filling the bird feeders at the banding station. A couple of friends and we two have divided the next three months up so that the feeders are replenished a couple of times a week at least between now and the end of March when, hopefully, spring will be in sight and regular banding/censusing can restart. Today was simply beautiful at -10C (so not too cold) [...]

By |2017-12-31T14:50:07+00:00December 24th, 2017|arboretum, birds, MBO, winter|0 Comments

Mesozoic Birds (with video)

Here's your thought for the day ... Tyrannosaurus rex had feathers and has been described as the "20,000-pound Roadrunner from Hell" . Last year at around this time I took a short online course (University of Alberta Palaeontology Department via Coursera) on the subject of how birds evolved from feathered dinosaurs. Of course, I had known about this for years but hadn’t got into the subject in any depth. Quite fascinating and a [...]

By |2017-11-26T15:16:24+00:00November 26th, 2017|birds, palaeontology|0 Comments