Just across the Ile-aux-tortes bridge that takes the TransCanada Highway off Montreal island is a growing out of town shopping complex. Between those stores and the highway is a lot of flat land and a deep ditch filled with rushes and cat-tails that must also be filled with rodent life … perfect for Snowy Owls, in fact, and a few have been seen there this winter. Part of this mall is just within the boundaries of the circle and so I took myself off there to try to get a circle tick for the species.

Well, I failed. You will have read or experienced the unusually cold – even for this area – winter we have been having. Today it was -15C (almost -30C windchill) and pretty damned bitter out there, Consequently, although there are certainly owls around they were keeping their heads well down – even the shoppers had not come out and I had the place pretty much to myself and a gang of Rock Pigeons … which I already have on the year list

I did manage to pick up a circling Red-tailed Hawk though, a new tick for the year (species #20 and on-patch) so all was not wasted. The Snowies will have to wait for another day.

Red-tailed Hawk