Monday, May 12, 2008

Duck dip

In keeping with the Universal law of chaos, two good birds appeared in Quebec the very weekend that we had guests from Europe. The first, a male Garganey was, by all accounts, awkward to see but quite getable. The second was an addition to the Quebec list, a Common Pochard.

Common Pochard is a bird I know very well and so when the opportunity arrived, a week after its discovery, we went off early to St-Barthelemy. Typically it was not where it had been the day before so we set about searching all areas. The main floods to the south of highway 40 were the only place where we found any aythyas but the light was rubbish and it was hard to make out any detail on the Redheads present. One bird was slightly smaller but features were just impossible in the heat haze and over the distance.

We saw a few birds though including a Greater White-fronted Goose but had to accept that the views of the probable Common Pochard were just not tickable. Only later the same day did a birder we met there reveal, via email to OrnithoQuebec, that the Common Pochard was present with the Redheads where we had looked but that you needed to ask permission to cross a field, I wonder why he never mentioned this when we saw him later after he'd seen the bird, he knew we'd been looking, he'd even asked me whether we had located it.

It might stay a bit longer but the water level will drop quickly and getting to and from St-Barthelemy from the west of Montreal on a weekday is a pain in many regions.

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