2022 – Another Year of Birding

As a new year starts I like to make a note of the birding “ticks” from the year just coming to an end. Here goes for 2022 … a couple of days early but I don’t expect anything new between now and the weekend.

First, it’s important to note that these are not the bird lists of an avid and competitive birder. I don’t twitch though I have had my moments in the past of doing Big Years, Big Days and everything in between. I was a founder struggler in the groves of Green Birding and still own the greenbirding.ca domain name if anyone would like to make me an offer for it? Free to a good home.

Apart from a once a year vacation focussed on wildlife – Iles-de-la-Madeleine this year – I am really a patch birder and rarely go more than a few cycleable or walkable kilometres from home any more. On the other hand that means I have more time to spend on actually spending time with birds rather than ticking and rushing off to find more. Works for me anyway.

And so … here are some highlights from 2022. Nothing earth shattering, but a lot of pleasure gained.

  • Total species observed – 112 (all in Quebec)
  • Species seen away from home – 64 (Iles-de-la-Madeleine)
  • Species in the garden – 65 (last year 76 – life list 119)
  • Species seen at the MB0 – 33 (note – all winter species from December to March)

At which point, it is traditional to propose the “Bird go the Year” … this is pretty subjective, but perhaps”

Bird of the Year – this is a tie between a group of 33 White-winged Scoter on the sea off Old Harry in the Iles-de-la-Madeleine on 20 June and an unexpected Black-headed Gull on 23 June at the northeastern end of the islands in some brackish pools (pictures of both species below)

Garden Bird of the Year – I know they are gradually becoming more frequent in this area, but the prize goes once again to a couple of Carolina Wrens seem intermittently during the year.

Bonus Birds – after putting this post together we were pleasantly surprised on 30 December while doing our route on the Hudson Christmas Bird Count, to be able to add a Northern Shrike and a small flock of 11 Eastern Bluebirds to the west of Montreal, birds which really ought to have been long gone but they looked to be in fine fettle.

Enough of the words – time for some photographs …

Savannah Sparrow – the Iles-de-la-Madeleine are truly their kingdom, you can barely move for seeing the little fellows

Black and White Warbler

Black-headed Gull

White-winged Scoter

Common Redpoll