A gloriously sunny, but no too warm day was enjoyed by 16 birders who came on this morning’s BPQ field trip to the new Alfred Kelly Nature Reserve north of Montreal. We started from the station at Prévost, walked along the old Petit-train-du nord trackbed for a while and then turned off to the Prévost cliffs, checked the lake at their base and then continued into the forested hills above. All the time we were guided and saved from getting lost by Claude Bourque, who is president of CRPF – one of the other organisations involved in creating the new reserve and a locally based expert on the land who has been working hard to preserve the area for many years. Claude is anew, but a good friend of BPQ and we look forward to many future expeditions in his company.

Altogether we saw some 47 species of birds including 13 warbler species, Alder Flycatcher (seen and heard), Veery, Ravens and the stars of the show – Peregrine Falcons. As we approached the cliffs, the two adult birds flew in towards the nest site and put on an excellent ten minute show for us … landing on the nest (where there are young), perching on rocks and nearby trees so we could have good views and generally showing off. Spectacular birds. After we had visited the lake, we passed the cliff again and were treated to the sight of one of the adults coming off the nest to see away a Red-shouldered Hawk who was getting too close for comfort.

Up in the forest, Claude showed us a raven nest on a rocky outcrop – the adults were nearby and quite vociferous. Their young had fledged and left the nest some time ago and a Chickadee was prospecting the nest for nesting material of its own, happily turnng over tatty feather parts etc.

After luncheon some of us went north to the Piedmont end of the reserve to place BPQ sanctuary signs on the original Alf Kelly lands that we have owned for the past quarter century.

The birds seen today were the following … nobody had a bird-worthy camera with them but there follow some pictures of the land we visited that we hope will encourage others to come out on the next trip organised up there. There are extensive trail networks beyond the extent of today’s visit and Claude has offered to guide us aon 10km full day field trip next time we visit which will include a visit to the top of the cliffs as well.

A wonderful place and less than an hour’s drive. Very much worth visiting.

Wood Duck, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, , Alder Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Common Raven, Tree Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Winter Wren, Veery, American Robin, Gray Catbird, European Starling, Tennessee Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Pine Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, American Redstart, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat, Canada Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch

Lake at the foot of the Prévost Cliffs

Claude Bourque from CRPF

Small lake high in the forest

Stream north and west of the cliffs - warblers live here

Prévost Cliffs where the Peregrines live

The Peregrine nest is about in the centre of this area

Back at the station for luncheon we were entertained by a Jazz band - BPQ entertainment is better than the average birding club's

One of the new BPQ sanctuary signs in place on the original AK property

Birders wishing to visit some of the birds seen today may find the following maps helpful.  The first, a topographic map indicating the route walked and the relationship to the cliffs and lakes is of most use while the following one shows the route in relation to the approximate boundaries of the Alf Kelly reserve.

Field trip route - topographic

Route in relation to extent of the AK Reserve