The first of January and the first day of the Big Year of Birding in Quebec ……. our first bird of the year was an American Crow and this was by far the commonest bird we saw all day …. but before getting down to birding lists, please admire the rosehip-breakfasting squirrels in our garden earlier today. the upper one (“Stumpy”) has almost no tail and by rights should be unable to leap through the tree tops but he has been around for months and gets fatter by the day. Anyway – the birding ….

We had decided that a Snowy Owl would have been a good first day bird but despite spending a long time in prime habitat where we know they had been seen only a couple of days prior, nary a one was to be seen. No matter, we shall catch up later and we presume that the melting snow and freezing rain overnight may have moved them on for a spell. We did see lots of Euro-Starlings of course – these guys were in the garden (yes, J is competing in th garden list category so nothing is wasted) but there were plenty elsewhere …..

Without a doubt, the bird of the day was the Snow Bunting, a number of which we caught up with on the western side of Ste-Marthe while looking for snowies. A really gorgeous bird and one that moves aorund a lot so you do have to take your chances with them.

Including the the above, our day list comprised a modest 11 species – the others being House Sparrow, Rock Pigeon, Cooper’s hawk, Morning Doves, Black-capped Chickadees, Blue Jays, Ring-billed Gulls and Black-backed Gulls. Frankly, we spent so long looking for owls we didn’t have time for other species.

And why didn’t we go after the sad and lost Black-throated Gray Warbler of Ile-Ste-Helene? Because (a) it was “downtown” and (b) it is by no means classifiable as a Quebec native bird and we’d like to confine ourselves to birds that are supposed to be here ….. later in the year our standards will slip but for now that’s the intention, to keep ourselves “pure”.

One day down, 364 days left to go.