Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beach Bums and Birds And Pointe-de-Chene

August 18, 2014  Shediac  Monsoon conditions, and it isn't warm either!

It isn't too far from Judy and Paul's to Cap Brule and  Pointe-de Chene. We don rain gear and head out, camera in hand, with lens wipes to remove raindrops.  When I was last here with Gershon, Paul assisted us in renting a cottage on the beach for a few days.  After our lobster expedition, it took a whole day to recover. We did see both Lesser and Greater Yellow-legs and Spruce Grouse right outside our door that time.

So I had great expectations for the return journey.

There were shorebirds on the mud flats. I could hear Yellow-legs too, but they were distant.  I was quite happy to see this Black-bellied Plover (above), still retaining some of its summer plumage, and the Semipalmated Plover, below.  On a previous visit to New Brunswick, we saw thousands of these birds on the mud flats of the Bay of Fundy.

Then, on the wharf at Point-de-Chene, a few Ruddy Turnstones were huddled up against the cold.  This one, like the Plovers above, still had much of its summer plumage. Hopefully I will get to see these birds again in their Fall plumage when I head to Chincoteague, Va.

On the way to New Brunswick, we did have one important stop, on August 15th, and 16th.

We were fortunate to get a room at Beaupre, Quebec, just east of Quebec City on the north shore of the St. Lawrence.  There are several attractions nearby.

The skiers love Mont Ste. Anne, one of the most desirable ski resorts in the east. The place we stayed is one of the skier condo communities.  It is an excellent choice for accommodation near Quebec City in summer.  Of course, there are also the Chutes Montmorency, the famous Cathedral at Ste. Anne de Beaupre, and, for me, the crown jewel, just moments away, the Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area.   The latter has been on my list of "must-see's" since 1968, and this was my first time there.

Cap Tourmente is spectacular.  The cape juts out into the St. Lawrence. It is a Canadian Shield escarpment many hundreds of feet high, rising out of the marshes as a granite cliff face, facing the river.  The cape, therefore, forms a natural barrier, with very large marshes between it and the river.  The microclimate is relatively mild, making this a great spot for stop-overs of migratory birds, and a nesting spot for birds one would not expect just a kilometer form the Canadian Shield.
 Two views of the Cape curving downward into the St. Lawrence,  with the wet meadows, filled with Joe Pye Weed, awaiting the 500,000 Snow Geese that use this location as a long migratory stop.

Below, a look northward to the granite cliffs.  Just as I took this photo, I noticed a mature Golden Eagle flying along the cliff face, too far for a photograph.

 Above, Red-Osier Dogwood .  And below, Joe Pye Weed, both common in the wet meadows.

Joe-Pye Weed (above) framed by the treed granitic cliff

High Bush Cranberry, Viburnum opulus,  is one of the frequently seen species in eastern Canada.  The berries are very sour, which may account for birds leaving them until all other types of berries are consumed.

The fruit of Red-Osier Dogwood, Cornus sericea, one of our most attractive native shrubs.  Plant one today!

I didn't expect to see this bird on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence.  It is a Common Gallinule, a bird I often see in the marshes in Florida.

The bird above gave me some identification challenges.  It is a young Hooded Merganser, hatched not too many weeks before this was taken in August..

The plant above, Angelica atropurpurea (purple-stemmed Angelica) looks much like Cow Parsnip or Giant Hogweed, except for the purple stems.  The Kingbird found this very tall plant a convenient fly-catching perch.

Above and below, Chutes Montmorency, just east of Quebec City on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River

Next: St. Andrews, New Brunswick