Québec: Fall 2019

1 August–30 November

Pierre Bannon

Samuel Denault

Olivier Barden

Normand David

Recommended citation:

Bannon, P., S. Denault, O. Barden, N. David. 2020. Fall 2019: Québec. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-99sNorth American Birds.

Fall weather was very variable depending on the period and the region. Continuing the same weather pattern that prevailed in July, August was warm and dry but there was an abrupt change to cool and wet conditions in early Sep. Oct turned mild again, but the end of the month was spoiled by a heavy rain and windstorm on Halloween day. The coldest Nov in 83 years in the south, and a very early snowstorm on 11–12 Nov, plunged the province into deep winter conditions, lessening the chances to unearth late fall vagrants. The most remarkable rarities of the season were Common Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Gull (new for the region), Gull-billed Tern, Swallow-tailed Kite, and Painted Redstart.

Geese through Razorbill

Possibly two different Pink-footed Geese lingered in the Rimouski-Matane area 9 Oct–4 Nov (m.ob.); singles also stopped at Victoriaville 2–4 Nov (Claude Roy et al.) and Berthier-sur-mer 7 Nov (Claude Deschênes). Finally, two appeared on private property covered with snow at Paspébiac 26–30 Nov (Pierre Poulin et al.). The 2 Trumpeter Swans that summered at Saint-Fulgence (Saguenay) continued until 7 Nov (Jacynthe Fortin), while a maximum of 13 birds was tallied at Val d’Or 20–24 Oct (Claudia Siano, Raymond Ladurantaye). One Tundra Swan was noted at Péribonka 26 Oct (Jacques Ibarzabal), 2 at Port Saint-François 4 Nov (France Arbour), and one at Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague 6 Nov (Robert Trottier et al.). Unusual inland, a juvenile Harlequin Duck was seen at Saint-Hyacinthe 8–14 Sep (François Bourret, m.ob), while 3 adult males were surprising at Beauharnois 2 Nov (Dominique Bellemare).

A Eurasian Collared-Dove was identified at Lac-Delage 21–22 Aug (Sylvain Prince). An adult male Rufous Hummingbird at Matapédia 17 Sep provided the tenth record for the province (Gilles Gallant, Christianne Pitre). A Yellow Rail was calling regularly during daytime in marginal habitat at Lévis 9–18 Aug (Marie O’Neill). More expected, a bird was detected at île aux Grues 3 Aug (Marie-Hélène Hachey), and 2 at Saint-Fulgence 12–15 Aug (Claudette Cormier, Germain Savard). A Purple Gallinule was photographed in a snowbank at Girardville (Lac Saint-Jean) 24 Nov (David Gagnon, ph.).

An adult Common Ringed Plover at Petit-Saguenay 26–30 Aug provided the fifth record for the province (Annie Lavoie, Martin Bélanger, ph.). A flock of 6 Hudsonian Godwits at Gatineau 17 Oct was unexpected for this locality (Rodolphe Dubois). Single Marbled Godwits were welcomed sightings for Matane 12 Aug (Louis Fradette), and for Pointe-au-Père 20 Aug (Lucille Saint-Laurent et al.). A flock of 26 Red Knots at Sandy Hook (Les Iles de la Madeleine) 4 Nov represented an amazing total for the date (Clément Giasson, Donna Gail Gaudet). Similar to fall 2018, very few Buff-breasted Sandpipers were detected this season. Even so, a bird at Réservoir Baskatong 21 Oct established a record late date (Marc-Antoine Montpetit). A juvenile Western Sandpiper was carefully identified at Portneuf-sur-Mer 14 Sep (Jacques Lachance). A total of 9 reports comprising of 14 Long-billed Dowitchers represented a significant increase compared to fall 2018. Willets were seen in 6 different localities including one at Rimouski 20 Oct–5 Nov, a record late date for the region (Jean Misson, Lucille Saint-Laurent). Single Parasitic Jaegers were out-of-range at Lac Boivin (Granby) 5–8 Aug (Normand Fleury), and at Île Perrôt 7 Nov (Olivier Barden). There was a modest movement of Dovekies in the Lower St. Lawrence in Oct, including a bird that reached Sainte-Pétronille (Île d’Orléans) 12 Oct (Peter Lane et al.). Very unusual in s. Québec, single Razorbills were located at Shawinigan 13 Oct (Caroline Vouligny), and at Sainte-Catherine 10–16 Nov (Sylvie Robert, Olivier Barden).                                                          

Gulls through Hawks

A first winter Black-legged Kittiwake was spotted at Chambly 21 Nov (Pierre Bannon, Suzanne Labbé), followed by an adult at the same place 25–30 Nov+ (Olivier Barden). A disoriented juvenile Sabine’s Gull was late and out of place in a parking lot at Vaudreuil-Dorion 4–5 Nov (Kevin Boivin et al.). A Little Gull was observed at Beauharnois 31 Aug (André Lanouette). Single juvenile Laughing Gulls were reported at Beauharnois 25 Aug–3 Sep (Samuel Denault, m.ob.), Victoriaville 26–27 Sep (Claude Roy), and Montmagny 4–11 Oct (Vincent Létourneau). Another new species added to the Québec avifauna, the third of this year, a second-cycle Black-tailed Gull was seen and photographed at Tadoussac 21 Oct (Olivier Barden). Mew Gull is a rare vagrant to Québec, yet 3 were observed and photographed this season, single adult camtschatchensis at Baie-Comeau 21–22 Aug (Jean-Pierre Barry, ph.), and at Notre-Dame-des-Pins 4 Nov (Olivier Barden, ph.), with one of undetermined ssp at Kamouraska 30 Aug (Marie O’Neill et al. ph.). This brought the total for the year at five. Two adult Gull-billed Terns reached Kamouraska 16–22 Sep about a week after the passage of hurricane Dorian over the Atlantic Provinces, providing a second provincial record (François Smith et al., ph.). Single Forster’s Terns were carefully identified at Drummondville 28 Aug (Claude Roy) and at Venise-en-Québec 20–24 Sep (Tristan Jobin, m.ob., ph.).

An adult Pacific Loon in nonbreeding plumage was a nice find at Cap à l’Aigle 4 Sep (Pierre Otis et al.). A Leach’s Storm-Petrel was detected at Lévis 1 Nov (Olivier Barden). An American White Pelican continued at Sainte-Catherine through 11 Aug (m. ob.). Singles were also seen at Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville 18–30 Aug (Tristan Jobin et al.), and at Cap-Chat 7 Aug (Éric Deschamps), and finally 2 at Sherbrooke 18 Aug (Bernadette Forest). Single juvenile Little Blue Herons were reported at Cacouna 22–24 Aug (Jean-Claude Pelletier), Woburn 27–30 Aug (Jean Roy), Mercier 2 Sep (Olivier Barden), and Bic 13–23 Sep (Vincent Giroux). Four Cattle Egrets at Waskaganish (James Bay) 20 Oct provided the northernmost sighting in the province (Angela Coxon). Single birds were also documented at Saint-André-de-Kamouraska 2–10 Aug (Evelyne Samson), Chambly 23 Oct (Pierre Bannon, Suzanne Labbé), Les Coteaux 2–6 Nov (Sylvie Latreille, m.ob.), and Saint-Barthélemy 4–9 Nov (Michelle & Michel Boulard, m.ob.). Single Glossy Ibis were registered at Henryville 9 Aug (Benoit Tanguay, Tristan Jobin), Saint-Vallier 9 Aug (Patrick Laniel), and Saint-Liboire 19 Sep (Pierre Bergeron). A Black Vulture was found at Wotton 3 Nov (Daniel Banville), and 2 at Mont-Laurier 13–27 Nov (m.ob.). A Swallow-tailed Kite was photographed in flight at Saint-Hyacinthe 12 Sep providing the seventh record for the province (Régis Buteau, François Bourret).

Woodpeckers through Thrushes

Despite being almost extirpated as a breeding species, Red-headed Woodpeckers continue to be a regular vagrant with singles at Mont Saint-Hilaire 1–9 Nov (Gérald Fréchette, m.ob.), and at Wotton 3 Nov (Daniel Banville). Quite surprising were no less than 5 White-eyed Vireos reported in a short period of time, with one at Île Saint-Bernard (Châteauguay) 19 Oct (Jacek Mlynarek), another at Park Angrignon (Montréal) 25–31 Oct (Marc-André Villard), one at Maizerets (Québec City) 25–29 Oct (Charles Vachon), one at Rivière Magpie 8 Nov (Christophe Buidin, Yann Rochepault), and the latest being at Gatineau 10 Nov (Clark Sollows).

Exceptional for the Gaspé Peninsula, a Northern Rough-winged Swallow was photographed at Percé 16 Oct (A. Couture). The latest House Wren in decades was at the Montréal Technopark 24–26 Nov (Samuel Denault, Charles Samoisette-Pilon). A total of 4 reports of Northern Wheatear were tallied this season with 2 at Wemindji 9 Sep (Ted Cheskey), singles at Gallix 15–16 Sep (Marielle Vanasse), Sept-Îles 18–22 Sep (Christian Briand et al.), and an individual at Pointe-au-Père 6 Oct (Lucille Saint-Laurent, Mikael Jaffré). A Wood Thrush at Gatineau 13 Nov was record late (Laetitia Desbordes). The only Varied Thrush of the season was at Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac 17–20 Nov (Sylvain Lapointe).

Sparrows through Dickcissel

Breeding Grasshopper Sparrows are now rare in the province, so a juvenile at Bristol 4 Aug was interesting (Eric Patry). Single Lark Sparrows at Tadoussac 15 Oct–27 Nov (Laetitia Desbordes, Jessé Roy-Drainville), and at Rivière-Madeleine 3–7 Nov (Georgette Blanchette) were somewhat expected, but a long staying individual in Montréal Technopark 24–30+ Nov (Samuel Denault, Charles Samoisette-Pilon) finally provided a first record for the Greater Montréal area. A Nelson’s Sparrow of the altera/nelsoni group was documented for the first time on the North Shore with one at Pointe de l’Islet (Tadoussac) 26 Oct (L. Desbordes, A. Desrochers, ph.), while two birds at Grenville-sur-la-Rouge 28 Sep (Yves Gauthier, ph.) appeared to be on a regular migration path. The only Yellow-breasted Chat of the season came from expected location Percé 6 Nov (Albini Couture). An immature Yellow-headed Blackbird was spotted in a large icterid roost at Saint-Armand 13 Oct (Olivier Barden). A Western Meadowlark formally identified from photographs taken by many observers at Saint-Simon-de-Bagot 16–18 Nov (Nelson Roy, m.ob.) was the first in 20 years from Montérégie.

A Prothonotary Warbler at Châteauguay 3–8 Sep (Tristan Jobin et al.) was one of very few fall records in the region. A Pine Warbler was found at Val d’Or 30 Nov onwards, one of very few documented records for the Abitibi region (Claudia Siano, Raymond Ladurantaye). A Yellow-throated Warbler visited a feeder at Deux-Montagnes 25–30 Nov (Sophie Janelle, Joanie Lavigne). All three reports of Prairie Warbler this season came from the Gaspé Peninsula with one at Percé 9 Oct (Albini Couture), one at Port-Daniel 27 Oct (Albini Couture, Yvette Cyr), and the last individual at Gaspé 28 Oct (Jean-François Rousseau).  Nobody expected Québec’s second Painted Redstart to be found a little more than two years after the first record, but one brightened Trois-Rivières 18–19 Oct (Gilles Garant, ph.). A Dickcissel at Sherbrooke 4–6 Nov was a really good find for the Eastern Townships (Renée Audette).

Report processed by José R. Ramírez-Garofalo on 29 October 2020.

Photos–Quebéc: Fall 2019
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.