Québec: Spring 2023

Spring 2023: 1 Mar31 May

Pierre Bannon

Olivier Barden

Normand David

Samuel Denault

Recommended citation:

Bannon, P., O. Barden, and S. Denault. 2023. Spring 2023: Québec. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-gw3> North American Birds.

Temperatures for spring 2023 were slightly above normal and precipitation below average. More specifically, the month of March ended with an average temperature of 1°C above seasonal norms in southern Québec, and 2 to 3°C in the east. Sept-Îles experienced its first 10°C on 8 March, nearly three weeks before Montréal (29 March), when the opposite is very often the case. The month of April was 2°C above the average while May was normal. Provincial mega rarities included Eared Grebe, Gull-billed Tern, Sandwich Tern, White-winged Tern, Swallow-tailed Kite and Fish Crow. Please note some of the rare occurrences addressed in this report are still awaiting official acceptance by the Québec Bird Records Committee.

Single Pink-footed Geese visited Ile Sainte-Marie (Carignan) 25 March (Réal Boulet, Ghislaine Boulet), Cap-Rouge 3 April (Philippe Jobin et al.), Yamaska 2021 April (Luc Lemoyne et al), Portneuf 22 April (Serge Lemieux, Suzanne Blackburn), and Longue-Rive 7 May (David Turgeon). Single Barnacle Geese stopped at Sept-Iles 28 April (Patricia Lalonde et al.) and at Baie-du-Febvre 8 May (Alain Desrosiers et al). Trumpeter Swan is now considered a regular migrant in western and southern Québec and does not warrant detailed reports. A male Tufted Duck at Noyan 1225 March was record early (François-Xavier Grandmont et al.). An Eared Grebe at Gatineau 23 April provided the tenth record for the province (Rodolphe Dubois et al,). Unexpectedly, three different Ruffs were reported: singles at Lévis 11–17 May  (Hélène Dumais et al.), Rimouski 14–19 May (Gérard Proulx et all.), and Saint-Blaise 14 May (Réal Boulet, Ghislaine Boulet). Rare in spring, a Long-billed Dowitcher made a brief appearance at Saint-Paul-de-l’Ile-aux-Noix 8 May (Gilles Éthier).

Also rare in spring, single Dovekies were detected at Sainte-Pétronille 4 May (Alain Côté) and at Sillery (Québec City) the same day (Sylvain Gosselin). Rare in southern Québec, a Black-headed Gull was a nice find at Victoriaville 16–18 April (Claude Roy et a). A Gull-billed Tern at Cacouna 2 May provided the third record for the province (Frédéric Goulet). A group of 16 Arctic Terns at Côte Sainte-Catherine 25 May was undoubtedly a large number for this locality of southern Québec (Olivier Barden). A Sandwich Tern (presumably sandvicensis ssp) was heard and photographed 31 May at Havre Aubert, the second record in two years for Les Iles de la Madeleine and the fifth record for the province. Most intriguing, copulation with a Common Tern was noticed on several occasions during interactions with a group of Common Terns (Suzanne Labbé, Pierre Bannon et al.). An adult White-winged Tern photographed at Gatineau 21 May provided the sixth record for the province of Québec (Jocelyn Grenon, Chantal Périard). Rarely seen more than once per season, single Pacific Loons were recorded at Pointe des Monts 25 May (Francois-Xavier  Grandmont), Pointe-au-Père 27 May (Thierry Dubuc et al.), Les Escoumins 27 May (Robin Besançon) and at Cap à l’Aigle 30 May (André Desrochers). Two American White Pelicans at Notre-Dame-du-Nord (Témiscamingue) 18 April were record early (France Vallée Facebook). Single Little Blue Herons brightened Angrignon Park (Montréal) 18 April (Claire Hachey) and Plaisance 21 May (Pierre Asselin). An adult Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was a good find at Laval 21 April (Jackomo Chapleau). Glossy Ibis turned up in 4 localities, with a maximum of 5 birds at Bic 30 April (Louis Masson et al.). Black Vulture is now a regular spring migrant in extreme southern Québec. A maximum of five birds gathered at Saint-Armand 29 March (Réal Boulet, Ghislaine Boulet). Single Swallow-tailed Kites were seen at Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury 27 April (Adrien Dupis) and at Frelighsburg 29 April (Yves Cardinal) providing the eighth and the ninth records for the province. An immature dark-morph Swainson’s Hawk was photographed at Chicoutimi 31 May (Yannick Fleury).

A White-eyed Vireo was a nice surprise at the Montréal Technopark 21 May (Kevin Verreault). A Warbling Vireo at Drummond 21 April established a record early arrival date for the province    (Martine Lemieux). Now extremely rare in the province, single Loggerhead Shrikes were noted at Rouyn-Noranda 7 May (Williams Nourry) and at Godbout 15–17 May (Manon Côté). Increasingly reported in the province, single Fish Crows showed up at Québec City 16 April–31 May + (Thierry Grandmont et al), Montréal Technopark 6–14 May (Samuel Denault, Richard Guillet) and downtown Montréal 18 April (Hubert Poulin-Therrien). A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Covey-Hill 9 April was record early (André Dionne). Single Northern Wheatears appeared at Kamouraska 9 May (Francine Lavoie) and at Puvirnituq 13 May (Denis Corbeil). A Lark Sparrow made a stop at Cap Tourmente 18 May (Carole Gariépy et al.). Single Harris’s Sparrows were present at Gatineau 24–28 April (Michel Turcot et al.), at Boucherville 19 May (Jean-Nicholas Haché, Danielle Cayer) and at Nicolet 23–25 May (Yves Dugré et al.). A rare breeding species, the Orchard Oriole was reported at Pike River 13–31 May (Tristan Jobin et al.), at Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil 15 May (John Doyle), at Summit Park (Montréal) 19 May (Olivier Barden), at Mont-Royal Cemetery 21–22 May (Maxence Valade et al) and at Sept-Iles 26–29 May (Christian Briand, Hélène Olivier).

A Prothonotary Warbler at Châteauguay 15 May was a nice find (Ulysse Brault-Champion). Single Louisiana Waterthrushes were discovered at Shefford 24 May (Samuel Jetté) and at Mont Saint-Hilaire 23–26 May (Ulysse Brault-Champion), the latter representing a new location for this rare breeding species. A male Hooded Warbler at the Morgan Arboretum 16 April was record early for the province (Michel Bourque). A Cape May Warbler at Granby 23 April was also record early (Monique Berlinguette, Monique Maheu). A Yellow-throated Warbler at Montréal 25 May was noteworthy (Doris Potter). Single Prairie Warblers were at Montmagny 24–26 May (Yvan Bernier) and at Longue-Rive 24 May (Patrick Laporte et al.). A regular vagrant in spring, a male Summer Tanager was noticed at Pointe-aux-Outardes 15 May (Emmanuel Hains), a female at Ville Saint-Laurent (Montréal) 15–17 May (Frederic Hareau, Johanne Corbeil), a male at New Carlisle 17 May (Mireille Bradet), a male  at Château Richer 21 May (Émilie Bordeleau), a female at Rimouski 23 May (Michel Proulx et al.), a male at Sainte-Anne-des-Monts 23 May (Simone Richard), and finally a female at Tadoussac 24 May (Robin Besançon et al.). A Western Tanager was observed at Rimouski 28–29 May (Jean-Pierre Gagné et al.).

Report processed by Andrew Keaveney, 26 Nov 2023.

Photos–Québec: Spring 2023

Now extremely rare in the province of Québec, two Loggerhead Shrikes were noted this spring including this individual photographed at Rouyn-Noranda 7 May 2023. Photo © Williams Nourry.

Identified as the European subspecies by its voice, this Sandwich Tern photographed 31 May 2023 at Havre Aubert (Les-Iles-de-la-Madeleine), province of Québec, was possibly the same individual reported at Havre aux Maisons in June 2022. Photo © Suzanne Labbé.

Identified as the European subspecies by its voice, this Sandwich Tern photographed 31 May 2023 at Havre Aubert (Les-Iles-de-la-Madeleine), province of Québec, was possibly the same individual reported at Havre aux Maisons in June 2022. Photo © Suzanne Labbé.

This Summer Tanager seen at Montréal 15–17 May 2023 (photographed on 17 May) was one of seven reported in the province of Québec during spring 2023. Photo © Denis Prévost.

This Gull-billed Tern photographed at Cacouna 2 May 2023 provided the third record for the province of Québec. Photo © Frédéric Goulet.

Regularly reported in the province over the last 5 years, this Fish Crow was present at Québec City 16 April–31 May 2023 + (photographed here on 25 April). Photo © Frédérick Lelièvre.

This Ruff photographed at Lévis 12 May was one of three reported in the province of Québec in spring 2023. Photo © Maurice Raymond.

This Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was photographed at Covey-Hill on 9 April 2023, a record early date for the province of Québec. Photo © André Dionne.

Very rare in spring in the province of Québec, this Long-billed Dowitcher was photographed at Saint-Blaise on 9 May 2023. Photo © Ghislaine Boulet.