Québec: Summer 2023

Summer 2023: 1 June31 July

Émile Brisson-Curadeau

Olivier Barden

Samuel Denault

Recommended citation:

Brisson-Curadeau, É., O. Barden,  and S. Denault. 2023. Summer 2023: Québec. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-fNE> North American Birds.

Summer 2023 was marked by the most severe wildfires that the province has ever seen, almost three times larger than any historic events. Temperatures were slightly higher than normal, especially in July, while precipitation was at a record-breaking high in many regions of southern Quebec. Bird-wise, the province was blessed with a good number of rarities, including three provincial firsts; a very unusual result for the otherwise quiet summer season. A strong summer presence of boreal breeders in southern Quebec was also attributed to the wildfires, pushing these birds away from their usual habitat. These include yellow-bellied flycatcher and many boreal warblers.

Three Mute swans arrived in late summer at Parc National de la Yamaska, 25–31 July (Marise St-Onge). Otherwise very rare in Quebec, White-winged doves were observed on three occasions throughout the summer: at Pointe-aux-Loups (Iles-de-la-Madeleine) 27 June (Dorina Déraspe), Saint-Georges (Beauce) 3 July (Renaud Poulin), and Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury (La Jacques-Cartier) 26 July (Louise H. Bastien). A Lesser Sand-Plover was found on Anticosti I. 30 July (Camille Bégin-Marchand et al.), a provincial first. The next day, 31 July, a Pacific Golden-Plover, another provincial first, was photographed in Sainte-Flavie (Joel Giffard). A single Red Phalarope, rare in summer in southern Quebec, was observed in Lac Massawippi (Estrie) 11 June (Rachelle Thompson). A Long-tailed Jaeger, otherwise rarely seen in the summer, was observed in Saguenay, 30 June (Y. E. Gauthier). Three Franklin’s Gull observations were made across the Quebec shoreline: Bridgeville (Gaspésie) 6 June (Robin Gingras), Les Escoumins (Haute-Côte-Nord) 7 July (Jean-Guy Beaulieu), and La Grande-Mare (Gaspésie) 23 July (Diane Jalbert, Andrée Gagnon). Single Laughing Gulls were also observed on three occasions, all in the St-Lawrence estuary: Sainte-Luce (La Mitis) 29 June (Louise Lefebvre), St-Siméon-sur-Mer (Les Basques) 29–30 June (Anne Gagnon), and Les Escoumins (Haute-Côte-Nord) 3–12 July (David Turgeon). A single Pacific Loon was observed on each side of the St-Lawrence shore, in Godbout (Manicouagan) 9 June (Jean-Daniel Fiset, Bruno Drolet) and the same day in Rimouski (Patrice Saint-Pierre, Geneviève Raboin).

An American White Pelican, a regular summer visitor, was observed in Lac Piscatosine (Antoine-Labelle) 6 June (Michel Labelle), St-Hyacinthe, 1–3 July (Denise Bernatchez) and Saguenay, 7 July (Yves Gauthier). A Roseate Spoonbill, a second for the province, travelled around Quebec: first seen in Quebec City, 1 July (Jean-Marc Asselin), it was spotted the following day, about two dozen kilometers north, in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré (France Lemay). It then crossed the St-Lawrence River and was spotted in St-Denis-de La Bouteillerie (Bas-Saint-Laurent) 4 July (Ginette Carrier). It then went unnoticed until it was seen much further inland in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce (Beauce) 15–16 July (Luc Légaré). Finally, it moved further north to Saint-Anselme-de-Bellechasse (Bellechasse) 26–31 July (France Laliberté). Another nice find was a pair of immature White ibises in Portneuf (Capitale-Nationale) 10 July (Loraine Ouellette). This was only the third record for the province. A single individual, also an immature, was observed in Barachois (Gaspésie) 28–30 July (Julie Fournier-Levesque). It is likely that the pair seen in Portneuf eventually split while travelling, with one individual heading towards Gaspésie.

A Mississippi Kite was observed flying south in multiple locations near Tadoussac (Haute-Côte-Nord) 1 June (Laetitia Desbordes, Alexandre Terrigeol). This was only the fourth observation of this species in Quebec. A Lewis’ Woodpecker, a provincial first, was seen at Vieux Fort (Basse-Côte-Nord) 17–26 June (Karen Drudge). The Red-headed Woodpecker was observed at two locations this summer, both in Outaouais, not far from its Ontario population: at Plaine de Kazabazua, 3 June (anonymous) and Val-des-Monts, 9–30 June (Sylvie Gravel).

An Acadian Flycatcher, the ninth record for the province, was spotted in Quebec City, 1 June (Yves Aubry), in the same park where it was reported nine years earlier. The seventh Tropical Kingbird for Quebec was seen in Cap-des-Rosiers (Gaspésie) 24–30 June (Marie-Pierre Rainville). The usual Fish Crow pair spent the summer in Magog for a third year in a row, although nesting could not be confirmed (Benoit Turgeon).  Another pair was seen in Laval, a first for the county, 12–20 June (Louise Auclair). A House Wren dispersion was observed this year, with notably an individual nearly reaching the 50° parallel in Chibougamau (Dioni Loïc Sauvé) and a pair nesting in Haute-Côte-Nord (Daniel Imbeault). A single Western Meadowlark, a vagrant with yet many historical records, was seen in Cap-des-Rosiers (Gaspésie) 4 June (Robin Gingras), not too far from the Tropical Kingbird. A Yellow-headed Blackbird was observed in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures (Capitale-Nationale) 7 July (Béatrice Perron). A pair of Orchard orioles, a rare breeder for Quebec, persisted in Pike River (Brome-Missisquoi) for the sixth year in a row. It was last observed 12 July.

Report processed by Andrew Keaveney, 21 Aug 2023.

Photos–Québec: Summer 2023

An Acadian Flycatcher photographed at Domaine de Maizarets, 1 June, is only the ninth record of the province, but the second in that municipal park. Photo © Fred Lelievre.

This Lewis Woodpecker, photographed 26 June (Basse-Côte-Nord) is one of the three provincial first of the season. Photo © Karen Drudge.

A Pacific Loon photographed in Rimouski, 9 June. Photo © Patrice St-Pierre.

A Western Meadowlark photographed in Gaspésie, 4 June. Photo © Robin Gingras.

The American White Pelican is a rare yet recurrent species in Quebec. This one was photographed in Sainte-Hyacinthe, 1 July. Photo © Nelson Roy.

The White-winged Dove was observed three times this summer, including at Iles-de-la-Madeleine, 27 June (photo above). It is otherwise a very rare vagrant in Quebec. Photo © Dorina Déraspe.

This Tropical Kingbird, photographed in Gaspésie, 24 June, is the seventh provincial record. Photo © Marie-Pierre Rainville.

This Roseate Spoonbill travelled around the province. Here photographed in Bellechasse, 31 July. Photo © France Laliberte.

This immature white ibis was probably also one of the two individuals photographed in Portneuf. Here in Gaspésie, 28 July. Photo © Sophie Bourdages.

This Pacific Golden-Plover, found in Sainte-Flavie on 31 July, is yet another first for the Province. Photo © Joel Giffard.

This Lesser Sand-Plover, found in Anticosti on 30 July, one of the two back-to-back provincial first plovers. Photo © Michel Robert and Camille Bégin-Marchand.