Québec: Winter 2017-2018

The Winter 2017-2018, December 1 – February 28

Pierre Bannon
1517 Leprohon
Montréal, Québec H4E 1P1

Olivier Barden
2942 rue de l’Aubier
Québec, Québec G1M 3V1

Normand David
333 rue Querbes, App. 4-Y
Vaudreuil-Dorion, Québec J7V 1J9

Samuel Denault
1991 rue Saint-Zotique Est
Montréal, Québec H2G 1J2

Recommended citation:

Bannon, P., O. Barden, N. David, & S. Denault, 2020. The Winter 2017-2018: Québec. <https://wp.me/p8iY2g-8O2> North American Birds.

The first half of the winter 2017-2018, especially the Christmas period, was very cold with temperatures three to four degree Celsius below normal in the south. After mid-January, the temperatures slowly warmed up. Just like last year, the end of February was very mild in southern Québec, driving many migrants north much earlier than usual. Depending on the region, precipitation was highly variable. Montréal and Gaspé received more snow than in a normal winter, while Gatineau and Sherbrooke received much less snow.

Contributors (sub regional editors in boldface)

Pierre Bannon (Montréal), Réal Boulet, André Couture, Samuel Denault (Montréal), Andrée Gagnon, Gilles Garant, Louis Imbeau (Abitibi-Témiscamingue), Diane Jalbert, Bernard Jolicoeur, Jacques Larivée (Lower-St. Lawrence), Gaétan Lord (Québec City), Pierre Poulin (Gaspésie), Alain Richard (Magdalen Is.), Germain Savard (Saguenay−Lac-Saint-Jean), Daniel Toussaint (Outaouais).

Geese through Gannets

A Greater White-fronted Goose at La Baie 12-15 Jan. provided a record late date for the province (Y. E. Gauthier) while one at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu 24 Feb. was record early (RB et al.). An early flock of 25,000 Snow Geese at Saint-Paul-de-l’Ile-aux-Noix 28 Feb. was noteworthy (RB et al.), while a Ross’s Goose  at Sainte-Barbe 27 Feb. was record early (SD, J. Cantara et al.). A group of five Cackling Geese at Ile Sainte-Marie (Carignan) 28 Feb. also provided a record early arrival date for the province (R & G. Boulet). A late Mute Swan stopped at Grenville 10-14 Jan. (J. Bouvier). Three continuing Tundra Swans lingered on Lake Champlain until 2 Dec. (T. Jobin). A group of seven Northern Shovelers at Sorel 28 Feb. matched the record early date established last year (A. Lanouette). Inland Harlequin Ducks included a male at Sherbrooke from mid-Dec. through 7 Jan. (m. ob.) and a female in the Lachine rapids 1st Dec. through early spring (SD, D. Demers). A survey of Lake St. Francis made by the CWS 15 Dec. showed the presence of 6,600 Common Mergansers, a surprising winter count (C. Marcotte, fide Y. Aubry).

Single Eurasian Collared-Doves remained at Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu until at least 28 Jan. (E. Landa) and at Saint-Édouard-de-Lotbinière until 27 Jan. (m. ob.), and appeared to be the same individuals that were present last winter.

A record late American Golden-Plover was found at Sainte-Pétronille (Île d’Orléans) 2 Dec. (P. Gosselin). Lingering shorebirds included a Red Knot in the Magdalen’s Islands 8 Dec. (AC, B. Vigneault), a few Sanderlings in  the Magdalen’s Islands until 8 Dec. (AC, AR) a Dunlin at Blanc-Sablon 14 Jan. (BJ), and 25 White-rumped Sandpipers at Trois-Pistoles until 9 Dec. (S. Dionne, R. Deschênes). Wilson’s Snipes were reported at six different locations in Dec., including two birds at Saint-Isidore-de-Clifton 21-26 Dec. (K. Adams).

An odd place to see a Dovekie was on the ground near a feeder at Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé 5 Jan. (Albini Couture, Y. Cyr); more expected, 34 individuals were spotted at Blanc-Sablon 14 Jan. (BJ). A Red-throated Loon discovered on a roadside at Hinchinbrooke 29 Dec. was a surprising find (D. Simon). A juvenile Pacific Loon at Percé 9 Dec. was noteworthy (JR. Lepage). Totally unexpected in winter, a Sooty Shearwater was observed on a record late date 2 Dec. at Rivière-Ouelle (C. Auchu, C. Girard). Unprecedented in winter, a Leach’s Storm-Petrel at Sainte-Pétronille (Île d’Orléans) 10 Dec. provided a record late date for the province (R. Simard, L. Bateman). Inland records of Northern Gannet included singles at Saint-Élie-d’Orford 10 Dec. (fide S. Beaudette) and at Deschambeault 11 Dec. (S. Blackburn, S. Lemieux).

Cormorants through Thrasher

An immature Great Cormorant in the Lachine Rapids at Sainte-Catherine 26 Dec. was a good find (SD). Despite the cold weather, the last Great Egret lingered at Châteauguay until 10 Dec. (m. ob.) while the last Turkey Vulture was spotted at Ayer’s Cliff 19 Dec. (C. Muir-Norrie). A putative Red-shouldered Hawk x Red-tailed Hawk hybrid was nicely photographed at Shawville 11-22 Dec. (R. Auger, D. Powell, ph.). Short-eared Owls were reported in eight different localities in Dec. (m. ob.), thus appearing more in evidence compared to recent winters although far less common than a few decades ago.

The adult Red-headed Woodpecker at Île Saint-Bernard (Châteauguay) was last seen 7 Jan. (m.ob.) during the coldest spell of the winter. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers attempting to winter were reported at Loretteville 22-29 Dec. (P. Dechêne, m. ob.), Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière 5 Jan.-26 Feb. (T. Biteau) and Carignan 18 Feb. (N. Tétreault, SD, D. Daigneault). At least two out of the three Eastern Bluebirds recorded in Percé in Dec. made it to 25 Feb., providing a first successful overwintering record for the Gaspé Peninsula (DJ, AG). Another individual was found at Port-Daniel 19 Feb. (PP, M. Jaffré). The continuing female Mountain Bluebird at L’Islet was last reported 21 Jan. (m. ob.) while a gorgeous male brightened Boisé Sainte-Dorothée (Laval) 2 Dec. (L. Auclair et al., ph.). Single Townsend’s Solitaires made brief appearances at Ville-Marie 4 Dec. (J. Fréchette) and Trois-Rivières 21 Jan. (GG). Always rare in winter, a Gray Catbird at Lévis 14 Jan. was noteworthy (M. Lamontagne). The only Brown Thrasher of the season was at Saint-Hyacinthe 19-28 Jan. (M. D’Auteuil, ph.).

Warblers through Blackbirds

Late warblers showed up again this year: a Black-and-white Warbler stopped at Pointe Yamachiche 2 Dec. (GG), two Tennessee Warblers at Rimouski 1 Dec. (P. Fradette, G. Bouchard) were the first for this month since 1979. A Yellow Warbler lingered at Côte-Sainte-Catherine up to 9 Dec. (D. Sirois, Y. Gauthier). A record late Blackpoll Warbler was beautifully photographed at Terrebonne 2 Dec. (JF. Piché, M-C. Brault). The presence of a Yellow-breasted Chat at Petit-Matane 5-6 Dec. (Saint-Louis Fournier, L. Fradette) was remarkable. Single out-of-range Eastern Towhees were recorded at Saint-Bruno (Lac Saint-Jean) 9 Dec. (E. Wilmot et al.) and at Chandler 25 Dec.-20 Jan. (R. Garrett). Single Clay-colored Sparrows at Québec City until 4 Mar (S. Baker) and at Saint-Blaise until 7 Jan. (C. Guay) were among very few documented records in winter in the Region. Almost expected in the Gaspé Pen., a Lark Sparrow stayed at l’Anse-à-Beaufils 10-18 Dec. (PP). Single Harris’s Sparrows at Sainte-Famille (Ile d’Orléans) 3 Dec.-9 Feb. (M. Blouin) and at Chambord 10-28 Dec. (S. Boivin et al.) were great finds.

A Summer Tanager stopped at a Saint-André d’Argenteuil feeder 1-10 Dec. (J. Couture, M. Hewitt, ph., fide S. Robert). The continuing Western Tanager at Charlesbourg, Québec City was last seen 14 Dec. (MC. Roy). Again this year, a very late Indigo Bunting appeared in the Region, at Pabos this time, 17 Dec. (AG, DJ).

Rare but regular in winter, two large groups of Rusty Blackbirds were less expected, with ten birds seemingly overwintering at Rose Bridge (Gaspé) (S. Brodeur) and 19 birds causing a surprise at Saint-Armand 23 Feb. (JG. Papineau).

Photos–Québec: Winter 2017-2018
Hover or click on each image to read the caption.