Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cycloparc PP&J biking at Campbell's Bay, Québec

Friday, Apr 22

Last year we biked from Shawville towards Campbell's Bay, but did not complete it because of the frequent long stops for birding.  So this year, we planned to start at Campbell's Bay and go back towards Shawville.  Some day we hope to complete the whole trail.

On the way up on Hwy 148 we had all the usual common birds and, just past Quyon, a male American Kestrel in a tree by the road.  Then a short distance further on, we had a second Kestrel.  This one appeared to be a female.  Then, not much further on, we saw a Kestrel hovering over the fields, then go down  to a prey.
Before Shawville, we saw 3 Wild Turkeys in the back of a field.  Shortly after Shawville we had great views of a light Red-tailed Hawk.
We found a good place to park in Campbell's Bay, but were concerned to find patches of snow still on the bike path.  It turned out that the snow was a good thing.  The uncovered parts of the trail were so soft, that our tires sunk in about 2 inches.  The struggle was brutal.  In our lowest gear, we were barely able to go 7 km/h!  We soldiered on for 2.5 km, but finally decided to stash our bikes and walk - easier to bird anyway!

Near the start of the trail there were lots of Dark-eyed Juncos and American Robins.  We also saw a Hairy Woodpecker and Mourning Dove.  As we hiked along, we saw many Song Sparrows and some American Tree Sparrows. 
Barbara spotted a Killdeer and I saw an Eastern Phoebe. 
There were some temporary ponds in the wooded groves along the trail.  Several of these held Wood Ducks which flushed as we came along.  We saw a couple of White-tailed Deer too - not a surprise.  We saw two Blue Jays, a White-breasted Nuthatch and many European Starlings.

We saw (but did not hear) a Brown Creeper fly across the trail and land not too far away. 
 I saw a Wild Turkey cross the trail.  We stopped at Ch Lionel and had our lunch on some large rocks beside the trail.  We heard a Ruffed Grouse drum a couple of times in the woods across the road, so we went to have  a look.  There was ditch and rather steep embankment, but I managed to get up in time to see a female grouse huddled under a tree.  Barbara went for a camera, but it was gone in a flash.  Barbara heard and saw several Common Redpolls in the tops of the trees where we were looking for the grouse.

We started back on the return journey, and saw several Fox Sparrows, which were impossible to photograph.  About half way back, Barbara spotted a male Northern Harrier quite a distance away patrolling a field.  It went down to ground, and I managed to get on it sitting there with its prey.  A Turkey Vulture came across right at us flying very low, giving us excellent views.
We retrieved our bikes, and pedalled back to the car.  The going was slightly easier, as I guess the trail had dried out a bit.  We loaded up the van and drove north to see the rest of the town.  As we swung near the river, Barbara spotted a pair of Lesser Scaup.

We reached the highway and turned towards home.  We decided to take Ch Moorhead to Lionel so see how far we had walked - quite a distance!  We continues on some backroads, coming back to the highway on Ch Telford.  On the latter we saw a Wild Turkey real close.
We decided to turn onto Ch Bristol Mines to check out a wetland at the corner of Ch d'Aylmer.  It did look promising, but all we saw was a male Mallard that looked like it was sitting on a nest.  Spring Peepers were calling nearby.

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