Festival des oiseaux migrateurs de la Côte-Nord

Yes, I am a bird watcher. One of these crazy people that look into the sky for ages and hunt birds down, with their naked eye, camera or telescope. Hence I joined the McGill birding Club and the first trip advertised was the largest of the year. The ‘Festival des oiseaux migrateurs de la Côte-Nord’. A bird watching festival for bird lovers form all over North America that come together to observe migrating birds on their way South. On a Friday morning in September me and three left Montreal on a six our journey up north.

Just before we reached our destination (Tadoussac), we reached a ferry crossing with a beautiful view and a first brief glimpse of a beluga whale. I was so excited, never having seen a whale in my life. Next along the way we stopped at a random blue house, somewhere in nowhere to look out for a rare bird that had been reported in that area two days ago, but unfortunately we had no luck observing it ourselves. I also lost my jumper there. (Later in during the trip I would lose a jacket too- don’t be afraid, it’s just me, not the area) Next stop up was the ferry ramp of Les Escoumins.

I was able to capture part of a beluga whale!! It swam by.
The ferry returning from Trois-Pistoles to Les Escoumins.
Some shore birds and the view back at Les Escoumins.

We were so lucky to see multiple whales up close and decided to try our luck with the birds too. We made our way to the small piece of land just before Les Escoumins that you can see on the picture above. The sun tricked us into a brief swim in the freezing water. What a day!

Us and fellow bird watchers in the light of the setting sun.
Me, just before I dared to swim, or rather jump in and jump out of the freezing water- the scarf was needed.

The same night we joined a group that captured owl for banding, however, that night no owl were caught. But we saw the rings that are used to band them, saw the nets between the trees and listened to the fake calls of different owls that echoed through the forest all night.

The next morning we got up early in order to watch falcons, mingle with other bird watchers and enjoy the sun rising over the sand dunes.

I went for a walk further up to a viewing platform and the view, indeed, was amazing. No one else was around and I, for the first time, had the feeling that I am actually looking at Canada, as if a whole country could be described in single picture. Sea, trees, sand, no human soul around and so incredibly vast.

what a place

The beach I walked along after I made my way back down filled my childish heart with joy. I found shells, sea urchins, more birds and beautiful rocks.

A boat trip was planned for the next day in order to observe some rare sea birds that do not come close to the shore at all. In addition we were lucky to see some whales!

A fin whale
A hunchback whale and a whale watching boat

Unfortunately, I didn’t safe any more pictures, but I took loads of bird pictures and recorded my first Canadian bird species on E-bird (highly recommend). I found a tree with six different warbler species (that all look kinda green yellow at that point of the year), we went on an island walk to watch shore birds fly by like glitter and a peregrine falcon successfully hunting one down for lunch. The days were filled with sun shine and new discoveries and amazement. La Côte-Nord is worth exploring, for its wildlife and nature that are unique.

Categories: Canada, INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE, North America

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