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Canada 2001

1st - 14th August 2001; John Newnham

Brief account of family holiday with Denise and Robert to eastern Canada staying in Quebec and Montreal.  Very hot weather throughout fortnight with only a small amount of rain whilst at Tadoussac.


Wednesday 1st August Depart Gatwick via Canada 3000 @ about 1300hrs; pleasant flight arriving Mirabel Montreal @ about 1500hrs Quebec time (5 hours later than BST).  Met by Antoine; pm in Montreal looking around Mont Royal and downtown Montreal. Stayed at 135 Jasper Ave
Thursday 2nd August Day in Montreal – took train from Mont Royal to Gare Central with Jill; looked around underground shopping and eating malls then took Metro to Eglise Notre-Dame.  Afternoon spent looking around old port region, in particular a display of plant mosaics.  Robert & I spent 30 minutes on motorized scooters on the banks of the St Lawrence.  Evening spent at 135 Jasper
Friday 3rd August Left Montreal at 0740 for a long journey SW towards Toronto and Niagara in Jills trendy Honda CVR  4-wheel drive.  Initially troubled by speed of traffic on Montreal highways (40E, then 20E until 401E in Ontario).  Stopped near Cornwall for Mac breakfast and concerned re “water leak” (from air-conditioning).  Few brief stops en-route but excellent, mainly straight highway, until congestion on the routes around Toronto and on the Queen Elizabeth Highway.  Stopped near Brighton for picnic lunch.  Arrived eventually at Hampton Inn at about 1830 – after rest, swim (Robert) we ate out (Italian) in Niagara before walking to the Falls to watch at night and see the Firework display over the falls.  Robert unwell in the evening – probably very tired and suffering from double Bagel and bacon!
Saturday 4th August Niagara Falls all day – took Red Bus tours to the Spanish Aero-car; Niagara Glen; Niagara Horticultural Gardens & Floral Clock; to up river in particularly behind the falls then finally the Maid of the Mist boat trip.  Pm tired but ate at Montanas with plan to go back into Falls area but all “flaked out”.  Interesting evening in the Niagara Casina – to find cash machine to accept my plastic!
Sunday 5th August Left Niagara after breakfast to retrace route back towards Montreal – route to Toronto no problem but in Toronto we clearly went wrong and ended up going through middle of City past the Tower; found way back to correct highway without too much difficult and certainly faster than the Friday evening route down.  Took Thousand Island Parkway from Gananoque to Rockport – arrived The Boathouse at about 1430hrs – booked in and then went on boat trip to Boldt Castle but unable to get off as USA immigrant officials required correct and full visas.  Pm spent around Boathouse where had supper and sat on veranda into night.
Monday 6th August. Set off about 0930 to continue eastbound journey – quick breakfast at BurgerKing before arriving at Upper Canada Park in late morning.  Most of day spent looking over this interesting cultural museum (like Amberley) leaving at 1800hrs.  Brief visit to Upper Canada Migrating Bird Sanctuary before rejoining route back to Montreal.  Evening supper at Pizzahut in Cornwall and eventually arrived back in Montreal by 2100hrs.  Night spent at Jasper
Tuesday 7th August Day spent by ourselves in Montreal.  Took train into Gare Central then Metro to Pie X11 where the Olympic Stadium is situated.  Most of morning and early pm spent in the Biosphere display of natural history.  Late pm took shuttle bus (better to have walked) to the Botanical Gardens – looking principally at the Water Gardens; the China Gardens and the Rose Gardens.  Evening joined Jill and Antoine for a meal at Pickenmove in the underground world of Montreal.  Later visited a Lebonese fruit cocktail restaurant for a sweet.  Night spent at Jasper
Wednesday 8th August Left Jasper about 0900 (later than hoped) to travel north to Quebec – on the 40E then through the Tunnel to the 20E.  An easy drive to Quebec arriving over an impressive bridge.  Found the underground car-park of the Hotel de Ville before looking about Quebec – lunched in fashionable Saint Anne Avenue with buskers and street painters; pm walked along the Promenade Dufferin to the Citadel and looked over the Fields of Abraham.  Booked into hotel late pm and after rest shower etc we went into the old port area – the first day of a French festival so streets full of animation and locals dressed in medieval French costumes.  Dined in restaurant on old road to the port (2 dinners for $50).  Robert too tired to continue with the festivities so returned to Maison Doyal (Saint Anne Jardine) hotel for the night.
Thursday 9th August Left Quebec after breakfast on the road on the NW side of the St Lawrence heading north to Tadoussac.  Very pleasant journey with interesting scenery once away from St Anne Beaupreu.  Arrived Tadousac about 1330hrs (weather a little showery) and booked into the Auberge de Paix (well signed).  Left car here and lunched at port then between 1530 and 1630 we went on boat trip to see Whales – both ship and Zodiac same price ($41) but ship had cover and naturalist on board.  Several seal seen; a single Beluga and several views of Minke whale (including some photographs) in the Parc du Saguenay.  Evening spent eating pizza and wine in local hostelry before collapsing early.
Friday 10th August Dull start to day – am walk exploring Taddousac – both species of whales seen easily from shore.  After breakfast leisurely drive south stopping where possible to look at views and take a break at various point on HWY 362.  Looked at Saint Simeon (Ferry to other side St Lawrence) then lunch at Macs at La Malbaie.  Then on to Baie St Paul and to a national wildlife reserve at Cap Tormelier near St Anne Beaupre.  Walked for 90 minutes seeing porcupine and several birds (particularly coming to feeders).  Left at 1700hrs for drive via Quebec to Magog; retracing steps except around Quebec – took longer than anticipated arriving well after dark – second Mac in the day at Magog before finding cottage.  After chat retired exhausted
Saturday 11th August Day spent in the cottage with Antoine and Jill– morning played badminton, swam and boat trip around Lac Lovering; afternoon some pedalo and more boat rides – evening bar-b-q with vino!  Denise and Jill spent morning in shops and drinking Tim Horton’s iced cappuchino. JN fell asleep in pm!!
Sunday 12th August Day much as yesterday; morning spent planting some flowering shrubs in the cottage garden. Boat trip and excursion on “ring”.  Evening quiet with more bar-b-q
Monday 13th August Another quiet day but in am I found a particularly good open portion of woodland to watch birds.  Morning spent in pedalo and swimming in lake. Lunch at Tim Hortons before walking at Ile de Marais on the river and lake Magog – excellent for birds and Turtles.  Returned to Magag for shopping and back to cottage for relaxing evening,
Tuesday 14th August Morning walk discovered tree across drive (Robert and myself cleared); swimming and general tidying up in cottage/garden.  Pm trip out to the Abbeye at St Benoidt du lac – interesting but not very ornate.  Eventually left cottage about 1800hrs to return on 10W to Montreal.  Left  Jasper about 2120 to easily book in at Mirabel at 2200hrs.  Flight left about Midnight arriving at LGW at 11am on 15th August.  John picked us up from airport.

Lots of chipmunks; various types of squirrels; Marmot at cottage; skunk, deer, Minke & Beluga Whales and porcupine seen.

List of birds seen during trip:- (RAN *  new to JAN #)

Common Loon * One on Etang at Ile du Marais
Great Cormorant 2+ from boat trip at Tadoussac
Double–crested Cormorant * Fairly numerous at Niagara; at Thousand Is and the St Lawrence and Saguenay at Tadousac.
Green Heron * Single bird seen well at Upper Canada Migratory bird Centre
Great Blue Heron * Seen at several locations
Snow Goose * # Five (out of a flock of 40 summering) at Cap Tormelier
Canada Goose * Abundant near water
Mallard * Regularly seen near water or marshes
American Black Duck * At Cap Tormelier and Lac Lovering
Common Eider * Small parties in Saguenay Marine reserve
Turkey Vulture* Several in Niagara area and up to 2 over cottage – seen from HWY occasionally
Osprey * Thousand Island and Ile du Marais
Northern Harrier * At least 3 seen all whilst on various highways
Coopers Hawk * # One at Ile du Marais (or was it Sharp-shinned?)
Broad winged Hawk * # Over cottage and from car on journey south  from Tadoussac
Red-tailed Hawk * Close views at Niagara
American Kestrel * 6 at Cap Tourmelier were only sightings
Peregrine Falcon One chasing Ring-billed Gulls in old port Montreal
Spotted Sandpiper * At Rockport, Ile du Marais and Lac Lovering – only waders except 3 peeps which flew past boat in Sagueney marine reserve
Bonapartes Gull * # Numerous at Niagara and Tadoussac
Ring-billed Gull * Everywhere
Herring Gull * Thousand Islands and Tadoussac
Lesser-Bk backed Gull 3-4 amongst large collection of gulls at Tadoussac
Great Bk-backed Gull * Thousand Island and Tadoussac
Black-legged Kittiwake* Plentiful at Tadoussac
Caspian Tern * Several passing over at Rockport – all heading up the St Lawrence
Common Tern * Parties seen at Rockport and Upper Canada
Rock Dove * In cities
Mourning Dove * Seen at several sites – most regular bird on telegraph wires
Chimney Swift * Common over Montreal, Quebec, Niagara and Magog
Ruby-thr Hum’bird * # Several sites including cottage – coming to feeders
Belted Kingfisher * Botanical Gardens; Ile du Marais and cottage garden
Northern Flicker * Upper Canada, Ile du Marai and cottage area
Yellow-bd Sapsucker * At least 3 in cottage garden regularly
Downy Woodpecker Rockport
Hairy Woodpecker * Rockport and Cottage (coming to feeder)
Eastern Wood Pewee* # Cottage area; Ile du Marais & several wooded areas
Acadian Flycatcher # Cap Tormelier
Alder Flycatcher # Ile du Marais
Eastern Phoebe * # Upper Canada Park
Gt Crested Flycatcher *# Ile du Marais
Eastern Kingbird * # Several sites – best views Ile du Marais
Red-eyed Vireo Several near cottage  only vireo seen well enough to +ve id
Blue Jay * Several near cottage – feeding on feeders at cottage and Cap Tourmelier
American Crow* Ubiquitous
Common Raven* Thousand Island & cottage
Tree Swallow * # Several parties – over reeds at Cap Tourmelier and Upper Canada
Purple Martin * # 3, including adult, at Upper Canada Reserve
Cliff Swallow Party by rock cutting on highway on way to Toronto
Northern Rough-winged Swallow * Several parties and smaller numbers at Niagara and Upper Canada regions
Barn Swallow * Seemed to be most numerous hirundine – browner bellied than UK version
Black-capped Chickadee * Most regularly encountered species in woods
Brown Creeper One near cottage on last morning
White-breasted Nuthatch * # Upper Canada and cottage – on feeders
Ruby crowned Kinglet * One juv in Botanical garden
Wood Thrush # Family party in wood near cottage
Veery # One briefly seen in wood near cottage
American Robin * Most places
Gray Catbird # Excellent views at Rockport
Brown Thrasher Brief views at Rockport
European Starling* Flocks by side of highway
Cedar Waxwing * # Surprisingly encountered in several locations
Northern Parula # With warbler flock at Tadoussac
Chestnut-sided Warbler *# Excellent views at Ile du Marais
Cape May Warbler In warbler party at Tadousac and near cottage
Magnolia Warbler # With warbler flock at Tadoussac
Yellow-rumped Warbler Rockport, tadoussac and in cottage garden
Black & white Warbler * Near cottage and Ile du Marias
Black-thoat Blue Warbler# Rockport – only sighting
Black throat Green Warbler Males and fall birds near cottage
Prairie warbler Cottage garden
Blackpoll Warbler With warbler flock at Tadoussac
Pine Warbler # With warbler flock at Tadoussac
Yellow Warbler #* Excellent views Upper Canada and cottage
Wilson Warbler *# 2 in willow thicket in botanical gardens
Common Yellowthroat Near cottage
Field Sparrow #* Upper Canada Park
Chipping Sparrow Upper Canada Park
Song Sparrow * Several sites but coming to feeder in cottage garden
Swamp Sparrow* Ile du Marais
White throated Sparrow Cap Tourmelier & near cottage
Rose-breasted Grosbeak # Near cottage – included a nice male + Rockport
Northern Cardinal * Jills garden in Montreal; Botanical Garden
Red-winged Blackbird* Fairly numerous along roadside and at Upper Canada
Common Grackle* Fairly numerous in Ontario and cottage area
Baltimore Oriole* # Near cottage and at Ile du Marais
House Finch* IN Quebec; Cap Tormelier and Niagara
American Goldfinch* Fairly widespread in our travels
House Sparrow* In towns

Total 89 species – 63 seen by Robert as well 28 new to me

JAN 18/08/2001