By Renaud Pintiaux

The year’s off to a great start! January 2: I’ve no sooner arrived at Cap de Bon-Desir, and, standing on the boulders, I spot a large spout offshore. The whale takes five breaths and then arches its back as it dives. I watch it through my binoculars. It’s a fin whale! Ten minutes later, it’s back again. Even if this individual is far away, I take a few photos to confirm the ID. A nice treat to kick off the new year!

The other highlight of the week concerns belugas. On January 7, I’m near the ferry port in Les Escoumins. Much to my surprise, I observe between 300 and 400 belugas offshore (and this is a conservative figure!). This is the first time I’ve ever seen such a gathering at this time of year. I observe multiple groups of several dozen belugas as well as several lone individuals. One section of ​​the river is literally filled with belugas!

Also worth noting is the presence of several groups of harp seals, including one group numbering over 110 individuals in Les Escoumins on January 7.

As far as birds are concerned, there are a few nice flocks of purple sandpipers (see photo taken at Cap de Bon-Désir), a late common loon and of course numerous sea ducks (Barrow’s and common goldeneye, red-breasted mergansers, black ducks, long-tailed ducks, etc.).

Not to mention the striking landscapes and those breathtaking winter skies…

A new year commences, and with it, new adventures on shore and later, on the water.

Happy New Year to all!

Field Notes - 10/1/2017

Renaud Pintiaux

GREMM research assistant from 2003 to 2009 and from 2012 to 2014, Renaud Pintiaux is a passionate observer and photographer. Year round, whether from shore or on the water, he takes every opportunity to observe marine mammals and birds in the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park.

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