The season on the water is over, but marine mammals have yet to leave the area! From November 5 to 13, I spend time on the rocks at Cap de Bon-Désir (between Les Bergeronnes and Les Escoumins), staring out at sea. Birds and marine mammals: two passions enjoyed simultaneously.

As far as marine mammals are concerned, here are my observations:

Several minke whales are still present in our area. For example, on November 7, on a sunny day with a stiff southwest wind, I spot five minke whales and observe (and photograph) a minke whale breaching more than a dozen times! Also present are a handful of gray seals, a few harp seals, four porpoises and, far offshore from the Bon-Désir campground, I spot five huge spouts: probably fin whales.

Now for the birds… and what activity!

Kittiwakes as well as glaucous, Iceland, ring-billed, great black-backed and herring gulls, a dozen or so lingering gannets, many black guillemots… but it is the sea ducks in particular that have invaded the area: common eiders, long-tailed ducks, red-breasted mergansers, scoters (mostly black scoters). Also worth noting is the presence of several common loons, a few red-throated loons and red-necked grebes. Purple sandpipers are present on the rocks and feed at low tide. They are the only shorebirds that winter in Quebec. Note that many birders travel to the Haute-Côte-Nord region to observe this magnificent species. Below is a video of these birds! You will see these two individuals feeding and preening! For a high quality resolution, click on the gear in the bottom right hand corner of the video and then on 720hd.

Until next week for more offshore news!

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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.

Field Notes - 15/11/2016

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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