Montebello is a small village between Montreal and Hull. We stayed in the Canadian Pacific Hotel Chateau Montebello. This 'largest log cabin in the world' is situated in its own area of woodland and parkland. It borders onto the Outaouais River which here forms the border between Quebec and Ontario.
On our first morning we walked down the road which leads to the main entrance of the Chateau grounds on Highway 148. This is bordered on either side by mixed woodland (see map). This was the first time we had seen conifers in a woodland and is significant because a lot of the North American wood warblers like conifers. As we walked down we heard a singing male Black-throated Green Warbler which came to 'pishing' and flitted about a metre above our heads. Pishing also attracted a Red-eyed Vireo. That afternoon we saw a pair of Sharp-shinned Hawks near the Chateau main entrance and in the evening we added two singing Veerys in the woods on the eastern side of the road to the Chateau. We also got severely bitten by mosquitoes so watch out for that!
The next day, while walking down this road, we heard at least two singing Ovenbirds in the woodland to the west of the road.
Just past the entrance to the golf course, going towards the town, is a cemetery. Here was a good site for Blue Jay. We noticed that these birds looked a lot cleaner and bluer than those further to the east.
North of the town
There is an area of meadow north of the town. This can be reached by walking up just about any road off the main highway. We found this site to be excellent for Red-winged Blackbird, Bobolink, a male was often seen singing from the telegraph wires parallel to the railway track and Eastern Meadowlark, usually seen flying or in the larger trees. Also here we had Savannah and Song Sparrows on the telegraph wires parallel to the path to the chalet. The chalet was the nesting site for a pair of Eastern Phoebes and the woodland edge the territory of a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird. The wood was quiet but we did find a White-breasted Nuthatch. We also saw Turkey Vultures flying over the meadow and the distant hills to the east.
Early one morning we did a walk around part of the golf course. Here we had the 'commoner' birds of the areas: Veery, Black-capped Chickadee, Black-throated Green Warbler, Brown-headed Cowbird, American Goldfinch, American Robin, Red-eyed Vireo, Chipping Sparrow, Common Grackle, American Crow and Eastern Wood-pewee, plus a female Hooded Merganser.
Back at the meadow we had a similar list to the day before, although with better views of male Bobolink. We also saw two or three Brown Thrashers, a singing male Indigo Bunting and heard Common Yellowthroat. A lot of the birds here can be quite distant so a 'scope was invaluable.
A walk through the town and down to the river added American Kestrel, Yellow Warbler and Warbling Vireo.
In the afternoon we walked along the river bank following the path to the west of the Chateau. Along here is an area of marsh which held a Great Blue Heron and two Common Terns. Here we had a highlight of the trip. Whilst watching a Red-winged Blackbird we heard an unfamiliar call and turned just in time to see a dark bird flying away from us into the wood. We waited a while and soon the bird reappeared. It was a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and was feeding from sap holes it had dug in the tree trunk. This bird fed for a few seconds then flew off and was soon replaced by the female. Between sapsucker visits (alternately male and female) the sap holes were used by a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird who waited patiently nearby when the sapsuckers appeared then flew in to hover and feed when they had gone. These birds all fed quite happily about two metres away from us.
The walk back to the hotel added Great Crested Flycatcher on the path and Double-crested Cormorant over the river.
Our last day in Montebello was much the same with the addition of House Finch and six Cedar Waxwings in town, one of which sat on a wire above the main road as people and vehicles passed beneath it. We had very good views of the bird from directly beneath it.
By now it was June 10th and we had to leave Montebello for Montreal Airport and thence to Winnipeg in Manitoba. From the bus between Montebello and Montreal we saw, as well as the more common species, one Turkey Vulture, a Hairy Woodpecker and two Greater Yellowlegs.