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Ornithological potential of the region

Every fall, the north shore of the St. Lawrence is transformed into an immense migration corridor, one of the most important in northeastern North America.

Raptors and passerines use this corridor in large numbers. In addition, the presence of the St. Lawrence estuary combined with the wealth of coastal sites (flats, bays, etc.) makes this sector an important migratory stopover for shorebirds and seabirds.

The North Shore region has a very large number of interesting observation sites distributed mainly along the shore. The most suitable places have been compiled in an excellent guide published by the Club d’ornithologie de la Côte-Nord. “Where to observe birds on the North Shore” is a very high quality work available on order (by email) from the Ornithology Club ( (in french only).

Based on the work carried out as part of this guide, here is a non-exhaustive list of observation sites of interest during the festival on the territory of the Manicouagan region, from Tadoussac to Colombier.

Observing sites

© Etienne Delorieux

Tadoussac Dunes

This place is the epicenter of the activities of the Tadoussac Bird Observatory and the festival. This site is considered the best place in Quebec to observe migrating diurnal raptors, finches and warblers. More than 7,000 birds of prey of 13 different species are counted there each fall. The site has the second largest list of species for the province : 271 species!

© David Turgeon

Pointe de l’Islet – Tadoussac

La Pointe de l’Islet is a site that is part of the Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park. It is located in the heart of the village of Tadoussac. Free access is from a path that circles this rocky point that juts into the Saguenay River. Exceptional rarities have been observed there, the latest on the list being the Black-tailed Gull noted on October 21, 2019.

© Jessica Pineault

Pointe à John – Bergeronnes

Pointe-à-John and the Quai des Bergeronnes are a single site which is located at the end of rue de la Mer (indications Archéo-Topo). From this location, you’ll have a view of the rocky tidal flat and the estuary. Gulls, seagulls, dabbling and diving ducks frequent the area. More than 200 species including 141 in September.

© Valérie Copeiro Palomar

Cap de bon-désir – Bergeronnes

Cap de bon-désir is a land-based marine mammal observation site under the jurisdiction of Parks Canada (entrance fee required). It is a long point that juts out into the St. Lawrence. The place is therefore strategic for observing seabirds. In addition, the access trail between the parking lot and the rocky point offers good potential for forest birds.

© Sarah Dubord-Fortin

Escoumins Bay

Located in the heart of the village of Les Escoumins, this bay is one of the best places in Quebec to observe Laridae. The Black-headed Gull and the Little Gull are regularly observed there in the fall through the good groups of Bonaparte’s Gulls. Small groups of shorebirds can be observed on the non-rocky shores bordering the bay.

© David Turgeon

Longue-Rive salt marsh

L65 km east of Tadoussac, the large salt marsh of Longue Rive is accessible by the dam road. This marsh is of great interest for the observation of shorebirds and waterfowl, from mid-rising tide to mid-fall tide. The shore located on the other side of the point (facing the St. Lawrence) is also a good place to observe shorebirds at high tide.

© Nadine Emond

Banc de Portneuf-sur-mer

The Portneuf sandbar is ideal for observing shorebirds, which are present in great numbers (from half-rising to half-falling tide). Note that the sandbar is more than 4 km long, so plan on spending half a day there to appreciate the birdlife that frequent the area.

© David Turgeon

La Pointe des Fortin

Another option that is shorter for the walk is the Pointe des Fortin which is located on the east bank of the Portneuf River, opposite the sandbar. Shorebirds can congregate at the end of the point at high tide. Access to the site is via the municipal campsite.

© ETtLame

Forestville wharf and small marsh

The Forestville wharf is popular with sea ducks and seabirds, including very large groups of scoters. Located just behind the wharf, a small protected marsh offers the possibility to observe unusual species on the Haute-Côte-Nord such as the Virginia Rail.

© ETt Lame

Havre Colombier

Le Havre Colombier is a rocky bay with a few islands that can be observed from a rest stop halfway between Forestville and Betsiamites. Diving ducks and gulls are present there.