"Saint-Joachim & Cap Tourmente" Saint-Joachim by Carmanah

Saint-Joachim Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 6 photos

Saint-Joachim is a tiny rural town located 45 km east of Québec City, on the northern banks of the Saint Lawrence river. It is in the town of Saint-Joachim where you'll find the entrance to Cap Tourmente.

Cap Tourmente is a National Wildlife Area, where the thousands of snow geese migrate to on their way north to the arctic tundra. I was lucky enough to visit during the height of their migration, however, unfortunately the spring of 2003 came quite late to Québec, and this seemed to affect the migration of the geese. Even on May 14, the spring flowers still weren't up yet, and most trees still did not have their leaves. It was unseasonally cold when I visited too.

I don't know if the weather is fully to blame, but rather than having over 20,000 geese visit the park, they only had about 8000 when I was there. The staff in the park's info centre said that the geese were likely spreading out over the Saint Lawrence valley, perhaps finding other fields more interesting than the fields at Cap Tourmente.

I thought that perhaps their migration was delayed, although I'm not a migration expert. I don't know if geese migrate because of the month, or because of the temperature. Surely with the low temperatures, there was less for the geese to eat... so perhaps they would be arriving later in the month rather than earlier.

Still, there were plenty of geese around Cap Tourmente, and many more species of birds. I really enjoyed looking at the mourning doves (tan coloured doves), and the blue jays. It was the first time I had ever seen blue jays. I've seen steller's jays before, but to see an actual blue jay fly between the trees? That was great.

I also spotted a tiny woodpecker, and I saw hundreds of red-winged blackbirds. Red-winged blackbirds are quite common where I live, because I live next to a river where they're literally everywhere.... but I had never seen so many in one location when I visited Cap Tourmente. There were hundreds of them in the trees, with their striking red and yellow markings on their wings... and they were chirping up a storm - it was insane!

Cap Tourmente has many trails, so me and my friend walked up this one trail, through forests of trillium flowers and birch trees, that followed up the cliff and it brought us to a lookout to where we could see the eastern point of Ile d'Orléans, the widening of the Saint Lawrence... and all the way down the valley to Québec City on the distance horizon. It was gorgeous.

Cap Tourmente marks the most eastern location in Canada I've ever visited.

  • Last visit to Saint-Joachim: May 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • LeDragon's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2003 at 7:07 PM

    Many years ago, they were tens of thousands. A train came. They all lift off, roaring like thunder, like snow going back to clouds !


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