Friday, May 15, 2009

Linda's & Susan's warbler discovery day

May 11 2009

Today was the retirement gift warbler discovery outing for Linda & Susan led by Bill. We were delighted to be joined also by Rodney, Cathy & Barbara. We were equally delighted with the beautiful spring weather.

We met at 8:00 am at Mud Lake by the Britannia Filtration Plant.

Red-winged Blackbird

We began at the Ottawa River across from the plant, and then worked our way along the ridge, seeing the first of several Yellow Warblers. Eagle-eye Rodney kept spotting them. Warbling Vireos were also present in good numbers.

Yellow Warbler

Warbling Vireo

At the west end of the ridge, we saw several Yellow-rumped Warblers, and Bill heard a Black-throated Blue Warbler (not seen).

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Across the road, we were beckoned by a photographer group to see a Northern Parula. This small warbler was a very good find for the day list.

Northern Parula

We then followed the trail towards the houses, being careful of the poison ivy. The Yellow Warblers were everywhere! In a large willow tree, we spotted a Baltimore Oriole. Further on there was a Gray Catbird.

We headed back to the trail by the pond. We saw a pair of Wood Ducks, and Bill got them in the scope. We hiked on over to the little bridge, where we saw many turtles basking, including a rare Blanding’s, which Bill also scoped.

Continuing around the trail, we saw an Eastern Kingbird and a couple of Brown-headed Cowbirds high in a tree.

Eastern Kingbird

Brown-headed Cowbird

We went down the spur trail towards the lake, but turned back when we saw a skunk in a hole in a tree right at waist level.

We carried on around towards the parkway, noting a Great Blue Heron fly away and a beaver swim away.

After getting our picture taken by a passing cyclist, we continued through the gate back towards the filtration plant. We saw a Wood Thrush on the path, and a Great-crested Flycatcher on an overhanging branch.

We made our way carefully past the muddy section and saw a White-crowned Sparrow and a Song Sparrow along the fence. Bill first identified the former as a White-throated Sparrow, but had second thoughts later.

Song Sparrow

With noon approaching, we made one last foray to the Ottawa River to show Linda the Canada Geese and goslings. A pair of Northern Flickers entertained us with a little hanky panky. We had also noted both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers along the waterfront.

Canada Goose

Northern Flicker

What a great day we had!

Bird List

Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Parula, Warbling Vireo, Blue Jay, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Baltimore Oriole, Gray Catbird, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Great Blue Heron, Eastern Kingbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Great-crested Flycatcher, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Wood Thrush, Northern Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, American Crow, European Starling.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sparrows, Kinglets and Early Warblers - Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Thursday Apr 30, 7:30am:

We met at Jack Pine Trail parking lot off Moodie Drive, south of Hunt Club Road. There were ten of us today, with some new faces. It was nice to bird with Heather again – it’s been a long time. There was quite a bit of cloud, so not ideal for photography.
We hiked down to the now-empty feeders and saw Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers cleaning up the scraps of suet.
There were many White-throated Sparrows around, both the bright and dull morphs. A couple of Pine Siskin were around the feeders too. Heather spotted two Black-throated Blue Warblers – FOS.
We hiked on down to the boardwalk and pond. We could hear, then spotted a Northern Flicker. Things were fairly quiet except for some Tree Swallows and Cedar Waxwings.
We carried on the far side of the trail where we saw several Ruby-Crowned Kinglets and American Goldfinches.
A Great-Blue Heron flew past, likely heading for the heronry nearby. We Saw many Swamp Sparrows, getting good looks at a couple. Song Sparrows were also all around, along with a few Dark-eyed Juncos.
Once past the boardwalk, we turned left and saw a couple of Pine Warblers (FOS), then heard and saw some Yellow-rumped Warblers too. We saw both Nuthatches too.
In the distance, we saw an adult Coopers Hawk and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Then we saw our fourth warbler, a Nashville.
At the back end of the trail, we encountered a singing Field Sparrow at the traditional place.
At the pond we saw a Wilson’s Snipe skulking in the weeds. Heather spotted some rather large Green Frogs.
As it was still early, we decided to hike the trail to the heronry. I led the way as no one else had ever been there. It was farther than expected, so some were getting tired. But we were rewarded with at least 4 adults on nests and heard some Northern Leopard Frogs calling at the pond.
We returned to the vehicles and car-pooled down to Burnside pit.
Here is a list of our sightings: Spotted Sandpiper, Brown-headed Cowbird, Eastern Kingbird, Ruddy Duck, Snow Goose, Horned Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Lesser Scaup, Green-winged Teal., Iceland Gull, Savannah Sparrow.

Mud Lake

April 29, 10:00 am

I made a quick check of Mud Lake / Britannia Ridge this bright sunny morning.
I could hear some Yellow Warblers singing on the ridge, but did not spot any. There were lots of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles by the small pond on the north side of Cassels Road.
I crossed over to the woods beside Mud Lake and saw three Yellow Warblers and a Warbling Vireo. On returning to the car, I encountered a Northern Flicker.