Monday, October 26, 2009

Andrew Haydon Park

Oct. 26 10 am

The ponds at Andrew Haydon Park continue to provide excitement for local birders and photographers. Today’s star was a male Green-winged Teal. The teal was accompanied by a female Lesser Scaup. And also nearby was a female Northern Pintail. Out on the river, there was a good sized raft of scaup and a few small groups of scaup nearer shore. Also spotted were a Red-necked Grebe and a pair of Buffleheads.

A Merlin terrorized the local Crow population, then was in turn chased by them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Andrew Haydon Park

Oct 19, 2:00 pm

After receiving a tip on Ontbirds, I headed right out to see the Long-tailed Duck. It was easy to find, as there were three or four photographers set up already. The duck cruised in quite close for marvelous photo opportunities, and then decide to take a nap. The Green-winged Teal was still there and the two Northern Pintails too. Our lone Brant now had two other companions. Perhaps the three of them will migrate together.

Migration Along The Ottawa River - Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Thursday Oct 15, 7:30am.

We met at the east parking lot of Andrew Haydon Park. There was Kim, Tony and me.

We saw at least three Cackling Geese, but not much else. So we walked over to the west side of the park and checked the Ottawa River. We were hoping to find a Greater White-fronted Goose which had been reported the day before, but it was nowhere to be found.

We saw a Red-breasted Merganser and a few Lesser Scaup.
In the pond, there was a Green-winged Teal and a Greater Yellowlegs. At the far end, by the creek, we saw a couple of Killdeer huddled on the shore looking very cold. We circled the pond and saw some immature gulls and the Brant which has been around since July. Tony was worried about it’s health and hoped that the Wild Bird Care Centre was monitoring the bird. We decided to warm up by driving over to try for the Black-backed Woodpecker. We enjoyed the trail, saw both nuthatches, some Golden-crowned Kinglets, plenty of Robins, a Blue Jay, and a Fox Sparrow, but no Black-backed Woodpecker. Oh, well.

We checked the Burnside Pond, but it was quiet there. We saw a Ruddy Duck pair, a nice male Lesser Scaup, a Bonaparte Gull, and a Pied-billed Grebe.

So, we headed back to Andrew Haydon and checked the ponds and river again. This time we saw a Lesser Yellowlegs, a couple of female Northern Pintails, and a Great Blue Heron.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rideau Trail – Ottawa West with John McAlpine

Tuesday, Oct. 13. 2:30 pm

Friends John and Mary Anne had spotted and photographed a Black-backed Woodpecker on Monday. I persuaded John to guide me there, and surprise, he was still there chopping away at the same tree. On the trail, we also saw a yellow-rumped Warbler, a Ruby-throated Kinglet and lots of Black-capped Chickadees.

Shorebirds, Raptors and Waterfowl – Ottawa East with Tony Beck

Tuesday, Oct. 13. We met at Petrie Island at 7:30 am in a light drizzle.

There were many handsome drake Wood Ducks and a couple of Great Blue Herons in the ponds where we parked. We modified the day’s plan, somewhat, to look for rare geese in the fields along and near Milton Road.

Along rural Trim Road, we saw a mixed flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds and European Starlings.

We scanned several large bunches of Canada Geese in the fields and ponds, finally spotting at least two Cackling Geese. It was cold and wet, so we decided to go for a coffee. On the way, just south of Smith Road, we spotted our main target – an adult Ross’s Goose. It was a lifer for me!After warming up, we went back to the same area. We saw a perched Northern Harrier on Smith Road. We also saw an American Kestrel.

We parked by the bridge on Milton and walked a short way along a road into the field. There were lots of sparrows – White-crowned, White-throated, Song and Swamp. Also a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

We also went down Carlsbad Road where we found huge flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds following the cattle. Finally, we saw another Northern Harrier make a kill in the field. We looked carefully for Sandhill Cranes, but could not spot any.

Fall cottage visitors

Oct 10-12, Grand Lac des Cèdres, Québec

Shorebirds and Waterfowl – The Eastern Lagoons with Tony Beck

Thursday Oct 8. We met at Petrie Island at 7:30 am.
Today there was Heather, Emily, Tony & me.

We admired the Wood Duck drakes in their breeding plumage until everyone was ready to head to Alfred to look for the Red Phalarope that had been reported by Jacques Bouvier.

We got to Alfred, gassed up Heather’s car, and went straight to the lagoons viewing tower.
There was lots of activity – many Common Moorhens, American Coots, Ruddy Ducks, Northern Shovellers and Mallards. We had great views of a Northern Harrier. There were several Redheads and Green-winged Teal, but the hoped-for Phalarope could not be located. A couple of other birders with passes showed up, but they did not find it either.

We decided to patrol the back roads on the way to Casselman lagoons. We saw a Red-tailed Hawk, an early Rough-legged Hawk and an American Kestrel. We stopped at a freshly ploughed field, and were rewarded when about 40 American Golden Plovers arrived, including some adults. We also saw a Savannah Sparrow and several Song Sparrows.

At Casselman Lagoons, we had about 8 Snow Geese, more Ruddy Ducks, a couple of Cackling Geese, and a single Surf Scoter. We drove back via Milton Road, but did not see any Sandhill Cranes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Woodland Trails and Open Fields - Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Tuesday Oct 6, 7:30am

We met at the Jack Pine Trail and ventured into Stony Swamp. We quickly spotted a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch. Things were quiet for a bit, and then Tony heard then spotted a Purple Finch perched high up in the open.
From the second stretch of boardwalk, we saw some Mallards and a single Green-winged Teal. We could also hear a White-breasted Nuthatch. Then a late Solitary Sandpiper flew in, and also a Belted Kingfisher. Continuing along the trail, we heard a Greater Yellowlegs, a Brown Creeper and a Pileated Woodpecker. We cut back to the feeder area and saw a White-throated Sparrow and a Golden-crowned Kinglet on the way back to the cars. We decided to make a stop at Burnside Pit. There were four gull species, Bonaparte, Great-black Backed, Herring and Ring-billed. A nice male Ring-necked Duck was attended by a couple of females. Several Pied-billed Grebes could be seen, and also a Double-crested Cormorant. Tony spotted a little Downy Woodpecker fly across the road and land in a bush nearby.

We decided to cruise the back roads around Richmond, to see if we could find any unusual geese among the flocks of Canadas. We made several stops to scan the fields without turning anything up. On Brownlee Road, we saw a White-crowned Sparrow a Song Sparrow, a warbler (Palm?), and a Yellow-rumped Warbler in the bushes beside the road. Tony scoped a Savannah Sparrow and we had an American Pipit fly over. We cruised several more back roads closer to North Gower, seeing only a few more Pipits.

So we went back to Burnside Pit, where the light was now better. Tony spotted a single Snow Goose and we scoped it. There were three Lesser Scaup females, and several distant Ruddy Ducks. Somehow, Tony spotted a Red-tailed Hawk far on the other side of the pit, and got it in the scope.

A couple of American Coots briefly emerged from the reeds, and then we saw three Cackling Geese among the Canadas. Finally I saw a Greater Yellowlegs near the Coots, and spotted a Great Blue Heron camouflaged up on the shore.