Friday, November 13, 2009

Diving Ducks, Loons & other Water Birds – Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Nov 12, 7:30 am

Today Heather joined us on another glorious November day. It was cold and foggy in the early morning so we headed for the Burnside Pit, where we hoped to be able to see things. Along Moodie, Tony spotted an adult Red-tailed Hawk perched just beyond the Jack Pine trail. We stopped and scoped it, in spite of the heavy traffic.

At the pit, I spotted a female Long-tailed Duck that was keeping company with a Ruddy Duck. Once again, there were lots of Hooded Mergansers and a single Pied-billed Grebe. I also spotted a single Common Merganser.

We drove to Barnsdale Road at the back of the dump and scoped another Red-tail. We heard a Hairy Woodpecker. Heather was photographing the frosty milkweed seeds and other grasses. Tony noticed a huge flock of gulls at the dump, so we drove around onto Trail Road. We did not have a good vantage point to see the gulls, but did spot another couple of Red-tails. We spent quite a while photographing the red berries covered in frost at the side of the road. With the fog now burned off, we headed in to Andrew Haydon Park. On the ponds were a couple of male Green-winged Teal, perhaps 20 Lesser Scaup, and a female Ring-necked Duck (which was hard to distinguish from the scaup). On the river, we saw a few Buffleheads, a nice group of Red-breasted Mergansers, which swam in fairly close, single White-winged and Black Scoters, and rafts of Common Goldeneye. An adult Bald Eagle flew past towards Mud Lake. We stopped at Tim Horton’s briefly, then headed over to look for the eagle, but could not locate it. Heather tried feeding the chickadees bagel bits, and they came in along with a White-breasted Nuthatch. This was the first time in a long time that I had seen one feed from the hand. We also saw a Northern Cardinal on the ridge.

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