Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tony & Nina's Wedding

Dec. 24, 12:00 noon

 We gathered at the Jack Pine Trial for the momentous occasion.

Best man was Mark Gawn and Maid of Honour was Jenn Spalin.

Those in attendance were two White-tailed Deer, a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers, a Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, countless Chickadees, Bill & Barbara, Rick & Sharon, Bob & Nancy, Tony’s sister Cynthia with husband Dave, and their daughter Morgan. An Anglican priest, who lives in their condo, performed the ceremony.

The reception was at Mark’s house.

Twitcher's Delight - Ottawa Centre & West with Tony Beck

Tuesday Dec 21, 8:00am

Today we had Al, Craig, Bob, Peter, Heather, Rick, Nina, Tony, & me.

We started at Britannia Ridge where we saw an adult Bald Eagle, lots of Great Black-backed Gulls and Common Goldeneye. Heather got a nice male White-breasted Nuthatch to come out for us. A Downy-Woodpecker showed up too, as we tried to hand-feed them. There were also a couple of American Goldfinches.

A quick fly-past by a Pileated Woodpecker got us excited. A Common Raven responded to Rick’s imitation.
We wandered down to the river launch and saw a Hairy Woodpecker at the edge of the river and a couple of male Common Mergansers way off in the distance on the Quebec side.

There were several Mallards, one Black Duck, a female Common Merganser and three Canada Geese.
Walking back up the road, Craig got a lifer – a male Pileated Woodpecker.
We drove to Aylmer to twitch for rarities that had been reported on the CBC. We checked for an Eastern Screech Owl, but could not locate it. Same story for a Carolina Wren. But we did see some Dark-eyed Juncos, a male and female Northern Cardinal, a White-throated Sparrow, and both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers while looking for the Wren.
We decided to check on the owl again, but could only find a couple of American Robins. In the Deschenes Rapids, we saw a single female Bufflehead, a Lesser Scaup and three more male Common Mergansers and one female.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Aylmer & Eardley Escarpment with Connie & Jane's group

*** text by Connie ***
We did go birding December 16th as planned. Another beautiful day, but once again, quiet for birds. I think the most prominent bird was Blue Jay. They seemed to be around at many locations. The puffed-up one in the attached photo was with a group on the Eardley-Masham Road.
Best bird for the day was White-winged Cross-bill. We saw 8-10 of these on the Eardley-Masham Road, along with one Bald Eagle and a Common Raven. Our first stop for the day in Quebec was the Lakeview Road area of Aylmer looking for the Red-shouldered Hawk and Carolina Wren that had been reported in the area. We did not find them but did see a Pileated Woodpecker. We were surprised to see the Dark-eyed Juncos this late (Therien Road in Quebec), but I saw several in my backyard the following day as well.

Not on my list, but very likely seen by Bill & Jane in the group was a Long-eared Owl that flew over a trail off the Eardley-Masham Road. My list for the day is below.

Note - after consulting with Tony, we are now thinking Great Horned Owl is most likely.


Birds Observed, Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gatineau West Quebec

(Jane, Connie, Bill, Rick, Hedrik)

Ottawa West - 40 Holitman

1 American Tree Sparrow (1)

2 House Sparrow (lots)

Ottawa West - Fallowfield, Woodroffe

3 Mourning Dove

4 Red-tailed Hawk

5 Rock Pigeon

Aylmer Quebec

6 Pileated Woodpecker (rue des veterans)

7 American Crow (Lakeview Avenue)

Gatineau Quebec - Vanier Road

8 Black-capped Chickadee

9 Common Goldeneye

10 European Starling

11 Hairy Woodpecker

12 White-breasted Nuthatch

Gatineau Quebec - Hwy 148 West of Aylmer

13 Wild Turkey

Gatineau Quebec - Eardley Masham Road

14 Bald Eagle (1)

*** Black-capped Chickadee

15 Blue Jay

16 Common Raven

17 Downy Woodpecker (m)

18 White-winged Crossbill (8-10)

Gatineau Quebec - West - Therien Road

19 Dark-eyed Junco

*** Red-tailed Hawk

Total: Birds Observed =19 Birds Heard Only = 0

Note: Others likely saw Long-eared Owl (two saw this fly over trail off Eardley-Masham Road);

Coyote and Deer (Eardley Masham Road)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wild Turkeys (no Greater White-fronted Geese)

Dec 4, 2010 2:00 pm

We were at home on Saturday, making some preparations for Christmas. A hot tip arrived on OntBirds that 7 Greater White-fronted Geese had been observed near Carp. We needed a break, so decided to head right over to check it out.

Another birder was there scoping the fields, so I joined him. No luck, the geese had left. There were two and then just one Snow Geese left with the flocks of Canadas. It was cold and windy, so Barbara looked from the car, while I toughed it out outside.

Disappointed we left and went home via Carling Avenue. Near the corner of Rifle Road, Barbara spotted a flock of Wild Turkeys right along the road. We did a U-turn, and went back to get some images.

Later, it was reported on OntBirds that the geese came back in around 4:00 pm. Nuts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Strathcona Park with Connie & Jane’s group

Nov 29, 2010 – 9:00 am

A large turnout today to see the Barrow’s Goldeneye - Lynn, Colleen, Connie, Peggy, Jane, Ed, Marc, Brenda, Barb R. and me.

I arrived a few minutes early to find Connie already scoping the Barrow’s Goldeneye. There were lots of Common Goldeneye and Mallards, which made finding Waldo in the crowd difficult. I could not get on it, and without warning, a large flock took off upstream. It must have been with them, because nobody else could locate it either.

We did have a couple of male Common Mergansers and female Hooded Mergansers and a Lesser Scaup on the far shore.  In the distance were a couple of American Black Ducks.

Most of us decided to hike upstream to look for the Barrow’s Goldeneye. In the trees bordering the river, Jane saw a white-breasted Nuthatch, several Black-capped Chickadees and an American Crow.

We stopped at an opening in the trees, and I spotted a pair of Hooded Mergansers, also on the far shore. With no sign of the target species, we headed back downstream. We notice a lone Herring Gull sitting on a rock in the middle of the current. There was a Hairy Woodpecker in the tree beside the path, poking away at what looked like a squirrel’s nest.

Then, Connie discovered the Barrow’s Goldeneye again, and eventually, everyone got good scope views.

The group was going to the west end to check the Ottawa River, but I decided to head east to see the Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes. Boy, did I draw a blank – no sign of either species. The best I could report were a couple of Red-tailed Hawks, a Rough-legged Hawk and an American Kestrel along Concessions 19 and 20.

Monday, November 22, 2010

West end birding with Jane & Connie’s group

Nov 18, 9:00 am

We met at Andrew Haydon Park’s west end. There was a large group - Jane, Peggy, Brenda, Rick, Hedrick, Barb R., Janet B., Marc & me.

It was a grey cold day. The only thing of interest at Andrew Haydon was a group of Green-winged Teal near the Ottawa River shore with some Mallards and Black Ducks.
So went drove to Shirley’s Bay where we had more luck. There were Common Goldeneye, Lesser Scaup, and a female Bufflehead. Rick spotted an Adult Bald Eagle away on the far shore.

We decided to check Hilda feeders. We saw a Northern Cardinal, lots of Black-capped Chickadees, several Blue Jays, some American Tree Sparrows, a White-throated Sparrow and a Dark-eyed Junco.
A Hairy Woodpecker looked dead as it huddled against a tree trunk. Soon the reason became clear, as Rick spotted a Merlin perched up on a neighboring snag.

We went out March Valley Road and saw a Red-tailed Hawk fly across in front of us. We stopped at McEwen’s for a break and coffee, then went over to Kerwin trail in another fruitless effort to find a Black-backed Woodpecker. In fact, there was nothing on the trail at all, so we turned back.

We drove along Fifth Line Road and took a detour down Berry Side Road, seeing nothing. Back on Fifth Line, a raptor was spotted. Those that stopped saw it was a Rough-legged Hawk.

Our next stop was at Constance Creek on Thomas Dolan Parkway where we saw several American Wigeon, too far off to photograph. There was also one Lesser Scaup, and, on the other side of the bridge, three Hooded Merganser males. As we watched, two Common Raven flew past making raven noises.

Our final stop was the man-made ponds nearby on Constance Creek Road, where we saw some distant Buffleheads.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kerwin Road and Shirley’s Bay with Craig & Pamela

November 7, 2010 11:00 am

Today Barbara joined us as we had a quick west-end outing.

We went to Kerwin Road to look for a reported Black-backed Woodpecker, but all we found were other birders.
Then we went to Hilda Road feeders where we saw several Blue Jays and Black-capped Chickadees along with a Red-winged Blackbird , an American Goldfinch and a few American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos.

We moved on to Shirley’s Bay where we saw quite a few Ring-necked Ducks and Lesser Scaup and one Pied-billed Grebe. Another birder said there were several Horned Grebes, but we couldn’t spot them.

At Andrew Haydon Park, we saw Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, Buffleheads and a couple of distant Common Loons in winter plumage.  A Beaver swam right across the bay in front of us.  Returning to the car, we saw a Great Blue Heron.
Craig and Pamela had to leave for Kirk’s, so we went out to Burnside after dropping off some hazardous waste at the dump. There were lots of Hooded Mergansers and some Ruddy Ducks. Too bad we missed these earlier with Craig and Pamela.

As compensation, they had a Barred Owl right in Kirk’s yard!

Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese with Craig & Pamela

November 6, 2010 10:00 am

We drove straight to Milton Road and cruised slowly along without seeing any cranes. That all changed when we turned onto Smith. There was quite a large flock –perhaps 60. A few were relatively close, so Pamela got out to photograph them while I set up the scope. By the time I was finished, the close ones had flown off, so was left with the more distant ones.

We then drove out past Casselman to Concession 20, but there was nothing at all. We crossed back over the 417 and saw a large flock of Snow Geese in the fields. We could not get close, but with the scope, we could see that there were very few blue morph among them. Tony had said that blue morphs were much more common out west, and Pamela agreed.
On the way back, we stopped at Embrun, but it was a bust.

Jack Pine Trail and Munster Side Road with Tony Beck

October 19, 7:30 am

We met at Jack Pine – Tony, Nina, Rick, Heather and me. We had the usual suspects, A Ring-billed Gull, American Crows, Black-capped Chickadees, Canada Geese and Blue Jays. We went to the feeder area and got a Hairy Woodpecker.

Along the trail, there were quite a few Dark-eyed Juncos and American Robins. We saw an Red-breasted Nuthatch and a Chipping Sparrow too.

We headed out onto the boardwalk where there were lots of Mallards and a couple of shy Green-winged Teal. We has a Red-winged Blackbird calling and saw a Yellow-rumped Warbler. We did see an American Tree Sparrow, a Fox Sparrow and a Northern Cardinal.

Out perched, backlit by the sun, were a couple of Rusty Blackbirds. An American Black Duck flew over.

We moved on to Burnside where we saw a Greater Yellowlegs at the spit. We had some Ring-necked Ducks and a couple of flying Great Blue Herons. There were Hooded, Red-breasted and Common Mergansers, Lesser Scaup and Bufflehead.

We drove out to Munster Side Road, but it was really quiet there. We did get a nice Hermit Thrush and both Kinglets.

Ottawa West and Golden-crowned Sparrow with Tony Beck

October 14, 2010 7:30 am

We met at Andrew Haydon Park. – Tony, Nina, Heather, me and a visiting birder, Sue.

We saw a Cackling Goose, a Great-blue Heron and a pair of Green-winged Teal. We went over to the Ottawa River, where we saw 2 Surf Scoters, a White-winged Scoter and a couple of female Lesser Scaup. A White-throated Sparrow was behind us. Tony saw a Double-crested Cormorant come in, and there was Great Black-backed Gull out on the river.

Walking back to the cars, we saw a Downy Woodpecker down low in the shrubs and a very secretive Hermit Thrush.

We carpooled to Moodie Ponds, and on the way, on Eagleson, we saw a Great Egret in one of the storm ponds.

At Burnside, we had a Red-tailed Hawk sitting on the ground. There were a couple of Ring-necked Ducks in the foreground and several Ruddy Ducks. Tony spotted a Lesser Black-backed Gull. A pair of Northern Shovellers flew past too. In the distance we could see a female Common Merganser. An American Pipit blasted across right in from of us and out of sight.

We drove to Rothwell Heights, 12 Cedar Road, to look for a rarity – a Golden-crowned Sparrow that had been coming to a feeder. We saw lots of White-throated Sparrows on the ground, then a Northern Cardinal. A Song Sparrow showed up and then the Golden-crowned. Finally, a Dark-eyed Junco and a House Finch appeared too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Colours and Fall Migrants (PART 2) - Gatineau Park with Tony Beck

Tuesday Oct 12, 7:30am

I missed PART 1, since it was on the weekend. Today there was Janet Wall, Rick, Heather, Nina, Bob, Tony and me. We met at the visitor kiosk on Gamelin and the Gatineau Parkway.

There were all kinds of migrating Robins and European Starlings as we hiked the trail across the road. We saw a few Blue Jays, then a couple of Hermit Thrushes. They were really buried, and it took a while for everyone to get on one. We saw a Hairy and Downy Woodpecker in the same tree. There was a White-throated Sparrow and numerous Black-capped Chickadees along the trail.

We headed up 148 to Luskville, and went into the Park on Hotel de Ville. We saw a very energetic young Merlin playing tag with starlings without success, as we drove in the road. Some Ravens and a Red-tailed Hawk flew over too. Tony also spotted some Dark-eyed Juncos and Yellow-rumped Warblers.

We took the horse trail towards Western CWM. Along the trail, we saw some Golden-crowned Kinglets and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. A nice Hermit Thrush posed for photos while a Blue Jay scolded from the other side of the trail.

I almost stepped on a good-sized American Toad, which kept the troops entertained for quite some time. We went as far as the trail up to the climbing areas, and then turned back.

Back on Hotel de Ville, we saw an American Pipit on a wire. Shortly after Tony got it in the scope, A Red-tailed Hawk flew over causing the pipit to vanish.

We drove up to the Eardley-Masham Road, and stopped at the Dépanneur for quick break. Back on the road, we drove up into the Park again and stopped a couple of times. It wasn’t very productive outside of a Red-breasted Nuthatch and many more American Robins and Blue Jays. There was a Great Blue Heron in the pond (Ramsey Lake?)

We hiked in on Trail 56 as far as the junction to the Richard Yurt. It was a fine day, and the fall colours were superb. So we were not too disappointed that we only saw a few Turkey Vultures along the trail. I heard a woodpecker, but it slinked off before anyone could get on it. We hoped for a Black-backed, but ….

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend at Lac des Cèdres

 Saturday was beautiful, but windy. With three days to do our close-up work, we decided to go for a hike out to the main road to look at the beaver dam. Then return by Chemin du Bouleau.

On the main road, we saw a hawk being harassed by Common Ravens. It was definitely a buteo, and I thought a Broad-winged Hawk, but perhaps it was getting late for them. We saw a great many Blue Jays and a single Dark-eyed Junco.

When we returned to our feeders, I saw both Nuthatches and a Hairy Woodpecker, along with a steady stream of Black-capped Chickadees.

In spite of the wind and cool temperature, I decided to launch the boat and look for whatever waterfowl might have put down on the lake. I was surprised to see 5 or 6 Horned Grebes in a tight little group. Perhaps it was a family.

The following day, Barbara and I went out again, but there was no sign of them. At the far end of the lake, I spotted a single Red-necked Grebe, and, at the mouth of Black Bay, we saw an unusual raft of birds. There were several Common Loons, including a large young, two Herring Gulls, and another Red-necked Grebe. We had also seen the twin Common Loons, still with their parents.
As we returned to the dock, a Bald Eagle flew overhead.