Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ottawa East - Frank Kenny and East to St. Isidore

Jan 27 2010

(text by Connie)
Here is the list of birds we had for today. We spent so long looking for the Snowy Owl, that my eyes were starting to get sore! Thanks to Janet for finally spotting one and encouraging us to look at the suspected form more closely. We saw both Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks today, but in all the driving around there were no snow buntings. Even feeders (with seed) seemed to be lacking in birds and there weren't even any House Sparrows at the Casselman Tim Hortons!
Still a good day for birding.

Connie

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Birds Observed Wednesday, January 27, 2010 (Jane,Janet,Bill,Rick,Russell,Connie) Ottawa East - Frank Kenny and East to St. Isadore 1 American Crow 2 Black-capped Chickadee3 Blue Jay4 Common Raven5 Downy Woodpecker (at feeder)6 European Starlings (big flock over dump)7 Great Black-backed Gull8 Herring Gull9 Mourning Dove10 Northern Cardinal11 Northern Hawk Owl12 Red-tailed Hawk (more than one)13 Rock Pigeon14 Rough-legged Hawk (light morph)15 Snowy Owl (usual location - Concession 20 between Ste. Rose and County Rd. 8) Total: Birds Observed =15 Birds Heard Only =0 Note: Coyotes seen several places including Frank Kenny Road, St. Rose Road (St. Isadore)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

OFO outing with Dave Britton

Jan 23, 8:00 am
(text by Dave Britton)
A group of about 25 birders met in Ottawa this morning for the annual OFO January winter field trip. It was a beautiful mid-winter morning - sunny and almost windless, if a bit cold first thing. While winter birding has been a bit slow in the Ottawa area this winter with a dearth of owls and finches, we had a very enjoyable morning and saw 29 species, including a number of the regional specialties. We began the trip along Maple Grove Road in Kanata, where we quickly found 3 GRAY PARTRIDGE coveyed up underneath the pines at the City of Ottawa public works yard. Heading south from there along Huntmar Drive, some of the group members spotted a NORTHERN SHRIKE. Our next stop was a storm water management pond off of Iber Road in the Goulbourn Industrial Mall, where the combination of a little bit of open water and a nearby backyard birdfeeder has concentrated ducks including 4 CANADA GEESE and a male WOOD DUCK (unusual in winter in Ottawa). We headed south through the agricultural lands between Ottawa and Richmond, adding a few SNOW BUNTINGS and a darkly-barred SNOWY OWL. Along Akins Road we also had another small group of GRAY PARTRIDGE running about between rows of corn stubble in the fields. At the frozen Moodie Drive quarry ponds we found a group of 100+ gulls loafing on the ice. The presence of a coyote on the ice nearby made the gulls skittish, but we still got great scope looks at the birds, which were unusually close to the gate. The group was composed mainly of GREAT BLACK-BACKED and HERRING, but there were a few adult and juvenile GLAUCOUS GULLS and at least 1 juvenile ICELAND GULL. A couple of RED-TAILED HAWKS were present in the area, as well as a single light phase ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. We moved on to the Jack Pine Trail feeders where amongst the usual suspects we had good looks at an obliging BROWN CREEPER and a close encounter with an 8-point buck White-tailed Deer. At the Hilda Road feeders we added AMERICAN GOLDFINCH and AMERICAN TREE SPARROW. It was already noon, but a few of the group decided to continue on to Remic Rapids. Unfortunately, the Peregrine Falcon that I had seen perched on the nearby R.H. Coates building early that morning hadn't stuck around, but a male BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was quickly found amongs the COMMON GOLDENEYE off of the lookout and provided great views. I'd like to thank everyone who participated in this very enjoyable morning of birding!
David Britton, Ottawa

Complete Trip List: Canada Goose Wood Duck Mallard Common Goldeneye Barrow's Goldeneye Gray Partridge Red-tailed Hawk Rough-legged Hawk Herring Gull Iceland Gull Glaucous Gull Great Black-backed Gull Rock Pigeon Snowy Owl Downy Woodpecker Hairy Woodpecker Northern Shrike Blue Jay American Crow Common Raven Black-capped Chickadee White-breasted Nuthatch Brown Creeper European Starling American Tree Sparrow Snow Bunting Northern Cardinal American Goldfinch House Sparrow







Thursday, January 21, 2010

Winter Specialties - Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Tuesday Jan 19, 8:00am

We met at the Coliseum – Al, Heather, Rick, me and Tony. Today, we were always on the lookout for the Gyrfalcon. We went directly to Britannia Conservation Area, and after scanning the ice on Mud Lake, we headed up onto the ridge. We saw several Mallards in the swift water and a MallardxBlack hybrid. Also we saw a male Common Goldeneye.

As we walked west to the end of the ridge, we came upon a flock of a dozen or more American Robins. A male Northern Cardinal was also lurking in the bushes. Tony and Rick heard Cedar Waxwings and we struggled to see a couple in the dense shrubbery.

We left and went to the Deschenes Rapids lookout on the Ottawa River Parkway – nothing there. So we headed to Tunney’s Pasture to check the Coats Building – nothing on the north or west sides; so we went around to the Beer Store on Scott St. and spotted two Peregrine Falcons on the east side perched by the lights. One was facing away, but the other gave us a chance to digiscope. Heather spotted a House Sparrow, a Hairy Woodpecker, a Blue Jay and a European Starling on the building adjoining the Beer Store parking lot.

Despite seeing two falcons, the Gyrfalcon eluded us. We went to Bate Island to look for the Barrows Goldeneye, but had to settle for dozens of Common.Goldeneye and a nice male Common Merganser.

Still trying for the Gyr, we went to the Experimental Farm, where we found a tree loaded with House Finches. Crossing the road towards Hartwell’s Locks, we saw a female Pileated Woodpecker and also a Downy. We drove to the Clyde Avenue snow dump to check the quarry for you know what. But all we got was a Common Raven. We drove all the way out to Hilda Road where there was nothing but Black-capped Chickadees, a Blue Jay and several American Tree Sparrows.

On the way back, Tony spotted a flock of about 50 Bohemian Waxwings at the Corner of James Cummings and Carling Avenues, opposite Moodie Dr.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dewberry Trail, Mer Bleue & Wall Road - Ottawa East with Tony Beck

Thursday Jan 14, 8:00am

Heather, Tony & I met at Trim Road, and drove over to Mer Bleue, where we met Rick. We birded there for an hour, and then drove to Navan for coffee and soup.
The rest of the morning, we drove the backroads south of Navan. Today we had 15 species – Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, American Crow, Mourning Dove, Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Shrike, European Starling, House Sparrow, Rock Pigeon, Snow Bunting, American Tree Sparrow, Wild Turkey, and Northern Cardinal (when I got home). Rick also heard a White-breasted Nuthatch and a Brown Creeper before we arrived at Dewberry Trail.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Gatineau Escarpment & the Steele Line with Tony Beck

Tuesday Jan 12, 8:00am

We met at the Gamelin Blvd Visitor Centre – Rick, Heather, Tony & me. We decided to all go in Heather’s more comfortable car.

We drove to St. Raymond, then Pink Rd all the way to the end. On Pink, we saw a small flock of Bohemian Waxwings.

We took Terry Fox down to Hwy 148, then on to Terrien Rd. and drove to a lookout over the escarpment. Guess what Heather spotted - a Golden Eagle! Heather was on a roll. On the Eardley-Masham Road, she spotted an adult Northern Shrike. On Bradley Rd., we saw the flock of Evening Grosbeaks that we had seen on Sunday.

We headed on to Steele Line and Tony spotted a Bald Eagle flying over right over the road. We turned onto Chemin Lac des Loups and checked out a feeder there. A gentleman came out and talked to us about the bird scarcity this winter. We did see a Hairy Woodpecker and a bunch of Chickadees. We made a loop on Swamp Road without seeing any birds – beautiful scenery, though.

Retracing our steps, we saw a couple of Wild Turkeys right on Steele Road. Then out on Hwy 148, we stopped at a tree full of Snow Buntings. When I got home, there were a couple of American Robins on my front walk.

Monday, January 11, 2010

OFNC Outing with Bernie Ladouceur

Sunday, Jan 10 8:00 am

About 15 hardy souls met at Lincoln Heights Shopping Centre and organized car pools. Bernie presented a couple of options from which we chose to go to the Qu├ębec side to look for eagles and other raptors. To give time for the thermals to develop, we stopped at Deschenes Rapids to check for ducks. There were a fair smattering of Common Goldeneye and a single male Hooded Merganser. A lone Canada Goose appeared to have lost its mate to a predator. After scoping by the river, we were quite chilled, so a stop at Tim Horton’s was welcome.

From there we headed out to the Eardly-Masham Road, rendezvousing at the restaurant at the corner, where we noted a number of Blue Jays and Common Ravens. We drove up into the Gatineau Park, stopping only once to view a Red-tailed Hawk. We made three stops inside the park, but it was deadly quiet. So we returned to the base of the escarpment to look for eagles.

We took Bradley Road, then Kennedy, 6th Concession and Wilson. We stopped at a feeder and observed a Hairy woodpecker, lots of Blue Jays and Black-capped Chickadees, a few American Goldfinches and a Mourning Dove.

On to Steele Line, bordering the escarpment. Finally the caravan of vehicles pulled up opposite a farm house, where Bernie pointed out two perched Bald Eagles in a tree beside the farm, one full adult, and the other a second or third year. There was a flock of about 300 Snow Buntings at the same location. The younger eagle took off and flew over the road towards the escarpment, where we saw another Bald Eagle perched on high. Then Bernie saw a fourth, far in the distance.

We turned down Chemin Lac des Loups to check another feeder, but the results were not thrilling, unless you like Hairy Woodpeckers.

We retraced our steps to check for more eagles, meeting Bob Cermak, Chris Lewis, Bob Bracken & company en route. Bernie got a hot tip from them, so we proceed directly to Bradley Road and stopped at a distant feeder. We were rewarded by the presence of about 15 Evening Grosbeaks. Much joy, as the winter finches are exceedingly scare this year.
We continued on Bradley past Eardley-Masham Road, where we saw three White-tailed Deer cross in front. On the right side, there were more deer and about 60 Wild Turkeys in the field.
That was the end of our day, but on turning the car around ,we spotted another Red-tailed Hawk up on the escarpment.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cross-country Skiing to Herridge Lodge

Saturday, Jan 9, 2010 - 3 pm

There have been reports of a Barred Owl at Herridge in past years, so I always pack my camera. We must have checked at least 10 times over the last two years without seeing one, but today our luck finally turned. In fact we walked right past him twice without noticing, but got him just before we took off! In fact, he was right out in the open over the bird feeder.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Searching for the Gyr with Tony Beck

Sunday, Jan 3, 2010. 7:30 am

It was another windy cold day in the capital, when Tony decided to put on an extra outing to try for the Gyrfalcon. Jen, Janet B, Rick, Barbara & I braved the temperatures.
We went first to Hilda Road feeders. Barbara spotted an American Tree Sparrow on the ground and Janet saw a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers at the suet feeder. We also saw a Hairy Woodpecker and a couple of Blue Jays. Our next stop was at Mud Lake. It was really quiet, but Jen had brought seeds to feed the Black-capped Chickadees. We scanned the open water at the base of the rapids with nothing to report. We got on the Ottawa River parkway and drove in to the Deschene Rapids lookout – not much doing and really cold. From there we went to Tunney’s Pasture to see if a falcon was at the Coates Building – nope!

Undeterred, we drove to the Experimental Farm to look for raptors – only got a Raven.

We were so close to Fletcher that we decided to give it a try. It had warmed slightly, so we hiked around to the far feeder. A mourning Dove was huddled right on the feeder. There were several House Finches, including a nice red male. A Northern Cardinal also appeared in the back.
We checked all the conifers, finding nothing. At the feeder behind the nature centre, there was a Dark-eyed Junco, a pair of House Sparrows and a White-breasted Nuthatch.

On leaving, I decided to liven things up by getting stuck. Some helpful dog walkers came to our rescue with a shovel and strong bodies.

We drove to the Carlington Quarry for one last look for the Gyrfalcon, but it did not appear. Jen was so cold that she did not even get out of the car.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

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

Tuesday Dec 22, 8:00am

It was a bitterly cold day for Rick, Heather, Tony & me. We all drove in Tony’s car to check out the Hilda feeders. At the corner of Rifle Road, we saw a Northern Shrike and a Red-tailed Hawk.

At Hilda, we saw a male Pileated Woodpecker, an American Robin, some Blue Jays and a young White-tailed Buck. We headed out to the country to try and re-find the Snowy Owl that Rick had seen a day or so before. It was tough, but we did locate it in the distance, on the ground, near the corner of Eagleson and Rushmore. On the other side of the road, we saw a light-morph Rough-legged Hawk. We swung around on Moodie Drive, and saw a young Red-tailed Hawk perched near Trail Road. We turned down past the dump and saw a huge number of gulls on the hill. Besides the common ones, there were 5 or 6 Glaucous Gulls, and one Iceland Gull. We were absolutely freezing looking through the scope, so Heather and I got back in the car to warm up while Rick and Tony soldiered on.

A Gyrfalcon had been reported on the Christmas Bird Count, so we had to try for it. We first went to the end of Clyde Ave., and then drove around to the bottom of the quarry – no luck! We went to the Experimental Farm, where a couple had been seen in other years. No luck with the Gyrfalcon, but we did see a distant Cooper’s Hawk flying by the Dunton Tower of Carleton University. We drove down Parkdale to Scott to check out the Coates Building – neither Gyrfalcon nor Peregrine.

A Red-shouldered Hawk had been reported in Aylmer on the CBC, so that was our next destination. We drove to Maple Grove in the old part of Aylmer. It was really birdy, with lots of mature trees and large lots. W had Northern Cardinals, European Starlings, a Mourning Dove and a Downy Woodpecker. We got out and did a walk about. There was a tiny stream and frozen pond. Tony spotted some ducks flying in, and sure enough, they landed on the pond. There were several Mallards and two American Black Ducks. There was no sign of the Red-shouldered Hawk, but, back at the car, Tony did spot a Merlin and scoped it for us.