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