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.

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