Monday, March 29, 2010

The First Spring Arrivals - Ottawa East with Tony Beck

Wednesday Mar 24, 8:00am

The meeting place was the Trim Road Park & Ride, but I was 10 minutes early, so turned the other way to check out Petrie Island. I only spotted a pair of Bufflehead.

Meanwhile Tony & Heather were already at the Park & Ride and had scoped a Red-tailed Hawk with a Northern Shrike harassing it.

Rick joined us and we took off for points east. We went straight to Navan & Smith Road. Heather spotted a couple of Sandhill Cranes flying away in the distance. The rest of us did not see them, so we turned down Milton Road and watched the fields carefully. We first saw a Blue-morph Snow Goose in amongst a bunch of Canadas. It was speckled, so presumably had a few other genes mixed in. Further down Milton, Tony spotted the two Sandhill Cranes in a distant field.

We turned east on Russell Road, and soon spotted a pure white Snow Goose in a field with the Canadas.

We tuned south to the 417 and stopped at Tim Horton’s in Casselman for a bathroom break. We returned to the 417 and exited at Hwy 138, where we saw a light morph Rough-legged Hawk on a pole on the exit. We pulled over for the photo op, but the raptor did not stick.

We went north to St. Isidore to check for Snowy Owls. They may have departed, as we did not find any. But we did see a Horned Lark close by in a field, and a male Northern Harrier on patrol.
We drove further north to Riceville, hoping to find the flocks of Snow Geese. They were not to be found, even though several thousand had been reported to fly over within the previous week. But the lack of flooded fields precluded their usual stopovers. Heather found some Brown-headed Cowbirds in the cemetery.

We drove on the Cobb’s Creek Lake and finally found several Northern Pintails and some Green-wing Teal.

We zigzagged our way back, seeing 3 or 4 more male Northern Harriers, and 1 female around Giroux Road. At the ponds, we saw male Common Mergansers fly over.

We returned to Petrie Island and found a pair of Hooded Mergansers as well as the Buffleheads. Tony & Rick went into the bush, but Heather & I were rewarded with a Brown Creeper right beside the road.

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