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.

Shorebirds and Waterfowl - The Eastern Lagoons - Ottawa East with Tony Beck

Thursday Oct 7, 7:30am  We met at Petrie Island – Rick, Bob, Nina, Tony & me.

There were some nice male Wood Ducks in the west marsh today along with the usual Mallards and American Black Ducks. There were also some shy Green-winged Teal.

On the east side, we noted many European Starlings, Dark-eyed Juncos and a few Yellow-rumped Warblers. We proceeded down to the beach to look for the immature Laughing Gull which had been reported the day before; but it had departed.

Tony did spot a Semi-palmated Plover and two juvenile Sanderling running along the beach, which I spent considerable time photographing.
We moved back along the road and saw a Downy Woodpecker, a Blue-headed Vireo and Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets.

Hiking back by the causeway, we saw a Song Sparrow and a Hermit Thrush.
We flushed a Great Blue Heron, and saw a Red-tailed Hawk being harassed by American Crows. We could hear a number of Red-winged Blackbirds and American Robins in the bushes.

We tried to park at the Park & Ride, but it was full again. So we went to Tim Hortons, had a coffee, and left my van there for the rest of the morning.

Our next stop was Giroux Ponds, where we saw an American Kestrel hovering over the fields. It was being mobbed by some little birds, perhaps pipits.
At the ponds, there was as ingle Hudsonian Godwit – a rarity in Ottawa. Sharing space on the gravel spit were several American Golden Plovers and Black-bellied Plovers and a few Dunlin. There was also a White-rumped Sandpiper.

There was also a Great Blue Heron, a Blue Jay, a couple of Common Mergansers and a Pied-billed Grebe.

We went to Embrun Sewage Lagoons next, where we saw a Ruddy Duck and some Northern Shovellers.
  In the far cell, we saw a couple of Redheads, two White-winged Scoters, some Ring-necked Ducks, and a Blue-winged Teal.  We could make out some Lesser Scaup and a Gadwall.
We went back via Milton Road, but did not see any Sandhill Cranes this time. We returned to Giroux, but could not relocate the Godwit. We did see a huge flock of shorebirds flying to the east and come down in a field. We drove over to investigate, but could only find a few Kildeers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NCC Woodland Trails - Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Tuesday Oct 5, 7:30am.  We met at Jack Pine Trail – Tony, Nina, Rick, Bob, Anne (a new birder) and me.

We started down the trail and soon saw a female Hairy Woodpecker and a Blue Jay and a bunch of American Robins. By the time we reached the feeders (no seeds yet), we had American Crow, Canada Goose and Rock Pigeon for the day list.

After a puzzling absence, Black-capped Chickadees showed up in droves. On the trail ahead, we could see lots of Dark-eyed Juncos and some White-crowned Sparrows. We heard then spotted a Brown Creeper. Tony got us on a White-throated Sparrow and a Blue-headed Vireo. Tony played the magic machine and a Red-breasted Nuthatch came in along with a couple of Blackpoll Warblers, and a female Purple Finch. We saw a Ring-billed Gull fly over and a Swamp Sparrow in the rushes.

We went onto the boardwalk where we saw a trio of Green-winged Teal departing and a bunch of Mallards coming in along with an American Black Duck. A Pileated Woodpecker flew past and a Red-winged Blackbird was perched in a tree in the swamp.

We finally saw a White-breasted Nuthatch and an American Goldfinch on the wing. We saw a second year Great Black-backed Gull fly over too. We saw many more White-crowned Sparrows as we went around the trail. We saw a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and heard Golden-crowned Kinglets. Tony heard a Winter Wren. We got much better views of a Blue-headed Vireo.

Bob spotted a Great Blue Heron and a Song Sparrow. Tony was sure he heard a Black-backed Woodpecker, but after much searching, we could not locate it.

We departed for Burnside Pit where there were quite a few Ring-necked Ducks. Tony pointed out a couple of Greater Yellowlegs flying in. We could see a Double-crested Cormorant and at least one Pied-billed Grebe and a Red-necked Grebe. We saw a Ruddy Duck, a couple of Redheads and some Lesser Scaup. A Red-tailed Hawk was patrolling the back of the pond.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Burnside Pond, Richmond Lagoon, Jock Trail, etc. with Jane & Connie’s Group

Tuesday, Sept 21, 7:15 am

It must have been closer to 7:30 when I arrived at Burnside, and there was no sign of the group. The gate was open and heavy equipment was moving in. Nevertheless, I was able to take a quick look around with my scope and saw lots of Greater Yellowlegs, 3 Ruddy Ducks and a Ring-necked Duck.

I quickly moved on to the Richmond Lagoons, where the several cars in the lot verified that I had located the group. Today there were Jane, Connie, Ed (first time meeting), Barb Robertson, Peggy, Brenda & me.

In the first pond, there were lots of Green-winged Teal and Yellowlegs, and some other sandpipers. We noted 2 Least Sandpipers and a bunch of Killdeers.

We saw a Gray Catbird and Song Sparrow in the bushes behind and Kinglets, probably Ruby-crowned. It started to spit and then the rain picked up, although it had not been forecast. We retreated to the Richmond Arena to use the washrooms, then to the Richmond Bakery to buy a few snacks. Brenda and I headed across the street to get a coffee.

It was still raining lightly, but we decided to carry on to Jock Trail Road. Ed spotted a Nashville Warbler. It was wet, so we birded from the car. The lead vehicle saw a troop of Wild Turkeys crossing the road.
We turned south onto Munster Road and stopped by the horse field. We saw several more Nashville Warblers, as the rain intensified. We drove to the end and turned around. We decided to quit as it was now pouring rain.

On the way back up Munster, Connie & Jane saw some Eastern Bluebirds and an American Robin on a wire. Carrying on, Jane somehow spotted a sandpiper in a little mud puddle that was obscured by bushes. Some thought it was a Solitary, but others, including me, thought it was a Spotted. However, Connie got out her new field guide, and the consensus shifted to Solitary Sandpiper.

There were dozens of European Starlings in a tree by Jock Trail. Incredibly, the rain was letting up, so we decided to carry on after all to the Munster Lagoons.

We got out and hiked the lagoon road, hearing Blue Jays make a very odd sound. A Sharp-shinned Hawk sprang up from it’s perch at the side of the road as we came along.

A very wet sparrow was perched in a spruce tree and allowed us to scope him. At first we thought it might be a Vesper Sparrow, but, after consulting the guide, we decided it was only a Savannah Sparrow.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Carp Ridge Hiking

Sept 16, 2010

Rich & Lorna’s friend, Keith, was in town from Vermont, so we joined them for a hike. Mary Anne & John came too. They took us to the Carp Hills area, where they had recently hosted the Canadian Orienteering Championships.

We had planned a more ambitious day, but the weather was decidedly iffy. Nevertheless, we drove out there in separate vehicles, since Barbara had to go straight to work afterwards, while the rest of us went to the Swan in Carp for lunch.

The Carp Hills are very swampy with rock ridges interspersed. There were many beaver dams to cross, some of which were rather dangerous. We saw some birds, mainly Song Sparrows, Eastern Phoebes and immature Yellow-rumped Warblers. At one point we saw a Black and White Warbler, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a flock of Black-capped Chickadees.