Monday, January 24, 2011

OFO Outing to Ottawa West with Mark Gawn & Bob Cermak

Saturday, January 22; 8:00 am

There was a very large crowd today, in spite of the frigid temperature. We carpooled a bit, but there were still 10 cars!

Our first stop was Hilda Feeders, where we noticed quite a few Common Redpolls, a few American Tree Sparrows and American Goldfinches, some Blue Jays, a Downy and Hairy Woodpecker, and a Northern Cardinal.
From there we went to March Valley Road, where we saw 8 to 10 Bohemian Waxwings, some feeding on buckthorn. A little further along, an adult Bald Eagle was perched near the road, but flushed to the back still in view. Even further back, high in the top of a tree was a Northern Shrike.


We carried on to 6th Line Road, then turned down Berry Side Road, where we saw 2 Red-tailed Hawks, one on each side of the road. We turned west on 5th Line Road, then north on Thomas Dolan to Dunrobin Road, which we followed to Constance Bay, to the street where Bruce Dilabio's parent live. Across the street, there were a bunch of feeders where a Red-bellied Woodpecker has been seen regularly (but not today). A Pileated Woodpecker did fly across for a brief view. We stayed for 30 minutes, but the star attraction did not show up. There were some more Common Redpolls high up in a tree, but, once again, no Hoarys. Some of us wandered down to the other end of the road where I saw a Dark-eyed Junco at another feeder.

We move on to Jeff Skevington's, but only American Crows and kids arriving for a birthday party greeted us. So we returned to Woodlawn and went out to Kinburn, along our frog monitoring route. Past Kinburn, near the 417, there was a field on the left with a few dozen Horned Larks.

By this time we were past due for a bathroom break, so hightailed it for the Eagleson Road Tim Hortons. It was noon, so we got a bite of lunch as well and showed out photos to some of the interested participants.

We proceeded south on Eagleson and turned onto Rushmore. Bob had seen 5 Gray Partridge here the day before, but they could not be relocated. A Red-tailed Hawk was busy feeding on something in a low tree, while American Crows sat in the upper branches.

We decided to do a loop on Shea, Brownlee and back to Rushmore. On Brownlee, we had a good flock of Lapland Longspurs, some close by on the road. There was also a fly-past of a small flock of Snow Buntings.
Our last stop was at Trail Road, at the dump. A Red-tailed Hawk was perched really close to the road, but as I aimed the camera, it took off to the fence in back. Then Jen spotted another Red-tailed Hawk back there too. The only gulls we saw were a couple of Great Black-backeds.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Redpolls at Last

Thurs, Jan 20 2011 2:30 pm

Grant and I went skiing in Gatineau Park, starting at P7. I followed Ridge Road, while Grant took Frank's, and we met up at Keogan's Shelter. I got there first and went to check the feeder. I saw many small birds on the ground, under the feeder, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they were Common Redpolls.

After a few minutes, Garnt showed up and we went on to Shilly Shally - more Redpolls. There were none at Huron, but Grant saw a bunch later on the Fortune Parkway.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rifle Road and Hilda Feeders

Jan 17, 3:00 pm

After working indoors all day, I finally decided to venture out to Hilda to see if any waxwings or winter finches were about.

Going down Rifle Road, I saw a woman out photographing something at the side of the road. It has to be Bohemian Waxwings. I pulled up nearby and saw quite a large group of perhaps 50, flitting about in the tops of trees, 100 m from the road. After a bit, I noticed one individual that was perched much closer.

I carried on to Hilda, where I interrupted a deer at the feeding station. Besides Chickadees, there wasn't a lot happening - a single American Tree Sparrow, two White-breasted Nuthatches, a group of Mourning Doves on the ground, and a Hairy Woodpecker. No Blue Jays or Northern Cardinals! And especially, no Redpolls.

I did a walk around the block without seeing anything else.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lusk Cabin Ski with Kirk, Karine & Samuel

Jan 9, 2:00 pm

We skied from P19 to Lac Philippe, then on to Lusk Cabin by Trail 54. Karine towed the Chariot the whole way! Even though there are no feeders at Lusk, the Black-capped Chickadees will still come to your hand, although the White-breasted Nuthatches won’t. It’s downhill all the way back, and the snow was perfect.

Dewberry Trail, Mer Bleue & Ottawa East with Tony Beck

Jan 6, 8:00am

Today we met at Dolman Ridge Road. There were Bob, Peter, Al, Chris and a new lady, Bev, as well as Tony and Nina.

At the feeders there were lots of Hairy Woodpeckers, some American Goldfinches, a Pileated Woodpecker and the odd Blue Jay.

As we drove away, Tony spotted 4 adult Black-backed Gulls and 1 Herring Gull flying over. Where did they come from, and where were they going?

We drove straight to Larose Forest, and checked the feeders along the road. All we could scrape up were a Red-breasted Nuthatch, a Hairy Woodpecker and some more American Goldfinches. A few Common Ravens could be heard in the forest.  No sign of any Evening Grosbeaks.

We approached Casselman from the north, and spotted a light-morph Rough-legged Hawk, which Tony scoped for us.

After a break at Timmy’s, we drove out to Concession 20, where we saw a good-sized flock of Snow Buntings with a few Lapland Longspurs mixed in. We drove south to Concession 21, where we scoped another Roughie. We turned north on Ch. Des Forges, and Tony spotted a very-well hidden Red-tailed Hawk at the corner of Conc. 20.

We retraced to St Rose, then went west on Conc. 19. At the corner, we had a very good scope view of an American Kestrel, and further along we saw three more Rough-legged Hawks, the last one, a dark-morph.

We returned to Conc 20 and saw another Red-tailed Hawk, then a large flock of Snow Buntings with several Lapland Longspurs in amongst them. The flock alternated between the road and the wires. Then we had flocks both in front and behind us. We go good enough looks at the longspurs to be able to count them for our lists.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Gatineau Escarpment & The Steele Line with Tony Beck

Jan 4, 8:00am

Today, to start the New Year, we had a good crowd out. There were Bob, Peter, Rick, Jeremy and his British friends, Martin & Judy and, of course, Tony & Nina.

At our first stop, we were trailing along chatting about birding trips, when Tony suddenly took off into the underbrush. He had heard a bunch of Black-capped Chickadees giving their alarm call, and figured t was worth investigating. Sure enough, he soon spotted a Northern Saw-whet Owl perched low in the branches. It was a lifer for Nina, Martin and Judy. Nina got the only decent photo. Here it is.
The only other excitement was a Hairy Woodpecker, but Rick said afterwards that he saw a Downy Woodpecker and a White-breasted Nuthatch too.

We headed out Hwy 148 and stopped at Elm Road where Nina had spotted a Northern Hawk Owl the previous week. No action. So we continued along Hwy 148 until Tony spotted an adult Bald Eagle perched on a tree at the back of a field. We scoped it for awhile and also saw a distant Red-tailed Hawk. Then we spotted a reddish Coyote in the adjacent field.
Suddenly the Eagle flew over and attacked the Coyote. It made a second pass, but this time the Coyote was ready, and leaped into the air to repel the Eagle. What a sight! The tactics worked as the Eagle returned to its perch while the Coyote slinked off to join its comrades in the woods at the edge of the field.

After that excitement, we turned down Terrien Road and scanned the escarpment for more eagles. We saw none, but there was a whole mob of Blue Jays, making quite a racket. We investigated, but they did not seem focused on any one spot, so we figured they were not on a raptor.

We headed for the restaurant for a coffee and bathroom break. Outside, at the back, at feeders, there were House Sparrows, American Goldfinches, more Blue Jays, and a single Dark-eyed Junco.

We proceeded down the Eardley-Masham Road, stopping to check out some feeders, where Rick had spotted some White-winged Crossbills before Christmas. Nothing this time but Blue Jays and Chickadees.

We carried on and stopped before the escarpment to scope the hills for raptors. Judy saw two Common Ravens together in a tree up on top of the ridge. With the naked eye, they looked like one large raptor. Nina spotted a flock of 15 to 20 Wild Turkeys just inside the bush.

We travelled up the hill into the Gatineau Park, and made three stops without netting anything. (Later we met John Dubois, and he saw 8 Pine Grosbeaks on the road, shortly after we had passed). We went back down and stopped along Bradley when we saw another Red-tailed Hawk. We looked at the house where Evening Grosbeaks had been present last year, but there were none. Also, the owner had erected a board fence to block the view of the new home across the street, which also blocked our view of the feeders.

We carried on to the Steele Line. We were the third car in line, so we did not see the Golden Eagle that the others saw briefly. It seemed to have gone to ground, so we spent quite a while driving back and forth trying in vain to relocate it. However, we did see two more Bald Eagles in the process. This is when John Dubois stopped and gave us directions to a different Northern Hawk Owl.
We went to the end of Steele Line and tuned on to Lac des Loups to check the feeders there. We did see an American Tree Sparrow and a Red-breasted Nuthatch, so it was worthwhile.

By this time, we needed another break and some food, so we drove into Quyon to a d├ępanneur and got some sandwiches, chips and so on to see us through. Tony could not resist returning briefly to Steele Line to look for the Golden Eagle – no luck, just Mourning Doves, House Sparrows and yet another Bald Eagle.

We returned to Breckinridge to look for the Hawk Owl, and there it was. It was skittish, and moved from tree to hydro pole to another tree. Nina and I tried for photos, but we were unable to get close. John stopped by again and enjoyed our success. He was curious about the Northern Saw-whet Owl, so my car led him back to the spot.
Our tracks had filled in with the light snow, so we had difficulty finding the spot. We knew we were close, so looked all around, but were unable to relocate the owl for John.