Sunday, January 9, 2011
The Gatineau Escarpment & The Steele Line with Tony Beck
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.
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 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 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 dépanneur 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.