Monday, February 14, 2011

West End birding with Ross & Margaret Ann

Sunday Feb 13, 9:00 am

Our first stop was the Trail Road Landfill Site, where we immediately saw thousands of American Crows and flocks of small birds in the fields in front of the hill. It turned out to be a mixed flock of American Tree Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and Horned Larks.

As we scoped the small birds, the crows suddenly all took to the sky at once. The reason soon became clear, as a Red-tailed Hawk settled on the fence.

As we were looking for the reported Glaucous Gull, Gillian Mastromatteo drove up on the same quest. Suddenly Ross spotted it on the ground, and we all got fair scope views. There were no other gulls about. As we were packing up to move on, a small flock of Snow Buntings flew overhead.

We headed out along Barnsdale Road. Margaret Ann spotted another small flock of Snow Buntings amongst the old corn stalks, as a murder of crows was gathering in the adjacent trees. As we turned onto Eagleson, we saw a couple of flocks of Rock Pigeons.

We drove down Rushmore without seeing anything, then returned to Richmond to go to the bakery and stock up with goodies. From there we went to the arena to use their washrooms. We drove north on Huntley, then turned onto Brownlee, where we immediately saw and photographed another group of Snow Buntings.
There was yet another flock on the road ahead. We did the loop to Eagleson, Aikins and Shea, then back to Huntley via Fallowfield.
We sped on through Stittsville and Carp to reach Kinburn Side Road. It was only 4 km to Kinburn, so we turned left and went to check the fields where Horned Larks had been abundant on the OFO trip. But there was nothing today. So we did a U-turn and hightailed it to Constance Bay to look for the Red-bellied Woodpecker on Goodin Street. Mark Gawn and Hedrik Wachelka were already there and about to leave without seeing it. So after a short time, we followed suit. However, there was a very yellow American Goldfinch at one of the feeders, a Hairy Woodpecker at a tree trunk and Common Redpolls in the trees overhead.

We headed back towards town, turning left at Thomas Dolan Parkway and wended our way by Sixth Line Road to Riddell Road. We turned at March Valley Road, and immediately the front seat occupants saw a very dark Wild Turkey under the Ottawa Duck Club feeders. We all jumped out, but the sly bird dropped down almost out of sight.  A dozen or more American Black Ducks were in the stream just past Klondike Road.

Our last stop would be Hilda, so we checked the shortcut through Connaught, but the gate was closed. So we went around by Carling and Rifle Road. We kept a sharp eye out for Bohemian Waxwings or a Northern Shrike, but there were neither today.

At Hilda, there were a few nice Common Redpolls, a Hairy and Downy Woodpecker, some Blue Jays and lots of Black-capped Chickadees.

From there we went to the Taj Indian Restaurant for a fabulous lunch, then went home, pick up Grant, and went for a ski on Trail 10, the one that passes close to Hilda. A fabulous day!

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