Friday, March 18, 2011

Britannia & The Ottawa River - Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Thursday Mar 17, 8:00am -

We met along Cassels Street by the still-frozen Mud Lake. Today it was Chris, Bob, Tony, Nina & me. It was above zero, but with a cool breeze.

There were lots of male Red-winged Blackbirds, Ring-billed Gulls and a few American Robins about. We saw a Northern Cardinal, the first of many brilliant ones today. We also saw Common Grackles and European Starlings to round out the list of common birds.
A middle-aged gent parked and went out onto the ice, then returned for his skates and went round and round the rink which he had made. It seemed late in the season, but he was obviously a die hard.
A couple of Mallards streaked across the sky followed by a couple of American Blacks. On the river we saw a couple of Canada Geese and a single Great Black-backed Gull. There were huge numbers of gulls on the island at the far shore. In the channel were lots of Common Goldeneye, Mallards and a couple of Blacks who came ashore looking for a handout. Up on the ridge we had a Downy Woodpecker, a Hairy Woodpecker and another gorgeous male Northern Cardinal. While speaking into the voice recorder, a Black-capped Chickadee landed briefly right on it.

We hiked down to the point where some rescue personnel were practicing ice rescues. Tony spotted a couple of Herring Gulls out on the ice and a Common Merganser in the water.

We walked back the other way towards the Britannia Yacht Club, seeing four White-breasted Nuthatches along the way. Tony heard a Song Sparrow, which he had been hoping for, then saw one in a shrub across the road. After checking with the club, we walked around to the front and scanned. We saw four Hooded Mergansers (3 males) and a pair of Northern Pintails. There were lots more Common Goldeneye and a bunch of Ring-billed Gulls on the ice. Tony spotted a Common Merganser and a sleeping Bufflehead on the far shore. Walking back to the cars, we saw a couple of Mourning Doves, some Rock Pigeons, a House Finch and some Dark-eyed Juncos.

We moved to Hilda, where we saw several Hoary Redpolls among the hordes of Commons, a few American Tree Sparrows, a Northern Cardinal, several Blue Jays, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, and lots of Red-winged Blackbirds.

We decided to head out March Valley Road and, going along Carling, I spotted several Wild Turkeys in the front yard of a house. Nina spotted a Red-tailed Hawk on March Valley and we saw two dark-morph Rough Legged Hawks. We carried on to Riddell then 6th-Line Road, where Nina spotted our first Turkey Vulture of the season. As well there was a pair of Mourning Doves. We turned down Thomas Dolan and saw another Red-tailed Hawk. At the bridge, there were a couple of Common Grackles and several more Red-winged Blackbirds.
We did a U-turn and went back via 5th Line Road. Tony spotted a Northern Shrike, so we stopped but it streaked off through the hedgerow, never to be seen again.
A couple of Blue Jays flew across the road instead. Bob spotted a couple of American Goldfinch among the Common Redpolls in the trees across the road. We took Berry over to 6th Line and saw a Common Raven and American Crow in the same tree. Several American Robins were on the grass. A Pileated Woodpecker did a fly past.

Back on Riddell, we saw a nice light morph Red-tailed Hawk soaring above the road. On March Valley, we saw another Pileated Woodpecker and a perched Red-tailed Hawk which seemed all fluffed up. The pond, which had nothing much on the way past before, had three Green-winged Teal, including one male. There were also several American Black Ducks.

On Carling, the Wild Turkeys were still at the same house. They flew across the road as we pulled over. We made one more quick stop at Hilda to take advantage of the better light. But there was nothing new - same Redpolls and many photographers.

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