Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chickadees, Nuthatches & Finches - Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Tuesday Mar 15, 8:00am -
Today, I went to the wrong rendezvous place and had to return home to look up the correct spot, which was Jack Pine Trail. As a result, I was late and the others had started without me. I decided to hang around the first loop checking out the feeders and boardwalk so as not to miss them coming around.

It was a productive wait. The OFNC feeder provided a female Northern Cardinal and male Hairy Woodpecker plus several Mourning Doves. There was also a White-breasted Nuthatch feeding on some orange fungus. The boardwalk, besides being gloriously in the full sun, provided a couple of Blue Jays, lots of Black-capped Chickadees and a cute Eastern Chipmunk. My first migrating Canada Geese honked over.

The others finally showed up, surprised to see me in the lot. There were Tony, Nina, Bob and Al. We headed off to Burnside Pond. We knew it would be frozen, but thought gulls might be on the ice. Just before we got there we spotted a dark Red-tailed Hawk by the side of the road with many Red-winged Blackbirds in attendance. These were my first red-wings of the season!

We got our scopes out as there were indeed many gulls on the ice. While we were scanning, Jane and her grandson, Mitchell, stopped to check out the gulls too. Tony had just spotted a Cackling Goose, so Jane had to get out her bird book to explain it to Mitchell.

There were many Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls. Careful scrutiny revealed a few Glaucous Gulls.

We moved on to Hilda feeders where there were several photographers. There were scads of Common Redpolls and a few American Tree Sparrows. We were looking from the road when a Pileated Woodpecker flew over. Then a couple of American Robins came in to check out the racket being made by a huge bunch of Red-winged Blackbirds, all males. Tony decided to study the redpolls carefully and found three Hoarys among them. But the best find of the day was a leucistic Common Redpoll, which put on a good show for us.

Leucistic Common Redpoll

Hoary Redpoll

Common Redepoll


  1. Nice to see your Redpoll images Bill and the opportunity to compare Common and Hoary side by side. That leucistic bird is very beautiful. What a nice bird to have around this winter to add to the season's birding excitement.