Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gatineau Park, Steele Line, Lac des Loups & Deschenes with Tony Beck

Sunday, March 27 - 8:00 am

Tony arranged this extra outing for us as a spring treat. Response was good with 14 participants - Bob, Rick, Hedrik, Russell, Mark, Chris & friend, Helena, Al, Janet, Jen, me, Nina & Tony.

We met at the entrance to Gatineau Park on Gamelin. From the parking lot, we could see a huge number of Bohemian Waxwings. We headed down the Pioneer Trail to track them down, getting some good photo ops with the blue sky behind.  We had a nice American Robin there too.
Back at the lot, a male Northern Cardinal was singing and showing off his colour. We headed out Pink Road all the way to Perry, then down to Hwy 148. We made a loop on Ch. de la Rivière, picking up European Starlings, Blue Jay, American Crow, Red-winged Blackbird, Rock Pigeon and a dark morph Rough Legged Hawk.

Back on Hwy 148, we had a Merlin perched in a tree beside the road, which flew across after several photos. We also saw a pair of Red-tailed Hawks and a Turkey Vulture before stopping for coffee at the restaurant at the corner of Ch. Eardely-Masham.
While waiting for everyone to finish, we birded outside picking up a Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Turkey Vulture and Hairy Woodpecker. Proceeding down the road to the first house with feeders, we got Black-capped Chickadees and a couple of Common Redpolls, one of which was very red. We stopped to scan at the base of the escarpment and Al noted at least a dozen White-tailed Deer.

We made three or four stops along the Eardley-Masham Road, noting a Red-tailed Hawk, a Turkey Vulture and a Common Raven on a huge nest on a hydro pylon. We carried on to the junction of Hwy 366, and turned towards Lac des Loups. In the village, we went straight on Ch. Lionel Beausoleil which turns into Ch du Lac des Loups. This we followed all the way to Steele Line. Stopping on the former, we noted an immense flock of European Starlings. Tony saw some Snow Buntings, but they vanished before the rest of us could get a sighting. We saw a Bald Eagle being harassed by a Common Raven -they seemed to be playing with each other.

At the feeders on Steele Line, we picked up a Red-breasted Nuthatch. We saw a number of Turkey Vultures and another Rough-legged Hawk. We turned onto Ch Wilson and stopped to watch three Bald Eagles soaring over the distant hills. We stopped into the restaurant for another break, then went back down Ch. Eardley-Masham where we saw an American Kestrel on the wire.

We returned to Hwy 148, then went down Ch Thérien to the dead-end. We saw a couple more White-tailed Deer running across with their flags up. We returned to Hwy 148 and spotted a second American Kestrel - a larger female.

Our last stop was at Deschenes at Ch. Vanier. We saw several Mallards, Common Goldeneyes, American Black Ducks and Canada Geese. We decided to have a quick look for owls. First we got a Hairy Woodpecker and then an Eastern Screech Owl. This was a lifer for both Helena and me. Needless to say, I was overjoyed at finally getting that jinx off my back!
We returned to Gamelin and parted ways. But I could not resist stopping in to the Deschenes lot off the Parkway, to see if the Wood Duck was still there. Indeed the male and female were both there, giving excellent views and photo ops.

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