Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Long Weekend at the Cottage

May 20-23, 2011

We arrived in late afternoon to see perhaps a dozen Evening Grosbeaks at the feeder - what a treat!  There was also a similar number of Purple Finches.

We decided to bird our usual spot on Ch. St. Jacques by Blue Sea Lake on Saturday Morning.  We were disappointed not to see any warblers except Yellow and Common Yellowthroat (heard only), but two Virginia Rails came out in response to the tape - a new bird for the cottage list!

We moved on to our other spot on Ch. Galipeau and immediately got a Northern Flicker which was calling vigorously.  I also got a Swamp Sparrow on the other side of the road.  We could hear Ovenbirds and Common Yellowthroats (lots) but did not see them.  Barbara spotted a European Starling go into a hole in a tree, that was perfect for a woodpecker.

No Bluebirds today, but we saw a Turkey Vulture in the same spot as last time.

In the evening, we visited the Tims and saw a beautiful Common Merganser pair cruise by the end of the dock in great light - it proves, once again, that one should always take one's camera!

Other birds noted in and around our feeders were American Goldfinches, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Peak Spring Migration - Ottawa East with Tony Beck

Wednesday May 11, 7:30am

I arrived at Petrie Island to find Russell with the scope on a Common Moorhen.  We were the only ones to see it, as it vanished just as the others arrived.  They were Tony, Nina, Bob, Michael, Rick, Heather, Betty and another new guy whose name I think was Al.

Several very large Carp were jumping right clear of the water just in front of us - it's that time of year!  We saw a lot of Tree Swallows and Red-winged Blackbirds.  A few Double-crested Cormorants were flying in the distance.  We saw a young Herring Gull fly near, and an Eastern Kingbird perched on the wire.  I spotted a Great Blue Heron on the far shore, and, incredibly, Tony scoped a Virginia Rail barely visible in the distance.

A pair of Blue-winged Teals flew in and a Wilson's Snipe flew up and was seen briefly. The teals took off and you could see their blue wing patches  - gorgeous.  We notices some Barn Swallows and Bank Swallows among the many Tree Swallows.  A Red-tailed Hawk flew over while we watched the swallows.

We moved across the causeway bridge where we heard a Song Sparrow and a Yellow Warbler singing.  A Least Flycatcher came in for good views and photographs.  We also saw two Great-crested Flycatchers.  In the same location, we saw a Downy Woodpecker, Baltimore Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, Yellow Warbler and some American Goldfinches.  A pair of Common Mergansers with an extra female were noted on the other side of the causeway.  A young Double-crested Cormorant was sitting on a stump in the water and another one flew right over us.

We moved along to where there was a large puddle with two Solitary Sandpipers feeding. Heather got an American Redstart and a Gray Catbird put on quite a show. Another Yellow Warbler, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Northern Parula, a House Wren and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet came in too. Tony could hear Rusty Blackbirds in the distance, but they did not come in. But a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Warbling Vireo did show.

We moved along the road and Heather briefly saw a Cape May Warbler and a young male Blackburnian Warbler , but most of us didn't.  A White-throated Sparrow and a Blue-headed Vireo came in.

We moved to the turtle pond where we saw many Map Turtles.  Some of the larger ones seemed to be moulting.  One had a Painted Turtle on it's back.

We went across to the river and saw more common warblers and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  Returning to the cars, we got good views of another Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Baltimore Oriole.

We went to the Park & Ride where we heard an Eastern Meadowlark and a Clay-coloured Sparrow,  but could not find them.  Then it was on toTim Horton's, even though it was almost noon.  We just had time to cruise Wall Road for Upland Sandpiper.  Well we did not get one, but had some very obliging Bobolinks and a Savannah Sparrow. 

Bob spotted a male Northern Harrier, and a Brown Thrasher flew across the road into a thick bush.  Tony pointed out a Broad-winged Hawk flying over.  Back at the Park & Ride, we heard then saw a Killdeer.

Britannia Ridge

May 10, 2011  8:30 am

 This morning I drove Barbara to work, as she was recovering from a bout with a virus.  On the way home, I passed very close to Britannia, so decided to stop in for a brief visit.  There were plenty of vehicles parked, but activity was quiet nonetheless.

I went right up onto the ridge at the BYC end and immediately heard a Yellow Warbler singing.  I stuck around for a few minutes to find him and get some photos, nearly bumping into Nina on the trail.
It was pretty quiet along the rest of the ridge, so I went down to the end, noting that the river was flooded where we usually go down to the edge.  There were Yellow-rumped Warblers in the bushes across from the Scout trees we planted many years ago.  Another birder pointed out a Northern Parula that was flitting in the same area.
I quickly returned to my car, pausing to chat with Bruce DiLabio on the way.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Migrants and Nesting Birds - Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Monday, May 9, 7:30am

Today there were two new ladies, Pat and Margaret, as well as regulars Heather, Michael, Rick, Russell, Nina and Tony

A Baltimore Oriole greeted us at the parking lot at Andrew Haydon Park.  We also had Warbling Vireos, Black-capped Chickadees and Wood Ducks.
This time in the flooded area between sections of the park, we only got Common Grackles, European Starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds.  A Song Sparrow was singing from a low branch.

Once again, the pond had lots of Lesser Scaup.  A Yellow-rumped Warbler was singing overhead.  And a single Brant was swimming with the Canada Geese.  A male Merlin blasted past overhead.  Nina went o look at the cute goslings which were very young.

 On the river, we saw a Double-crested Cormorant by the far shore and four Great Blue Herons migrating together.  Tony spotted a drake Red-breasted Merganser moving quickly away, but Russell and I took off and got some good shots when it turned back briefly.
We moved to the hiking/ski trail off Carling near Grandview.  We got a Killdeer flying away, a Black-throated Blue Warbler, American Goldfinch and Black-capped Chickadees along the trail in the same tree.  A White-breasted Nuthatch flew in too.
We heard a Field Sparrow (ping pong ball).  Tony played the tape, and it flew back and forth checking us out, but did not really come into range.  We saw a Purple Martin and Tony heard a Brown Thrasher, which we soon spotted at the top of a tree.  We managed to annoy a Blue Jay.
We moved to Shirley's Bay, and right away, spotted two Red-necked Grebes.  On the far shore there were Buffleheads, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks and Common Goldeneye.  We also saw a Common Loon.

We hiked around the roads playing the tape at various places.  We got another White-breasted Nuthatch to come in along with a House Wren and Downy Woodpecker.  As we got to Hilda, Rick spotted an American Redstart, which did not stick.
Under the Hilda feeders we got good numbers of White-throated Sparrows and a few White-crowned Sparrows, as well as Brown-headed Cowbirds.  The famous melanistic Eastern Chipmunk also put in an appearance. We saw a Turkey Vulture and Cooper's Hawk in the distance, then a Pileated Woodpecker did a quick fly-past.
Just as we were thinking of wrapping it up, we saw a Black-and White Warbler and a Nashville Warbler across the road.  A Great Blue Heron flew across high in the sky.  Returning to our vehicles, we saw a Killdeer by the boat launch and an Osprey back of the parking lot.