Thursday, July 14, 2011

Scrublands and Riparian Habitats - Shirley's Bay Trails - Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Thursday July 14, 7:30am

After missing lots of outings, I was able to join today.  It was Nina, Tony, Rick, Peter, myself and a young guy named Ben, who just finished grade 8.  He was a good birder - very sharp.

We started at the bike path off Moodie, behind the old Nortel.  We got a male and female American Redstart right away, while nearly getting run down by speeding bicycle comuters.  One guy in particular must have been going 60, and he barely grazed us as he flew by with no warning bell.  That said, most of them were considerate.

We also got many Song Sparrows and a few Yellow Warblers and Eastern Kingbirds.  We saw swallows too, mostly Tree Swallows.  Peter got a Warbling Vireo.  We saw a nice male American Goldfinch and some Cedar Waxwings.  Nina noted how pretty the European Starlings were with all their speckles.  An American Robin posed in the brilliant light.

Tony played the machine and an American Redstart came in along with two Great-crested Flycatchers.  A male and female House Finches came by and Nina heard a Gray Catbird.

We left the bike trail, but still had a few bikes coming through.  We came to a wetland with lots of cat tails.  There were lots of Red-winged Blackbirds, of course, and a Swamp Sparrow.  Our target was Sora Rail, so Tony played the tape.  We got a response and also heard a Virginia Rail.  Suddenly a Sora flew across the path, seen by Tony and me.  Another one responded and came in real close, but only gave us a glimpse.  We concluded that the vegetation was too thick for us to see much, so we carried on.

Tony pointed out a Common Yellowthroat ahead on the path.  Then another Sora flew across real close.
Tony pointed out a Double-crested Cormorant flying high overhead, then a juvenile Baltimore Oriole flew into a distant tree and perched for us.  Tony was expecting more wetland, so we decided to turn around and take a trail to the east, towards Nortel.  Rick saw a distant perched Green Heron, which looked to be a young bird.  We soon came to another wetland which was more open, so we stopped while Tony played the Sora and Least Bittern songs.  We saw a young Sora briefly, then a Virginia Rail came in close but not quite into the open.

We carried on to the Nortel trail which paralleled the road.  We saw a Downy Woodpecker and an adult Green Heron fly overhead.  We returned to the cars, quite tired.  Tony pointed out a distant Osprey.

We headed over to Moodie to Tim Horton's for a short break, then drove out to Thomas Dolan Parkway and Constance Creek.  There were three Kingfishers here, obviously a family, as well as two Ospreys.  Tony tried to call in a Least Bittern to no avail.  He did briefly see an American Bittern, however.  We studied the turtles, including a Blanding's.  We saw a couple of Great Blue Herons in the distance.
We decided to try the creek for Least Bittern over at Vances.  But Tony forgot his magic machine and had to drive back for it.  There was a Willow / Alder Flycatcher, but it flew off before Tony's return, so we could not ID as it did not sing.  No bitterns came in, so we had to be content with an Eastern Kingbird.

With time running short, Tony wanted to go to Carp to look for the White-faced Ibis.  Had we been able to check the email, we might have saved a trip, as it had not been seen this morning.  Anyway, we did see Cliff Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow and Barn Swallow, several Killdeers, and a few Spotted Sandpipers.  Nina saw a Northern Harrier, perhaps a young male, and Peter saw a Wilson's Snipe, then another one.
We decided to call it a day just as Roger and his wife drove up to look for the ibis.

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