Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mud Lake

Sept 19, 8:30 am

I took my car in for servicing at Metro, then hopped on my bike and went over to nearby Mud Lake. Although I did not see anything unusual, it was a glorious sunny day, and the waterfowl, herons and grebes made great photo subjects.

Search for the Parasitic Jaeger

Thursday, Sept 15, 7:30 am

Tony, Nina, Peter and I braved the extremely chilly wind at Ottawa Beach for 2 hours looking for the Jaeger that had been reported hanging around for a week.  We were joined by a couple of others including one woman in shorts and sandals, who admitted she was freezing.  But she did not want to miss the Jaeger, so stuck it out for as long as she could;  she finally left disappointed.

A large flock of Double-crested Cormorants flew past, along with small flocks of both teal.  A Northern Flicker was in the dead aspen behind.  A Common Raven croaked and American Crows cawed, but the Jaeger did not show.

A young Cooper's Hawk flew past and two Northern Harriers circled around the bay.  We saw a number of Great Blue Herons, both flying and perched.

We gave up temporarily on the Jaeger, and hiked over to the other part of Andrew Haydon Park.  We were rewarded with views of a Baird's Sandpiper and a Black-bellied Plover.  Out on the water we could see an American Black Duck and a Greater Scaup.  Some male Mallards were beginning to emerge from their eclipse plumage.
Suddenly Nina spotted what we assumed to be the Parasitic Jaeger back circling the beach where we had come from.  Naturally, we turned around and headed back there as fast as we could go.  However, before we had gone far, Tony saw it streaking up the river towards Shirley's Bay.

In the parking lot we met Chris Lewis and Bob Bracken who had been on the beach.  They were just putting out a rare bird alert for a Pomarine Jaeger.  Having seen the former several times that week, and having had excellent looks at this bird, they were absolutely certain it was a Pomarine - what a coincidence.

We drove straight to Shirley's Bay, but there was nothing there but a flock of migrating Blue Jays.  So, we decided to check Burnside Pit.  As we passed the Jack Pine Trail, we observed a Red-tailed Hawk perched back in the swamp.

At the pit, there were lots of Ring-necked Ducks and Ruddy Ducks.  We watched some flocks of geese coming in, and one of these had a blue-phase Snow Goose with them.  Another flock had a Cackling Goose.  All of these flocks landed and immediately swam out of sight around the point.

We returned to Andrew Haydon Park, but both Jaegers had vanished for good.  Tony spotted two American Pipits on the rocks by the shore.  The Baird's Sandpiper and Black-bellied Plover had returned and an Osprey flew across over the road.

On leaving the pond, we noticed two juvenile Hooded Mergansers swimming in close.