Friday, March 30, 2012

The First Spring Arrivals - Ottawa East with Tony Beck

March 29, 2012

Today it was Helena, Brenda, Peter, Rick, Tony & me.  We met at Dewberry Trail, then went to the Park & Ride at Navan to car pool from there.  We backtracked to Milton Rd, then on to Smith Road where we saw our first cranes and a flock of 25 turkeys.  We returned to Milton Rd where we saw the balance of the cranes.  We went east on Perrault to Trim then McFadden to Frank Kenny.  We returned to Milton, then went east on Russell back to Frank Kenny.  We went north on the latter, then east on Huisman past Rockdale to Magladry and finally Heuvalmans out to  Dunning.  We went north on Dunning where we saw the Snow Geese.  We took Dunning as far as Giroux and went to check the ponds. Finally, we returned to Frank Kenny and went to Petrie Island to finish the day.

Bird List

  1. Brown-headed Cowbird
  2. Rusty Blackbird
  3. American Tree Sparrow
  4. Red-winged Blackbird
  5. Purple Finch
  6. Hairy Woodpecker
  7. American Robin
  8. Fox Sparrow
  9. Dark-eyed Junco
  10. Black-capped Chickadee
  11. Song Sparrow
  12. Downy Woodpecker
  13. White-breasted Nuthatch
  14. Northern Cardinal
  15. Common Grackle
  16. Mourning Dove
  17. Blue Jay
  18. Sandhill Crane (25)
  19. Wild Turkey
  20. Turkey Vulture
  21. Common Raven
  22. American Crow
  23. House Sparrow
  24. Mallard
  25. Ring-billed Gull
  26. Killdeer
  27. European Starling
  28. Wood Duck
  29. Canada Goose
  30. Golden Eagle
  31. American Black Duck
  32. Greater Snow Goose
  33. Common Merganser
  34. Herring Gull
  35. Green-winged Teal
  36. Ring-necked Duck
  37. Red-tailed Hawk
  38. Northern Harrier
  39. Hooded Merganser
  40. Bufflehead

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The First Spring Arrivals - Ottawa West with Tony Beck

Tuesday Mar 27, 8:00am

 Today it was just Tony, Rick and me.

We went first to Shirley's Bay, then Hilda.  We walked around to Riverdown and spotted an Eastern Phoebe.  From there we went out March Valley Road to Riddell, then down to Constance Lake on Berry Side Road.  We stopped along 5th Line where Bob Cermak got us on an Eastern Bluebird.  We turned up Thomas Dolan and checked the creek where we saw a couple of Swamp Sparrows.  Then we went all the way to Carp Ridge, then on to Carp.  We came back in March Road with a detour by March Valley to Carling and back.

 Bird List

  1. Ring-billed Gull
  2. Bald Eagle
  3. Lesser Scaup
  4. Common Goldeneye
  5. American Tree Sparrow
  6. Mourning Dove
  7. Red-winged Blackbird
  8. Song Sparrow
  9. Common Grackle
  10. Eastern Phoebe
  11. American Robin
  12. Rough-legged Hawk
  13. Wild Turkey
  14. Rock Pigeon
  15. Mallard
  16. Ring-necked Duck
  17. Hooded Merganser
  18. Great Blue Heron
  19. Common Raven
  20. American Crow
  21. Blue Jay
  22. Downy Woodpecker
  23. Northern Shrike
  24. Common Merganser
  25. Bufflehead
  26. Purple Finch
  27. Hairy Woodpecker
  28. Turkey Vulture
  29. European Starling
  30. Eastern Bluebird
  31. White-breasted Nuthatch (H)
  32. Swamp Sparrow
  33. Wood Duck
  34. American Black Duck
  35. Canada Goose
  36. Cackling Goose

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rusty Blackbirds on the Upper Jock River

March 24, 2012

Barbara and I and two of the Venturers went for a chilly paddle from Munster Side Road to Richmond through the fen.

There were lots of common birds - Canada Geese, Red-wings, Robins, etc.  But there were also quite a few Rusty Blackbirds.  I could easily hear their squeeky clothesline call and see their yellow eyes.  We also saw two Turkey Vultures lift off at close range.

East of Bourget with Jane and Connie's Group

March 21, 2012

The very warm weather caused a very early thaw and the fields near Cobb's Lake Creek were drying out fast.  Today there were Jane, Connie, Nadine, Suzanne, Sami and me.

We went out Russell Road all the way past Bourget to Johnston Road, which was flooded.  We saw that there were a couple of thousand Greater Snow Geese in with the Canadas, but not the tens of thousands that can sometimes be seen.  There were also hundreds of Northern Pintails, a few Mallards and American Wigeons, and two Tundra Swans.

Sami and I walked down the muddy road to try for better photos (not much luck) but we did see a number of Killdeers.  Back at the scopes, we looked at the Wigeons and noticed a few Green-winged Teal in the background.  I also saw a few American Black Ducks.  Others saw a pair of Ring-necked Ducks.

On the other side of Russell Road, there were more Northern Pintails and two Muskrats.

We stopped beyond the bridge to scope Cobb's Lake Creek, and I swear I saw a Northern Shoveller.  But we could not relocate it afterwards - maybe I was dreaming.  Jane definitely saw a Hooded Merganser, which we all got to look at in the scopes.  We saw a couple of raptors - very distant.  One soared with really straight wings like an eagle.

We turned off Russell and ended up on Du Lac.  Here I tried to direct the group back to Russell, but we ended up going down a very soupy thawing road which nearly got us stuck.  Not wanting to retrace that route, we decided to go back to St. Pascal and head west to Sarsfield.  Here the ladies went in to use the washroom, while Sami was amused to see a House Sparrow fighting it's reflection in a car mirror.

Finally, we got to Dunning, and the group decided to go to Giroux ponds to finish their lunch.  On Giroux, we had a Horned Lark fly across in front of the car.  At the ponds, there were several Common Mergansers, mostly male with a few females.

We went down Frank Kenny Road to check out the flooded Bear Brook.  We saw our first two Turkey Vultures of the season.  We could not find the reported (Bob Cermak) Greater White-fronted Geese, but we did see some Wood Ducks, as well as repeats of all the other ducks seen already.  We did spot the Long-billed Dowitcher and two more Tundra Swans!

We went on to Milton Road, stopping a couple of times to look for Sandhill Cranes without success.  After seeing the Common Raven at the silo, we turned down Smith Road.  We did not see any cranes, but stopped anyway and lo and behold, three of them (a family group, no doubt) flew in and landed right opposite us.  We digiscoped them and Suzanne noticed a distant bird on a post in the background.  It was so far that we had trouble to see the detail, but we think it was an Eastern Kingbird.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Strange Goose at Deschenes Rapids Lookout

For the last two years, at ice out, there have been a pair of Wood Ducks that provided good photo opportunities.  Hence I have been swinging in for a look each time I pass by on the parkway.

Well no Wood Ducks this year!  There were lots of Mallards and a single American Black Duck.  A trio of Common Mergansers would fly past back and forth.

Today, in the glorious sunny warm weather, I stopped in and a new goose was there, one with some very strange parentage.  Besides that, the Red-winged Blackbirds were everywhere and displaying.

St. Patrick's Day Birding

March 17, 2012

Barbara and I had been in all day working, so decided to go on a brief outing to look for spring migrants.  We decided to check the flooded fields beside the Jock River near Richmond.

On the way there, we saw a male Hooded Merganser swimming along the river itself, as we drove along  Steeple Hill Cr.  We drove to the dead end on Twin Elm Rd. and saw lots of Canada Geese, but nothing unusual.

We backtracked on Twin Elm to Barnsdale.  Along the former, we saw two Killdeer bathing in a ditch.  As we moved closer, they retreated to the ploughed field, and became almost invisible.  We finally spotted three of them in the field, and could hear more calling.
We took Barnsdale to Moodie and checked Burnside pond.  But it was still frozen and devoid of birds.  We took a loop around Trail Rd. and back to Barnsdale.  We saw the resident Red-tailed Hawk across from the landfill site.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mud Lake Cooper's Hawk

March 11, 2012

Barbara and I decided to take a break and head out for a short birding fix.  We went to Mud Lake and tried for the Carolina Wren.

Shortly down the trail, we saw a Dark-eyed Junco.  We soon saw some Black-capped Chickadees and a couple of Hairy Woodpeckers.  A male Northern Cardinal came by and perched in a nearby tree and began singing.

We moved on to the fence line where the wren has been seen, and played the song.  At first there was no response (except a Mourning Dove).  We were about to give up when we heard the buzz.  It did not come close, and I never saw it, but Barbara caught a glimpse as it vanished between the houses.

Mud Lake was still frozen, but there were a bunch of Ring-billed Gulls and a few Canada Geese on the ice anticipating break up.  We walked as far as the little bridge at the back, where another couple pointed out a Green Frog completely frozen in the ice.

We started back towards the car, when we spotted an adult Cooper's Hawk fly across the trail and alight in a tree near the lake.  We edged closer to get some photos.

We checked out the river from the ridge.  All we could spot were a few Mallards and some male and female Common Goldeneyes.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Larose Forest & Open Fields - Ottawa East with Tony Beck

Sunday Mar 4, 8:00am

Today there were Tony, Nina, Gary, Sue, Martha, Josh, Barbara and me, as well as two new birders, Rob and Giselle.  The latter live in Limoges, the area to be explored today.

We saw both American Crow and Common Raven in the Park 'n Ride on Trim Road.

After a brief stop at Tim Hortons on Trim Rd, we went east on Innes Rd then south on Frank Kenny.  We soon stopped when we saw 2 Coyotes in the field.  Then, a little further on, we stopped again as somehow Tony spotted a Red-tailed Hawk part way up a tree in behind lots of branches.
We went east on Russell Rd, then south on Saumure Rd to Indian Creek Rd which becomes Ch Clarence Cambridge as it passes through Larose Forest.  Along the way, we saw a bunch of European Starlings and some Wild Turkeys in a field. 

At the entrance to Larose Forest, there is a house with feeders.  We saw many American Goldfinches, a Pine Siskin, a Hairy Woodpecker and both nuthatches and several Black-capped Chickadees.  Further along, we saw a flock of about 40 Common Redpolls flush off the road, and linger briefly low down in the alders.  We also saw our first Blue Jays.  Tony and Nina pished and Martha gave an excellent Barred Owl imitation.

We went south on Bertrand Rd to Calypso Rd where we made a brief stop to check for the Varied Thrush.  It did not show, but we were able to add Mourning Dove, Dark-eyed Juncos, American Tree Sparrows, Rock Pigeon and several Red-winged Blackbirds.  There were bickering Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers and lots of scolding Blue Jays too.

We retraced our steps to Ch Clarence Cambridge to complete the tour through Larose Forest.  It's a good thing we did, because at the far end, Tony heard then chased down our first Evening Grosbeak of the winter!  Then at the junction of Road 8,  a young Red Crossbill perched on top of a pine for a photo op.

We crossed the South Nation River on Road 8, then turned east on Road 3 to Des Noyers, then south to Conc 19.  Horned Larks were everywhere along this road and we also saw some flocks of Snow Buntings.  We saw a few Lapland Longspurs, but could not get close enough for a decent photo.

We went east on Conc 19, south on St.  Rose, then west on Conc. 20.  We saw three different Snowy Owls, all on the ground, and all distant.  We also saw House Sparrows at one of the farms.  Upon returning to Road 8, we went west on Hwy 417 to Casselman where we went for a bathroom break at Tim Horton's.  This was the end of Tony's tour.
Barbara and I gassed up and returned east to the same Hwy 417 exit, but this time heading south to Alaire Rd and the Lafleche dump.  Most of the gulls were in the air, which made identification difficult.  For certain, there were many Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls.  We also saw one all-white gull, but not well enough to get an ID.

We returned to Conc 20, then made a rectangle on St. Rose, Conc. 21, Ste. Catherine and back to Conc 20.  There were many more photo ops for Horned Larks and Snow Buntings along St. Rose and Conc 21.  On Conc 20, we saw a second Red-tail Hawk, which we were able to photograph.

We decided to call it a day, but saw one more Red-tailed Hawk from Hwy 417 as we neared the city limits.