Just a quick stop on a frigid morning to see if a Barrow's
Goldeneye could be seen.No luck, but
plenty of Common Goldeneye in good light.I was surprised at the paucity of open water so early in the winter.
A new young guy, Alex, joined Tony, Nina, Josh, Rick and me
today.We went out to St Isidore
,stopped and got two Snowy Owls, one on each side of the road.We cruised around and got three more Snowys
as well as huge flock of Snow Buntings.We spotted just a couple of Lapland Longspurs and Horned Larks.A visit to Lafleche Dump netted us large
numbers of Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls.We returned to Ottawa
via Milton Road, where we
had an adult Bald Eagle fly over and we saw two Rough-legged Hawks.
Today there are Tony, Nina, Rick,
Lorraine & me.It was to be a day exploring Greenbelt
trails.The reality was entirely
A couple of Harlequin Ducks had been reported on the Ottawa
River, so we went to Shirley's Bay for a look, stopping first at
Hilda.There was nothing much doing, so
we went to the boat launch.Tony spotted
a very close adult Bald Eagle on a deer carcass on the Ottawa River.It flew up to a perch as we got out of the
cars, and was too nervous to return while we were there.
Next we went to Mud lake / Britannia Point to scan the
rapids.We had all but given up when
Tony got the two Harlequins in his scope.It appeared that they were closer to the Quebec
side, so we decided to drive over to Vanier Road
in Aylmer for a closer look.
When we were getting out of our cars, an excited Outaouais
birder met us with news of a very recent sighting of a Black-throated Gray
Warbler.Our immediate reaction was
disbelief, since such a bird would be away out of ranged (west side of the Rockies)
and a first for the Ottawa
area.The bird was discovered by Gary
McNulty, a respected birder.
We hurried down to the water, where a large number of
birders were scoping the two Harlequin Duck (one adult male and one immature
male).The buzz was all about the
warbler, and Bob Cermak was there quizzing Gary.He immediately put out the Rare Bird Alert.
We trudged back and forth on the path looking for the
showed the exact spot where he had seen it.The Outaouias birders headed up to the foot bridge, and a whistle from
Bob told us that the Black-throated Gray Warbler had been re-found there.Off we went, and soon we all had good views -
a lifer for many.
We attempted many photos with moderate success. Other birders started arriving from their
offices, responding to the rare bird alert, many in their suits, leaving
meetings and coming in borrowed cars.It
was posted to OntBirds and, before long, the who's who of local birding were
all on hand for this spectacular find.I
have never seen so many of our local expert birders all together at the same
time.What a day!
Tony, Nina and Josh arrived at Trim Road Park & Ride
shortly before 8.A Bald Eagle flew over
heading for PetrieIsland.
As I was the only other birder, I rode with them.We drove over to Dolman Ridge to meet Rick,
then went to Smith Road,
but there were no Sandhill Cranes left.We decided to go out to St Isidore to look for Snowy Owls, and found
two, both on the ground and rather distant.There were large flocks of Snow Buntings and a few Horned Larks and
Lapland Longspurs.The wind was bitter,
and it was one of those days that it was hard to force oneself out of the car.
Judith, Rick and I gave up one of Tony's outings to drive to
Chambly Québec to try for this rarity.I
am sorry to report that we were not successful.
After an uneventful drive via the new Hwy 30, we went
straight to the sewage ponds.There was
nobody there and few gulls, so we went to Timmy's, then over to the river by
the fort.Here we saw a couple of
birders, but no gull.
We tried a location on the lake where we saw Vermont
birders - same result.We were told that
the gull had been present at and (the latter when we arrive at the lagoons!)
but had been spooked by a Peregrine Falcon and sped away towards the far side
of the lake.We could see some distant
gulls circling, so we drove around to the far side.But as so often happens, when we got there,
they seemed to be back where we had come from.
We went back to the lagoons where there were several
birders, including some that Rick had met in Florida
(Noreen).There were only Bonaparte
Gulls, so after a bit we returned to the lake.We spent the rest of the afternoon there as other birders shuffled back
and forth between there and the lagoons.In the end, it was a no show.We
drove back home arriving almost exactly 12 hours after we had left.
We met at the information Kiosk at the GatineauPark.I arrived on time, but had I been a minute
earlier, I would have seen the Cooper's Hawk.
Today there were Tony, Nina, Josh, Karen, Paula,
Lorraine, Brian, and Rick.
We checked the trail across the road, then headed straight
out Hwy 148.We pulled off to see a Bald
Eagle, then spotted a second one beneath.We went up Eardley Masham Road
part way, and around the back roads to Steele Line.Here we saw another Bald Eagle.Making our was back along Bradley, we saw a
Golden Eagle!Then we spotted a couple
of Rough-legged Hawks.All of these
great raptors were too distant for photos.
We decided to head back to town to Andrew Haydon to try for
the King Eider.She was indeed there,
but mostly sleeping.We saw several
other water birds at the same location.
Some photographers tipped me off about a Lapland Longspur at
Britannia Point.I told our crew, but I
was the only one to go for it.There
were three nice Snow Buntings with the Longspur.
The first Ontbirds report came in from Bruce Di Labio that
there were three females on the Ottawa River at AndrewHaydonPark.Then about , Anouk Hoedeman reported that there was only one, but that it
had moved to the foot of Scrivens St.
I went right over and looked high and low for quite some
distance on either side of Scrivens, but could not locate it. There were lots
of other ducks and even a Hairy Woodpecker.I returned home and got further posts reporting that it had gone back to
Andrew Haydon.So after doing some
chores, I returned and saw some photographers with scopes - good sign.Sure enough, she was there, but the light was
starting to fade.
It was just Tony,
Nina, Karen & me today.A freezing
very windy day, the kind of cold that goes right through you.We started at Britannia Point, then went to
Andrew Haydon.The conditions on the
river were terrible, and we did not stay long.We went to Timmy's and got a hot beverage.Then we tried Shirley's Bay,but drew a blank.Hilda was little better.We went out to Constance Creek and picked up
a few hawks and ducks.We cruised the
back roads near Richmond, and got a few Snow Geese.We stopped at Burnside briefly, then went
around to the dump to finish with a Herring Gull.