Friday, December 13, 2013

Rideau Tennis Club

Dec 13, 2013

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.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter Raptors - Ottawa East with Tony & Nina

Dec 5, 2013

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.



Bird List

  1. Snow Bunting
  2. European Starling
  3. American Crow
  4. Blue Jay
  5. Common Raven
  6. Snowy Owl (5!)
  7. Rock Pigeon
  8. House Sparrow
  9. Rough-legged Hawk
  10. Lapland Longspur
  11. Horned Lark
  12. Red-tailed Hawk
  13. Great-blacked Gull
  14. Herring Gull
  15. Bald Eagle

Rare Bird Alert

Dec 3, 2013

Today there are Tony, Nina, Rick, Lorraine & me.  It was to be a day exploring Greenbelt trails.  The reality was entirely different.

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 warbler.  Gary 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!




Bird List

  1. American Crow
  2. Hairy Woodpecker
  3. Blue Jay
  4. Mourning Dove
  5. Black-capped Chickadee
  6. Red-winged Blackbird
  7. White-breasted Nuthatch
  8. Common Raven
  9. Bald Eagle
  10. Mallard
  11. American Black Duck
  12. Common Goldeneye
  13. Common Merganser
  14. Red-breasted Merganser
  15. Hooded Merganser
  16. Canada Goose
  17. Common Loon
  18. Harlequin Duck
  19. Northern Cardinal
  20. Dark-eyed Junco
  21. Pileated Woodpecker
  22. Brown Creeper
  23. American Robin
  24. Song Sparrow
  25. European Starling
  26. Merlin
  27. Downy Woodpecker
  28. Glaucous Gull
  29. Ring-billed Gull
  30. Black-throated Gray Warbler
  31. Rock Pigeon

Early Winter Specialties - Ottawa East with Tony & Nina

Nov 28, 2013

Tony, Nina and Josh arrived at Trim Road Park & Ride shortly before 8.  A Bald Eagle flew over heading for Petrie Island. 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.



 Bird List

  1. Bald Eagle
  2. Mourning Dove
  3. Rock Pigeon
  4. Horned Lark
  5. Canada Goose
  6. Black-capped Chickadee
  7. Blue Jay
  8. Snow Bunting
  9. Common Raven
  10. American Crow
  11. Snowy Owl
  12. Rough-legged Hawk
  13. Lapland Longspur
  14. Dark-eyed Junco
  15. House Sparrow


Friday, November 22, 2013

Search for the Ross's Gull

Nov 21, 2013  6 am start

Judith, Rick and I gave up one of Tony's outings to drive to Chambly Qu├ębec 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 7 am and 9 am (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.



Bird List

  1. Red-tailed Hawk
  2. Rough-legged Hawk
  3. Blue Jay
  4. Bonaparte Gull
  5. Mallard
  6. Ring-billed Gull
  7. American Black Duck
  8. Great Black-backed Gull
  9. Common Loon
  10. Hooded Merganser
  11. Common Goldeneye
  12. Red-breasted Merganser
  13. Common Merganser (hundreds)
  14. Herring Gull




Late Fall Migration along the Ottawa River – Ottawa West with Tony & Nina

Tuesday Nov 19

It was another of those horribly windy cold fall days.  We spent a lot of uncomfortable time along the river trying to relocate the King Eider, without success.

Braving the elements were Rick, Judith, Josh, Karen, Nina, Tony and me.

We started near Scrivens, moving up and down the river as far as Andrew Haydon East.  Then to the main part of Andrew Haydon with still no sightings.  A brief stop at Dick Bell had the same result.

So we headed out o Carp to check the floodplain, where we saw numbers of Cackling Geese and 5 Greater White-fronted Geese.

Then back we went to Andrew Haydon, but the King Eider had either left or expired.

We made one last try at Britannia Point, with no luck.



Bird List

  1. Bufflehead
  2. American Crow
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Ring-billed Gull
  5. Common Goldeneye
  6. Lesser Scaup
  7. Mallard
  8. Brant
  9. Greater Scaup
  10. Red-breasted Merganser
  11. Cackling Goose
  12. Greater White-fronted Goose


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Eagles & Finches – Gatineau Escarpment with Tony & Nina

Thursday Nov 14

We met at the information Kiosk at the Gatineau Park.  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.



Bird List

  1. American Robin
  2. Northern Cardinal
  3. Blue Jay
  4. Black-capped Chickadee
  5. White-throated Sparrow
  6. Common Raven
  7. Purple Finch
  8. Bald Eagle
  9. Pileated Woodpecker
  10. Red-tailed Hawk
  11. Golden Eagle
  12. Blue Jay
  13. Rough-legged Hawk
  14. Bufflehead
  15. Canada Goose
  16. King Eider
  17. Lesser Scaup
  18. Greater Scaup
  19. Red-necked Grebe
  20. Red-breasted Merganser
  21. Snow Bunting
  22. Lapland Longspur

King Eider

Nov 13 13

The first Ontbirds report came in from Bruce Di Labio that there were three females on the Ottawa River at Andrew Haydon Park.   Then about 11 am, 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.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Diving Ducks, Loons & Others – Ottawa West with Tony & Nina

Tuesday Nov 12

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.


Bird List

  1. Ring-billed Gull
  2. Mallard
  3. Long-tailed Duck
  4. Common Goldeneye
  5. Lesser Scaup
  6. Hooded Merganser
  7. Greater Scaup
  8. Red-necked Grebe
  9. Brant
  10. Canada Goose
  11. Common Merganser
  12. Bufflehead
  13. Great Black-backed Gull
  14. Blue Jay
  15. White-breasted Nuthatch
  16. Black-capped Chickadee
  17. American Tree Sparrow
  18. Dark-eyed Junco
  19. Wild Turkey
  20. Red-tailed Hawk
  21. Common Raven
  22. Hairy Woodpecker
  23. Rock Pigeon
  24. Rough-legged Hawk
  25. Horned Lark
  26. Greater Snow Goose ( incl Blue Morph)
  27. Ring-necked Duck
  28. Northern Shoveller
  29. Herring Gull