Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Woodpeckers and Owls with Jane, Connie & Nadine

Feb 26. 9:00 am

We met at the Lime Kiln Trail.  We hiked directly to the burned area near the clearing and took the well-trod trail to the north.

It was fairly quiet, so we soon heard vigorous tapping, which turned out to be the first of several Hairy Woodpeckers that we would see.  We wandered around in the burn area and heard then saw a Pileated Woodpecker fly over.  Jane and Connie also saw a Downy Woodpecker.  But no sign of a Black-backed.  Yet.

We could hear some faint tapping further in and to the right, so we all wandered over in that direction until we hit a side trail, which we followed back to the Lime Kiln, after spotting still another Hairy.

We went back to our starting point again.  The ladies explored the south side of the trail, while I went onto the north side again.  Suddenly, there it was right in front of me - a female Black-backed Woodpecker.

They all came running, but there was no hurry.  The Black-backed stayed put for dozens of photos and videos.

We hiked out to the cars, meeting my friend, Francesca, and her friend walking their rescue dogs.

Nadine had to go, but Connie, Jane & I headed over to Bridlewood to look for the Northern Hawk Owl at the Old Quarry Trail.

As we hiked up the trail, we saw three photographers in the middle of the field, so we headed right for them.  The owl had just made a kill and flown up to a tree to rest.  We hiked over and got our photos.  Then another photographer arrived bearing mice.

He set a couple free, but the owl did not budge.  We waited a while, but Jane and Connie decided to move on.  Shortly after, another photographer arrived with even more mice.  he tried too, but our quarry was not impressed.  I tried of the game and called it a day.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Great Gray Owls

Mon, Feb 25.  10:00 am

I was not planning to go birding, but Barbara phoned to say that Stephen from the bus told her that 3 Great Grays were on March Valley Road on Sunday.

So I headed out and soon saw a couple of photographers at the side of the road taking pictures of a Great Gray Owl on a fence post.  I pulled over and was soon joined by Janet Barnes, whom I had not seen for several months.  We watched the owl make a kill and fly up to a tree.  I also spotted another owl much farther away.

Later, the far one flew across and a third Great Gray perched in an evergreen.



Northern Hawk Owl

Fri, Feb 22. 12:00 noon

I kept getting reports of this Hawk Owl, so finally gave in to temptation and visited the Old Quarry Trail.  I had a little trouble, but ran into Joe, the photographer, who steered me in the right direction.

I also visited Hilda feeders to get some images of Common Redpolls.  I could not spot any Hoaries.

Raptors & Open Country - Ottawa East with Tony Beck

Thursday Feb 21, 8:00 am

Today there were Tony, Nina, Rita (a new birder), Rick, Judith, Antonia, Pavel and me. 

It was a cold blustery day with poor visibility.  We went straight to Giroux to look for the Gray Partridge, but had no luck.  The feeders at Larose Forest were very good, especially for Evening Grosbeaks and a White-winged Crossbill.

We went out to St. Isidore area where we patrolled the roads.  In spite of the poor weather, Tony somehow produced two Snowy Owls and a Rough-legged Hawk.


Bird List


  1. American Crow
  2. Snow Bunting
  3. Evening Grosbeak
  4. White-winged Crossbill
  5. Common Redpoll
  6. Black-capped Chickadee
  7. Hairy Woodpecker
  8. Downy Woodpecker
  9. Dark-eyed Junco
  10. Hoary Redpoll
  11. American Goldfinch
  12. Blue Jay
  13. Northern Cardinal
  14. Mourning Dove
  15. Snowy Owl
  16. Horned Lark
  17. Wild Turkey
  18. Rough-legged Hawk
  19. Red-tailed Hawk

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Gatineau Escarpment & The Steele Line with Tony Beck

Tuesday, Feb 12, 8:00 am

The group  met at the Gamelin entrance to Gatineau Park - Tony, Nina, Josh, Rick, Judith, Bob, Pavel, Antonia and daughter Hanna, Michael and me.

We headed out to Hwy 148, where we soon spotted Wild Turkeys in the fields.  We saw American Crows, a Blue Jay, European Starlings, and a good sized flock of Snow Buntings.  Tony showed us one dark bird among the latter, most likely a Lapland Longspur.

We turned down Tremblay to the Ottawa River to check out the feeders at Hirondelles.  We saw several House Sparrows, a female Northern Cardinal, a White-breasted Nuthatch, a Downy Woodpecker, some Dark-eyed Juncos, a bunch of Common Redpolls and a surprising Song Sparrow!

We went to the other feeder at Colibris and heard a Common Raven.  Tony briefly played the call of the Red-bellied Woodpecker, and sharp-eared Bob heard one in the distance.  We drove back to Hirondelles and Hanna spotted it high up in a cedar.  It flew across, but did not come in close for good photos.

We went for a break at the D├ępanneur 148, then explored the Eardley-Masham Road.  It was quiet save for a Hairy Woodpecker,

We retraced our steps and went onto Bradley to check a feeder there.  Lots of birds, but nothing new.  Then a flock of redpolls came in and we could clearly see a Hoary among them.  Chickadees. American Tree Sparrows and a Mourning Dove were added to the list.

With time running out, we drove along Steele Line without seeing anything new.  We returned to Hwy 148, checked out Murray, then started back.  Tony pulled over when he saw an eagle from the car.  Scope view revealed a Bald Eagle and a Golden Eagle, then a second Bald Eagle.  The heavy snow rendered photos poor.  But it was an exciting finish to a slow day.



Saturday, February 9, 2013

Raptor Search - Ottawa East with Tony Beck

February 5, 8:00 am

I was on call today with hospital driving, so could not meet the group at the start.  Instead I went to Green's Creek on the Rockliffe Parkway and met them there.

There was already a band of photographers there when I arrived, but no sign of a Great Gray Owl.  After a short wait, Tony and the rest of the group arrived - Nina, Rick, Judith, Deanna, Pavel, Antonnia, Bianca, Elke and Pascal.  The last three are new birders.  Pascal had given this trip to Elke as a birthday gift.

We wandered away from the photographers and Tony soon pointed out a Hairy Woodpecker and the first Great Gray Owl.  A short time later, we got a second Great Gray Owl that was very difficult to see against an aspen tree trunk.

We left the owls to the photographers and went to Tim Horton's on Trim Road for a warm up.  From there, we went out Frank Kenny where we stopped to view a perched Peregrine Flacon.

On Giroux, there was a single Horned Lark.  Pascal asked "Where are the horns?"  So we explained Horned Lark 101.

We turned down Dunning and stopped to look at a big blond Coyote.  Tony saw a Cooper's Hawk, but the following cars missed it.  He took the opportunity to point out a Common Raven and explain the difference between them and crows.

We proceeded to Indian Creek Road in Larose Forest, where we saw a small flock of Evening Grosbeaks.  There was a feeder where we saw a Blue Jay, a Downy Woodpecker, Chickadees and many Common Redpolls.

The hospital phoned, so I had to say goodbye.  On the way back to Highway 417, I saw a very dark Wild Turkey all by itself.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pine Grosbeaks Surprise

February 3, 2013

We joined our family for skiing and lunch to Healy Lodge in Gatineau Park.  Recalling the crossbills seen last time, we were on the lookout for birds.  But all the time we were inside, we only saw Common Redpolls and a few American Tree Sparrows at the feeder.

But when we went to leave, there on the ground beneath the feeder, were several Pine Grosbeaks, including a gorgeous red male.



Winter Friends

January 30, 2013

This huge gap in blog entries is because of our birding trip to Cuba.  See http://web.ncf.ca/eb317/Cuba/Cuba.htm

I have been getting back into cross country skiing, and saw a number of Common Redpolls at the feeder at Shilly Shally in Gatineau Park.  Too bad I only had the small camera.

Two days later, I made a quick trip to Luskville to check the feeders for the Tufted Titmouse and Red-bellied Woodpecker, which Bernie had reported.  I had one really quick look at the former, but the latter was nowhere to be found.