Wednesday, December 11, 2013

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

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