Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Lifer Three-toed Woodpecker for Bill

Dec 29, 2014

Barbara got her lifer in the NWT this summer, but Bill was still in the tent and missed it!

We had already made two trips to Grimes Cres. in Alymer without seeing the reported bird, so I was pretty discouraged.  Then Rick got it again on the woodpecker blitz day, and kindly provided us with detailed instructions on where to look.

We went in early afternoon and spent a few minutes on the road seeing nothing.  Then I noticed a board across the ditch that kids had put to get into the woods to their tree fort.  With nothing to lose, we went inside and looked around.  Right away, we flushed the Three-toed Woodpecker to a nearby tree.

The low sun was right in our faces, so we quickly went back out to the road  to get the light behind us.  The bird was unconcerned by our presence, but was covered by dense branches most of the time, only coming into the clear briefly for photos.  Barbara made a video.

Woodpecker Blitz by OFNC

Dec 28, 2014

Jon Ruddy organized four groups to head out to the best locations.  There were three in the west end led by himself, Chris Traynor and Gillian Mastromatteo.  A fourth group worked the east end trails with Jamie Spence. 

We went out with Gillian to Lime Kiln and Jack Pine Trails.  Also with us was Rachelle.  The Lime Kiln trail was dead, so we headed over to Jack Pine, which was also pretty quiet.  We finally got a few Downies and a Pileated inside a tree near the parking lot.  John's group had much better luck off West Hunt Club, so we quickly checked there to try and get a lifer Black-backed for Rachelle - but no luck.  Chris's group also found a couple of Black-backs, but Jamie's group struck out too.  Part of his group, with Rick in the lead, went to Grimes in Aylmer on the way home and got the Three-toed!  After the compilation at McDonalds, we headed over to Osprey Cres. in Kanata to look for one of Chris's Black-backs, but we only saw the tree it had been working.

An Unexpected Addition to the Cottage List

Dec 27, 2014

We were up at Grand lac des C├Ędres on a day trip, and were not expecting to see any rare birds.  But hey, while walking over to visit friends, Barbara heard the tapping of a woodpecker.  It was low down on the trunk, and it only took a second to see that it was a Black-backed Woodpecker.  A rare sighting indeed, part of an apparent irruption this winter.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Aylmer Birding

Dec 14, 2014

Rumours of an American Three-toed Woodpecker sent us off to Aylmer.  We saw lots of woodpeckers, but not the sought-after species.  We saw a couple of birders working the sector for the Ottawa-Gatineau Christmas Bird Count.  We saw a couple of good ducks - Wood Duck and Northern Pintail along with the common winter species.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Snowy Owl Invasion Begins

Dec 07, 2014

We were returning from Barrhaven along Greenbank Road when we saw a couple of cars pulled over.  Sure enough, there was an adult male Snowy Owl sitting on a utility pole.  Soon many more cars pulled over and the danger of an accident increased.  We got our photos and took off out of there.  It looks like another big year for Snowy Owls.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

West End Snowy Owls

December 2, 2014

Today I went out with Jane and Connie, so we all went together.

After a brief fruitless stop at Burnside Pond, we went out Eagleson Road and soon spotted our first Snowy Owl on a fence post.  While Connie & I were trying to photograph it, Jane spotted a second one on the ground in an adjacent field.  Both were too far to approach with trespassing, so we contented ourselves with scope views.

We toured the adjacent side roads without turning up anything else, so we decided to go to Jack Pine Trail.  Well, the target was a Black-backed Woodpecker, but there was no sign of it.  We had good views of Hairy and Downy, though.

So we went to Andrew Haydon Park, where there was pretty much nothing.  The ponds and near-shore areas of the river were already frozen.  We checked Grandview feeders without seeing anything beyond an American Goldfinch.  The next stop was Shirley's Bay boat launch, but there was nothing on the river.  We went over to Hilda and had our lunch in the car while watching the American Tree Sparrows, Mourning Doves and Blue Jays.

After lunch, we drove out past Dunrobin via March Valley Road hoping for a raptor, but only came up with a Pileated Woodpecker.  On Vance we saw the same flock of Turkeys twice.  Finally, we drove back by Eagleson to see if the Snowy Owls were any closer for photographs, but they were not.  If fact, we could only find the one on the ground.  We surmised that a photographer we spoke to had spooked the one on the post.