Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rideau River - Hurdman's Bridge and Billing's Bridge

January 22, 2017

We decided to go for the ducks that have been reported.  We tried parking at Ottawa U near the footbridge, but there is no parking there.  So, we went to Queen Mary Rd.

There is not  much open water from Queen Mary upstream until one come to Hurdman's Bridge.  Here there were lots of Common Goldeneye and Common Mergansers.

No sign of the Harlequin Duck, so we went half way across the footbridge to scan.  Still no Harlequin, but 2 male Barrow's Goldeneyes.  There was also a female Barrow's with them.

We crossed over to the west side and went under the highway, soon spotting the Harlequin Duck with the female Common Goldeneyes.  The Harlequin Duck does look like a female, but it is most likely a young male just starting to get adult plumage. 

We met another birder who told us of a feeder back on the other side of the river and of a Cooper's Hawk hanging around it.  So, we headed back over and found the feeder in the forest with a White-throated Sparrow and Northern Cardinal at it.  We even spotted the Cooper's Hawk blasting by low to the river.

We headed back towards the car, running into Sami, Jane and her grandson, Mitchell.  Sami had received a text saying that an American Wigeon was showing well at Billings Bridge.  So we went there too.  There were tons of ducks, but it did not take long to pick out the wigeon.  We also saw a male Wood Duck and more Common Mergansers.  Our best photos were from the bridge.


We walked to Harvey's for a snack, and on our return met Sami again looking for the wigeon.  Surprisingly, he was able to pick it out.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Deer Carcass on the Ottawa River at Baskin's Beach

Jan 14 and 15, 2017

When we got back from the OFO outing, there was a message from my friend, Ray, to say that wolves had taken down a deer right in front of their home, and that 2 Bald Eagles were scavenging on it.  Off I went!

The eagles had departed, but soon returned for a fly past. One of them alighted on the ice some 20 feet from the carcass, but did not go to it.


Barbara wanted in on the action, so, after confirming with Ray, we headed out there again.  This time we parked at the marina and snowshoed along the ice.

There was a Bald Eagle at the carcass when were donning our snowshoes, but it soon departed.  We snowshoed right up to the carcass without seeing another animal.  So, we decided to go past a bit, before turning back. 

Then we spotted a Red Fox trotting out onto the ice for a snack.  It left for a few minutes and came back for a second round.  Finally, it left for good and the Common Ravens took their turn.

OFO Ottawa West outing with Roy John and Dave Moore

Jan 14 17

We went first to Steeplehill Cr. to look for the Red-belled Woodpecker.  This time, success!  Although it did not perch for good photos.

 We then cruised the backed roads around Richmond.  No Gray Partridges or Lapland Longspurs, but 3 or 4 Snowy Owls and flocks of Snow Buntings.

Next we went to the dump for gulls, but there were none.  Several Red-tailed Hawks and mobs of European Starlings were there.

 The group was heading to the Rideau River, so we decided to go back to try for better Snowy Owl photos.  The owls did not cooperate, but we got a good sighting of a Coyote loping along.

Rural roads around Richmond with JC Birding

January 11, 2017

We joined Jane, Connie & Sami en route, as we were delayed by a physio appointment.  We phoned and found out they were on Brownlee, so headed across Rushmore to meet them.  But on Rushmore, we had an excellent view of Horned Larks and Snow Buntings.

The group had already seen a group of baiters after a Snowy Owl, so we decided to leave and go to Iber Rd.  Here we saw our target Northern Pintail with a large group of Mallards.

Next stop was Kanata west where we checked out a nest box for a possible owl roost.

Then it was back to Rushmore to try for Gray Partridge - no luck.  But we did see more Snow Buntings a group of 6 birders traipsing across private property having flushed a Snowy.