April 23 2017 (Sunday) Peterborough Area
Leader: Dave Milsom.
A very small OFO group enjoyed a beautiful Spring day's birding in the Peterborough area on Sunday.
A total of 64 species was recorded. Highlights included a total of 21 Ospreys seen; Greater White-fronted Goose on Kellogg Road in Welcome, near Port Hope; singing Vesper Sparrow; 3 Virginia Rails all seen at Sawer Creek; Eastern Bluebird, Gray Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Pine Warbler, 4 woodpecker species, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Common Raven.
See ebird for lists for specific locations, as well as photos.
April 23 2017 (Sunday) Minesing Swamp
Leader: Mark Cranford.
Sunday I had the privilege to lead some 20 OFO members around the outer edges of the Minesing Wetland Conservation Area (aka Minesing Swamp). In total the group located 60 species and added multiple lifers for more than one participant. Starting from Angus we visited MacKinnon Road for shorebirds, waterfowl and rails. The fields and sloughs along MacKinnon should remain wet for the next couple of weeks so you can expect interesting birds to remain along this section. The end of Baldwick Lane was rather quiet but we managed good looks at Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Purple Finch. As the migration progress this site will only get better. 3 Sandhill Cranes in flight at the 90 degree bend on Ronald Road west of Minesing Village was a fine way of finishing off a good introduction to Minesing and an excellent spring day .
April 23 2017 (Sunday) Nesting Ravens and Raptors in Ottawa
Leader: Langis Sirois.
Eight birders joined trip leader Langis Sirois in a search for raptors and Raven nests in the Ottawa area.
Langis led us to 10 Raven nests, 6 occupied, where we saw a total of 9 adults and 10 juveniles including 5 newly fledged young birds on and near their nest site. Langis provided a wealth of information about Ravens and their nest site preferences.
We also saw a Bald Eagle on it's nest and 2 Osprey nests.
Also observed were Red-tailed and Broad-winged Hawks, Northern Harriers, a Merlin seen by two birders and many Turkey Vultures.
A highlight was 4 Sandhill Cranes soaring and calling overhead.
April 23 2017 (Sunday) Prince Edward County South Shore Important Bird Area
Leader: Mike Burrell.
I had the privilege of leading the now annual late April OFO trip to the Prince Edward County South Shore IBA yesterday. Migrant passerines were very slow but we still found about 90 species.
The highlights of the day were two Little Gulls at the Kaiser Crossroad flooded field and many typical mid-April migrants including all three scoters, five species of swallows, nine species of sparrows and of course being about seven hours early for the Say's Phoebe at the bird observatory!
April 22 2017 (Saturday) Cabot Head and the Bruce Peninsula (2-day trip)
Leader: Martin Parker, Kathy Parker.
The eleven participants of the annual OFO Bruce Peninsula outing had a good weekend of birding with a total of 85 species.
On Saturday the group travelled north from Wiarton on Highway 6 and then to Dyer's Bay and Cabot Head. At the intersection of Little Pike Bay Road and Hwy 6 there was 1 Snowy Owl. At the eastern end of Dyer's Bay Road there were 5 Sandhill Cranes. On Georgian Bay near the outflow to Gillies Lake there was a breeding plumage Eared Grebe, which was photographed. There were also 1 Red-necked Grebe and lots of Horned Grebes. On the way back on a rock there was a Lesser Black-backed Gull with a Herring Gull. At Cabot Head there was an occupied Bald Eagle nest. During the day there were lots of Merlins and American Kestrels. The consistent north wind resulted in no migration of raptors.
On Sunday the group visited Isaac Lake, Stokes Bay area, Black Creek Provincial Park. Oliphant shoreline and Wiarton Lagoon. Stokes Bay had large rafts of Greater Scaup along with other ducks including Redheads which wam within 100 feet of the group. Noteworthy birds included Great Egret on Myles Bay, 10 Blue-winged Teal at Isaac Lake, 3 Sandhill Cranes at Isaac Lake, 2 Caspian Terns at Stokes Bay, 1 Brown Creeper at Stokes Bay, 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler at Black Creek Provincial Park.
Late afternoon the group visited the site the Ruff which was reported from north of Hanover but it was absent.
April 15 2017 (Saturday) Point Pelee National Park
Leader: Ellen Smout.
On Saturday April 15, 7 great birders joined me for the OFO trip to Point Pelee NP. Highlights include Rusty Blackbirds, Rough-legged Hawk, Merlin, numerous Hermit Thrush, 8 Sparrow species, Eastern Towhee, Brown Thrasher and 36 American Avocet (!). When the sun came out at lunchtime the butterflies came out in droves. As many wildflowers were blooming it was a beautiful spring scene. At DeLaurier we had a Spring Azure which seems early, but not sure of their early dates.
A special thanks to Deb Ware for the hot coffee and fresh muffins! Also a shout out to Mike Vermue who tallied the list at Hillman and Caroline Biel who recorded our species in the Park. All of our lists for the day can be found in eBird.
To all who came out my heartfelt thanks for a great day of birding and company. It was a pleasure to meet new birders and to see familiar birders again.
April 9 2017 (Sunday) Algonquin Provincial Park
Leader: Ron Tozer.
About 40 OFO members and friends enjoyed great early spring birding in Algonquin Park today. The temperature reached a balmy 16 degrees by late afternoon. The final species count reached 50, a good total for this date. Eight of them were first-of-spring sightings for the Park. All the species recorded on the trip can be seen on eBird, thanks to Kelly and Rick Stronks.
Gray Jays were observed at Spruce Bog Boardwalk and on Opeongo Road. Many of the group got to see a Black-backed Woodpecker attracted by Barred Owl imitations near the kettle bog on Spruce Bog Boardwalk. Unfortunately, the persistence of deep snow and an additional 30 cm added late last week combined to severely limit the areas we could search for Spruce Grouse, and we failed to see one.
It was a good day for raptors, including a Bald Eagle, a Northern Harrier, four Sharp-shinned Hawks, about 20 migrating Red-tailed Hawks and a couple of Merlins. Bird seed on the ground at the Visitor Centre attracted Fox Sparrow (3), Purple Finch (3), Common Redpoll (1), many Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches and Evening Grosbeaks, and the rarest bird seen on today's trip, a female House Sparrow.
Thanks to the participants for a wonderful day. The assistance of Stacey Finch, Lev Frid, Amanda Guercio, Justin Peter, Dawn Sherman, Kelly Stronks and Rick Stronks with logistics and finding birds was really appreciated by everyone.