Recent Trip Reports

November 3 2019 (Sunday) Cobourg Harbour and Presqu'ile Provincial Park

Leader: Ian Shanahan.

Hello birders:

The 15 participants on today's annual field trip to Cobourg Harbour and Presqu'ile enjoyed 56 bird species, including 5 gulls, 4 shorebirds, 17 waterfowl, and a warbler.

At Cobourg Harbour, the steady west wind pushed the "feels like" temperature below 0 degrees Celsius, meaning a flock of about 30 SNOW BUNTINGS hardly seemed out of place. A small feeding frenzy of gulls impressed, before we scoped several duck species, including LESSER SCAUP and two GREEN-WINGED TEAL, in the sheltered harbour. A SONG SPARROW sang briefly from a willow thicket as a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET gleaned the outer branches. An immature MERLIN whizzed past just before we departed.

At Presqu'ile Provincial Park, we began at the beach where a small flock of SANDERLINGS and DUNLIN fed actively among a lively group of feeding BONAPARTE'S GULLS. Farther south on the beach, we spotted an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, which eventually relocated to a gull and goose roost to the north. Here, a first-cycle GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL showed well. Two AMERICAN PIPITS, an immature NORTHERN HARRIER, 5 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, and a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER were other notables on the beach. The most unexpected find was a dead American Eel that had evidently been blown by the strong west wind upland onto the beach. Some of the many photos of this endangered (in Ontario) species will be submitted to Park staff.

The sheltered waters of Presqu'ile Bay were loaded with diving ducks, especially REDHEADS and GREATER SCAUP, but also smaller numbers of LONG-TAILED DUCK, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER (5), AMERICAN WIGEON (2), and GADWALL (2). An immature COMMON LOON was the only loon of the day. A GREAT BLUE HERON flushed at Salt Point from where 5 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were foraging in a many-fruit-bearing juniper.

In the marsh, we scoped 12 TUNDRA SWANS, 2 PIED-BILLED GREBES, 2 AMERICAN COOTS, and about 20 RING-NECKED DUCKS.

The trip concluded at the Birdhouse Nature Store whose feeders attracted a male RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER and a noisy flock of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, many of which were singing.

Cobourg Harbour is between the south ends of Division St. and Third St. in Cobourg. Approximately 30 minutes east, Presqu'ile Provincial Park is well-signed south of Highway 401 exit 509; the Birdhouse Nature Store is just outside the Park gate.

If you would like the trip's ebird lists shared, please send me your email address.

Thanks to all who attended; see you in 2020!

Ian and Sofia Shanahan

October 19 2019 (Saturday) Durham Waterfront

Leader: Geoff Carpentier.

Twelve folks joined me as we explored the Whitby shoreline on this gorgeous fall day on our OFO walk. Sixty-one species included a Cackling Goose at Cranberry, the first Fox Sparrows of the season, Winter Wren and Phoebe at Thickson and four species of warbler at Lynde Shores - Palm, Yellow-rumped, Magnolia (very late) and Northern Parula.

However after the walk I went back to where we had looked for and missed the Fish Crow at Whitby harbour and there it was. Apparently it likes the afternoons better. We didn't do well on raptors, counting only 5 species but in North Oshawa others found Golden and Bald Eagle, Northern Goshawks, hundreds of vultures and at least 80 Red-shouldered Hawks.

All this bodes well for the TOC walk tomorrow.

Side note to those that joined me today. I shared the 3 eBird checklists with you based on the info you gave me so if you didn't receive them lmk as I must have mis-entered or misread your info. Victor - eBird wouldn't accept the name you gave me.

Thank you,

Geoff Carpentier

October 19 2019 (Saturday) Ottawa River

Leader: Tony Beck.

OFO Field Trip -- Oct. 19/2019 - Dusk along the Ottawa River

10 keen birders met at 1:00pm and birded around Lac Deschenes, between Britannia and Shirley's Bay.

Although the birding was relatively slow, we had beautiful calm conditions with clear skies and comfortable temperatures.

We tallied a total of 41 species for the day ending after sunset with thousands of gulls and geese coming to roost on the shores of the Ottawa River.


4 Brant

3 Cackling Geese

3 late(ish) Blue-winged Teal

2 Surf Scoter

14 adult male White-winged Scoter

1 Long-tailed Duck

1 adult Bald Eagle

Good Birding!Tony Beck

Great Crested Flycatcher
Photo: Daniel Cadieux

Common Goldeneye
Photo: Homer Caliwag

Blue Jay
Photo: Carol Horner