May 20 2019 (Monday) Lac Deschenes IBA, Ottawa
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.
With the extremely high water levels and flooding this year, the big question was how much of the Lac Deschenes IBA were we going to be able to access. Nine participants showed up to find out and were rewarded with trip that found about 88 species, including 20 species of warbler. We started at Constance Creek. Among the birds we found were 3 Trumpeter Swans, a calling American Bittern, a Black Tern and 4 Common Terns. We drove south on Thomas Dolan Parkway, just outside the IBA. We had a Sora at Casey Lake marsh and then made a few stops on the Carp Ridge. Highlights included 2 male Golden-winged Warblers, 4 Eastern Towhees, Black-billed Cuckoo, Virginia Rail, and a Solitary Sandpiper; and the Trumpeter Swans that had left Constance Creek while we were there circled over us a few times while we were on the Carp Ridge. We were debating whether to try and sneak into Britannia (it was officially out of bounds due to the high water levels) but then we received a report of a Vermillion Flycatcher on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River (but still within the IBA). We decided to go for it. In the end, the report of the flycatcher was dubious, but we did find an excellent pocket of warblers in the woods adjacent to Parc Brebeuf, including excellent views of Northern Parula, Canada and Black-throated Blue Warblers. A fine half day birding despite not being able to visit some of our usual locations. Thanks to the participants, and especially to Bob Cermak who assisted me in leading this field trip.
May 5 2019 (Sunday) Munster-Richmond Area, Ottawa
Leader: Colin Gaskell, Dave Moore.
Seven enthusiastic birders joined leaders Colin Gaskell and Dave Moore for a most enjoyable day searching for early returning migrants under the finest weather conditions of what has been an otherwise cold, wet Ottawa spring. Wood-warblers sighted included the expected Black-and-White, Nashville, Yellow, Palm, Yellow-rumped and Black-throated Green. A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Warbling Vireo were other passerines of note. A tour of the ponds and cattail marshes at the Richmond Conservation Area afforded excellent views of American Bittern, Pied-billed Grebe, two extremely cooperative Virginia Rails and fleeting glimpses of two Soras. Several other individuals of both rail species were heard only as we circled the lagoons. Shorebird diversity is still quite limited locally (the group recorded Wilson's Snipe, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs at several different locations), however, the highlight was a pair of recently returned Upland Sandpiper at a traditional breeding location along the Franktown Road. A male Purple Finch and a flyover Evening Grosbeak at a tamarack/spruce habitat near the Marlborough Forest added an additional boreal touch to the outing as did an earlier sighting of several Rusty Blackbirds foraging in a moist woodland habitat at the north end of Twin Elm Road. In all, the group tallied 72 species for the outing. Special thanks to Martha Burchat for compiling and sharing an eBird checklist with the participants.
April 14 2019 (Sunday) Spring Waterfowl Migration East of Ottawa
Leader: Mark Gawn.
Last Sunday, April 14th, 14 birders joined me to search for migrating waterfowl on the flooded fields east of Ottawa. Mainly on the Bearbrook Creek floodplain from Milton and Frank Kenny Roads. Since OFO establishes dates for OFO field trips in October for the following year it is extremely difficult choose a date for this trip. The peak of the Goose, Swan and early duck species migration near Ottawa is usually the last week of March or the first week of April. However it can be a week later, as it was this year, due to the delayed snow melt as a result of the later than usual cold weather. Last Sunday may have been a few days after the peak of the early spring waterfowl migration. We had scope views of about 3,000 Greater Snow Geese but, unfortunately, we could not find any Ross's Geese. Several were found later in the day. We searched for the Tundra Swans that had been present for about a week but couldn't find them. They were likely feeding in the nearby corn fields since they were found on the flooded fields later in the day. We searched for the Pink-footed Goose that had been present since the 13th but it had probably left with most of the Canada Geese on the milder weather a day or two before. We did find one Greater White-fronted Goose but we had poor looks because it was sleeping most of the time in the middle of a group of tightly packed Canada Geese. Other than Northern Pintail, ducks were sparse, we found 10 duck species. We had distant looks at Sandhill Cranes. We found a total of 50 species which is excellent since we made limited effort to find passerines. Highlight of the day was probably two American Bittern that flew low over our heads. Many thanks to Ed Leblanc for finding the Greater White-fronted Goose when, initially, only the top of it's head was visible!
October 20 2018 (Saturday) Ottawa River
Leader: Tony Beck.
8 hardy participants joined Tony Beck for a breezy afternoon along the Ottawa River in Ottawa's West End. With strong gusty winds coming from the Northwest, viewing conditions were challenging at best. Although our species count was low (29 species), we had a few very entertaining highlights. A tame and approachable flock of 33 Brant had everyone excited. A single sleepy female Surf Scoter was new for some participants. We spotted up to 5 Red-necked Grebes, and one dark Cackling Goose at Andrew Haydon Park. Most interesting was a single juvenile Lapland Longspur following the shoreline near Shirley's Bay.
May 21 2018 (Monday) Ottawa (until Noon)
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.
This year we applied an expansionist interpretation to the definition of the Lac Deschenes IBA, starting in the Carp Hills, which run parallel to the IBA about 2.5 km to the southwest. This outcrop of the Canadian Shield is approximately 10 km long and 4 km wide and is an excellent area for a variety of breeding birds (including Common Nighthawk, and an abundance of Whip-poor-will and American Woodcock, if you care to visit this area in the dark). Our main target on this day was Golden-winged Warbler; and we failed. None have been reported in the Carp Hills this year in what has been the last stronghold of the species in the Ottawa Field-Naturalists? Club study area (which is the area within a 50 km radius of the Peace Tower). The decline the last few years has been steady despite the ideal conditions: that is, a lack of Blue-winged Warblers and vegetation that achieved climax growth long ago at a level ideal for these warblers. We were successful in getting great views of two other target species: Black-billed Cuckoo and Eastern Towhee. We had 50 species here in all. Next we drove back into the IBA along the same road (the Thomas Dolan Parkway) and made a stop at Constance Creek. Highlights here included an excellent view of a Broad-winged Hawk and a Sora that called once. Notice of an Olive-sided Flycatcher in south Kanata brought us out of the IBA again but there was no joy; so it was back to the IBA at Shirley?s Bay. Lac Desch?nes (a widening of the Ottawa River) was almost empty, except for lots of boaters. The leader did catch a glimpse of 2 Long-tailed Ducks; and everyone was afforded an excellent, albeit distant, view of an adult Bald Eagle at a nest. We finished at the Britannia Conservation Area (Mud Lake). Here we had an excellent view of a Pine Warbler; most of us had a good view of a Scarlet Tanager; and there was still enough song at this late hour to keep our ears tickled. In all, our group of 15 birders found about 90 species. Thanks to the group for a fun morning/early afternoon; and especially to Bob Cermak for providing transportation and assisting me with this field trip.
April 22 2018 (Sunday) Nesting Ravens and Raptors in Ottawa (until 2:00 p.m.)
Leader: Langis Sirois.
Nice day, nice people, nice observations! The Ontario Field Ornithologists could not have chosen a better day for its Ravens and raptors nestings sites excursion of to-day and make its 7 participants happy. We started the day at Shirley's Bay where we observed a Bald Eagle sitting high on its weel-known nest (far in the distance on the National Defense grounds), incubating or covering young; and we took note of the 2 occupied Osprey nests in the area, We checked 12 Raven possible nesting sites in Kanata, South of Kanata, Barhaven and Nepean and documented 9 actives sites including 7 nests with young, one with 6 young. Our last stop was at the Revenue Canada Data Centre on Heron Rd, where the skills and persistancy of Peter, Barbara and Bill permitted us to finally see the female Peregrine Falcon on her new nesting site on the East side of the building and the male make a fly around. Although nesting birds were our priority, we also noted about 30 other species, including a couple Ruddy Ducks during a mid-day stop at a Moodie Dr. pond.
January 13 2018 (Saturday) Ottawa Area [until Noon]
Leader: Roy John.
Despite my apprehension about road conditions following Ottawa's + 9 C/rain plunge to -17 C/snow overnight, the Ottawa road crews had cleared the city streets by 0700. The rural roads were wind swept and bare. So we had no problems in getting around, but finding birds was another issue. We only found 20 species. However six species were good to find in Ottawa in January ? Wood Duck, American Wigeon, N. Pintail, Bald Eagle, Snowy Owl and Lapland Longspur.
October 21 2017 (Saturday) Ottawa River
Leader: Tony Beck.
Yesterday, 12 keen birders participated in a delightful afternoon of fall birding along the shores of Lac Deschenes in Nepean. With unseasonably warm temperatures and relatively calm conditions, we ended with a total of 40 species. Some of the highlights included 3 Great Egrets, 2 Red-necked Grebes, 4 Cackling Geese, 3 Surf Scoter, 1 Long-tailed Duck, a late Osprey, plus small numbers of Brant and White-winged Scoter. Songbird numbers were low, as were the expected flocks of waterfowl and gulls at dusk. Regardless, the afternoon was extremely pleasant and wildly entertaining. [Click here to see complete list on eBird.](http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40054033)
September 10 2017 (Sunday) Ottawa (all day to 5 pm)
Leader: Jeff Skevington.
Given the high water conditions, we decided to focus on passerines today at the expense of a big list. About 20 of us spent the entire morning at Mud Lake in Ottawa. Five of us went on this afternoon to Sheila McKee Park (along the Ottawa River west of the city). We ended up seeing 18 species of warblers and a total of 67 species. We had some nice non-bird highlights this afternoon with multiple Red-backed and Blue-spotted Salamanders and a nice variety of insects, including my personal highlight, Eastern Hornet Fly (Spilomyia longicornis) - a spectacular yellowjacket mimic that I don't see very often. My favourite birds were a moulting Scarlet Tanager wearing almost every colour of the rainbow, a Canada Warbler, a couple Orange-crowned Warblers and 6 Philadelphia Vireos. Thanks to the keen eyes of everyone who came out as well as to the folks who were not on the outing but helped by letting us know what they were seeing!
June 4 2017 (Sunday) Larose Forest east of Ottawa (until noon)
Leader: Jacques Bouvier, Christine Trudeau-Brunet.
At 8 am, 6 dedicated birders met in Casselman, and soon afterwards headed out to Larose Forest. The trip involved lots of driving through the many kilometres of Larose Forest roads; many stops were made along the way trying to see the many birds that were heard. Of course, many more birds were heard than seen. The trip ended at noon with a total of 53 species identified. The nesting warblers, 16 species identified, did not disappoint; the breeding Cape May Warblers are always fun to find. In spite of the modest count and the lack of rare birds, all participants seemed to have enjoyed the morning. Thanks to all who participated!
May 21 2017 (Sunday) Ottawa [until Noon]
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.
Cool, cloudy, and windy conditions produced 11 birders who, in turn, observed 77 species. In the Dunrobin area we had excellent views of Blackpoll Warbler and Veery along Constance Creek (almost on the ground and pretty well surrounded by water); and fantastic views of Black-billed Cuckoo and Eastern Towhee on the Carp Ridge; however, warblers were for the most part very quiet. In Burntlands Provincial Park, north of Almonte, we had a good selection species: Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, Upland Sandpiper; and Grasshopper, Clay-colored, Savannah, and Field Sparrows. At the March Valley Road snow dump there were a good selection of swallows plus a pair of Blue-winged Teal, 2 Dunlin, 40 Least Sandpipers, plus one each of Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, and Spotted Sandpiper. We closed along the very high Ottawa River. Shirley's Bay produced 50+ White-winged Scoters and a Bald Eagle at a nest; at Andrew Haydon Park we encountered a Common Loon and a Merlin. Thanks to the group for being persistent in less than ideal conditions, and to Bob Cermak for providing transportation and assisting me with this field trip.
May 7 2017 (Sunday) Munster-Richmond Area (Ottawa)
Leader: Colin Gaskell, Martha Burchat.
An intrepid band of birders consisting of two leaders and a troika of hardy participants (including guest Manuel Grosselet, a Mexican ornithologist and bander visiting Ottawa to promote birding tourism in Mexico) endured a +3 temperature and intermittent drizzle to record a total of 72 species. By the end of the endeavour we all wished we had been birding anywhere in Mexico! Three Upland Sandpiper, a single American Golden Plover, a lone Solitary Sandpiper and three Wilson's Snipe in aerial display were among the eight species of shorebird observed. Thicket, forest and open field habitats yielded Blue-headed Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Purple Finch, Rusty Blackbird, Broad-winged Hawk, Merlin, American Kestrel, Eastern Meadowlark, Eastern Bluebird and Bobolink. A pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsucker responded cooperatively to a vocal imitation call of Barred Owl. The vanguard of migrating warblers included typical early arrivals such as Black-and-white, Northern Waterthrush, Nashville, Yellow and Yellow-rumped. A pair of Red-necked Grebe and three Common Terns at our last stop at the Burnside Quarry rounded out the day on a satisfying note. Thanks to Remy, Mark and Manuel for their patience and enthusiasm throughout the outing. Congratulations to Manuel who can now proudly boast that he barely survived "spring" in Canada!
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.
January 14 2017 (Saturday) Ottawa Area [until Noon]
Leader: Roy John, Dave Moore.
Twenty one participants enjoyed the vagaries of Ottawa weather - it had plunged to -20C overnight - to look for the local rarities. At our first stop, some people got their first lifer - a Red-bellied Woodpecker that appeared on cue. The next half an hour was birdless until we saw a Snowy Owl, then another and then a fine white male. Persistent searching of 300 Snow Buntings got us a brief view of a Lapland Longspur. We moved to the dump and saw ZERO gulls, but met an Ohio birder who joined us in a trip to the Rideau River, where he saw two lifers - Harlequin and Barrow's Goldeneye. Overall we saw 28 species, about normal for winter Ottawa.
October 22 2016 (Saturday) Ottawa River
Leader: Tony Beck.
With strong north winds accompanied by steady horizontal rain the OFO excursion was almost cancelled. Only 2 brave people participated - Ken Ball and Tony Beck Unwilling to let the weather defeat us, we rose to the challenge and birded in the downpour. Although conditions were horrendous, we still managed to tally 35 species of birds. The highlights included an adult Bald Eagle a single Snow Goose and an extremely cooperative juvenile Red-tailed Hawk hunting along the roadside.
September 4 2016 (Sunday) Ottawa (all day to 5 pm )
Leader: Jeff Skevington.
17 of us went on the Ottawa OFO outing today. We started at 07:30 at Mud Lake and most later went on to Shirley's Bay. A few of us continued to Constance Bay to finish off the day. We had a great groups with lots of sharp eyes and in the end we saw 103 species. Highlights were 11 species of shorebirds (best were Sanderlings in 2 locations) and 19 species of warblers. Thanks to all of the participants for a fun day! eBird Checklist Summary for: Sep 4, 2016 Number of Checklists: 4 Number of Taxa: 103 Checklists included in this summary: (1): Ottawa--Britannia Conservation Area (Mud Lake) Date: Sep 4, 2016, 07:37 (2): Ottawa--Shirley's Bay (Dyke) Date: Sep 4, 2016, 11:08 (3): Ottawa area: Constance Creek at Vances Side Road Date: Sep 4, 2016, 14:58 (4): Ottawa area: Constance Bay - RHWO site Date: Sep 4, 2016, 15:16 - 40 Canada Goose -- (1),(2) - 25 Wood Duck -- (1),(2),(3) - 5 American Wigeon -- (2) - 16 American Black Duck -- (2) - 60 Mallard -- (1),(2) - 120 Blue-winged Teal -- (2) - 2 Northern Pintail -- (2) - 80 Green-winged Teal -- (2) - 12 Lesser Scaup -- (2) - 5 Hooded Merganser -- (1),(2) - 12 Common Merganser -- (1) - 3 Pied-billed Grebe -- (1) - 75 Double-crested Cormorant -- (1),(2) - 4 Great Blue Heron -- (1),(2),(3) - 6 Great Egret -- (1),(2) - 3 Green Heron -- (1) - 9 Turkey Vulture -- (1),(2) - 3 Osprey -- (1),(2) - 2 Cooper's Hawk -- (1) - 1 Bald Eagle -- (2) - 1 Black-bellied Plover -- (1) - 8 Semipalmated Plover -- (2) - 12 Killdeer -- (2) - 5 Sanderling -- (1),(2) - 33 Least Sandpiper -- (2) - 4 Pectoral Sandpiper -- (2) - 5 Semipalmated Sandpiper -- (2) - 1 Wilson's Snipe -- (2) - 4 Spotted Sandpiper -- (1),(2) - 3 Greater Yellowlegs -- (2) - 6 Lesser Yellowlegs -- (2) - 8 Bonaparte's Gull -- (1) - 304 Ring-billed Gull -- (1),(2) - 20 Herring Gull -- (1) - 4 Great Black-backed Gull -- (1) - 1 Caspian Tern -- (1) - 2 Common Tern -- (1) - 3 Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) -- (1) - 1 Mourning Dove -- (2) - 3 Ruby-throated Hummingbird -- (1),(2),(4) - 3 Belted Kingfisher -- (1),(2) - 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker -- (2) - 9 Downy Woodpecker -- (1),(2),(4) - 4 Hairy Woodpecker -- (1),(2),(4) - 10 Northern Flicker -- (1),(2),(4) - 1 Pileated Woodpecker -- (1) - 3 Merlin -- (1),(2),(3) - 1 Peregrine Falcon -- (2) - 3 Eastern Wood-Pewee -- (2),(3),(4) - 4 Eastern Phoebe -- (1) - 1 Eastern Kingbird -- (1) - 1 Blue-headed Vireo -- (1) - 1 Philadelphia Vireo -- (4) - 5 Warbling Vireo (Eastern) -- (1) v9 Red-eyed Vireo -- (1),(2),(4) - 15 Blue Jay -- (1),(2),(4) - 9 American Crow -- (1),(2),(4) - 2 Common Raven -- (1),(2) - 1 swallow sp. -- (1) - 24 Black-capped Chickadee -- (1),(2),(4) - 7 White-breasted Nuthatch (Eastern) -- (1),(2),(4) - 3 Brown Creeper -- (1),(2) - 1 House Wren -- (1) - 1 Eastern Bluebird -- (3) - 1 Veery -- (1) - 1 American Robin -- (1) - 4 Gray Catbird -- (1) - 1 Brown Thrasher -- (2) - 4 European Starling -- (1) - 4 American Pipit -- (2) - 67 Cedar Waxwing -- (1),(2) - 1 Ovenbird -- (2) - 3 Northern Waterthrush -- (1),(2) - 8 Black-and-white Warbler -- (1),(2),(4) - 6 Tennessee Warbler -- (1),(2) - 3 Nashville Warbler -- (1),(2) - 2 Common Yellowthroat -- (1),(2) - 5 American Redstart -- (1),(2) - 11 Cape May Warbler -- (1),(2) - 5 Northern Parula -- (1),(2),(4) - 5 Magnolia Warbler -- (1),(2),(4) - 3 Bay-breasted Warbler -- (1) - 5 Blackburnian Warbler -- (1),(2),(4) - 2 Yellow Warbler -- (1),(2) - 1 Chestnut-sided Warbler -- (4) - 2 Blackpoll Warbler -- (1),(2) - 3 Palm Warbler (Western) -- (2) - 52 Yellow-rumped Warbler -- (1),(2),(4) - 4 Black-throated Green Warbler -- (1),(2),(4) - 1 Wilson's Warbler -- (1) - 2 White-throated Sparrow -- (1),(2) - 1 Savannah Sparrow -- (1) - 4 Song Sparrow -- (1),(2) - 5 Swamp Sparrow -- (2),(3) - 2 Scarlet Tanager -- (1),(2) - 2 Northern Cardinal -- (1) - 3 Rose-breasted Grosbeak -- (1),(2) - 1 Red-winged Blackbird -- (1) - 1 Common Grackle -- (1) - 1 House Finch -- (1) - 1 Purple Finch -- (1) - 6 American Goldfinch -- (1),(2) - 1 House Sparrow -- (1)
June 5 2016 (Sunday) Larose Forest east of Ottawa (until noon)
Leader: Jacques Bouvier, Christine Trudeau-Brunet.
On 3 June we had 70 species in the forest but today because of moderate drizzle during the first 2 hours and a real downpour during the last hour, we managed to identify only 32 species of which 7 were warblers (14 a few days ago). The upside was that each participant benefitted from the individual attention of one leader; there were 2 leaders and 2 participants. The inclement weather scared away many would-be participants. One participant had 2 lifers, and both participants seemed to enjoy themselves immensely, particularly when enjoying killer-looks of beautiful Mourning and Cape May Warblers (males). Thanks to both participants who took the time to come out and bird in not so pleasant conditions; oh, I forgot to mention that in addition to the miserable weather we were harassed by many voracious mosquitoes during this 3-hour outing.
May 8 2016 (Sunday) Munster-Richmond Area (Ottawa)
Leader: Colin Gaskell, Dave Moore.
On a walk that would not have felt out of place in January, two leaders took four participants on a six hour jaunt around the western outskirts of Ottawa this morning, finding 58 species including five species of warbler and four species of shorebirds. The temperature at noon was all the way up to 7C with a wind chill of 1C due to the steady 30km winds from the NW. Bone chilling to say the least. Our break at Tim's was most welcome, both for the washrooms and the coffee/tea we wrapped our frozen fingers around. The highlights of the day were: - a great view of two Upland Sandpipers atop a hydro pole at the side of the Franktown Road just west of Richmond, Ontario, trying their best to remain upright while being buffeted by the winds and; - a small flock of Rusty Blackbirds with attendant Solitary Sandpipers along the Twin Elm Road. We also visited the Richmond Fen, Richmond Conservation area Several spots along the Munster Road, and the Moody Pits. Nearly 30 species less than last year but considering the conditions, we did well. Our thanks to those brave four that participated.
April 24 2016 (Sunday) Spring Waterfowl Migration East of Ottawa
Leader: Richard Killeen.
A dozen OFO members enjoyed a sunny day birding sites east of Ottawa. First up, Petrie Island, a former sand mine now conservation area. There, a short walk produced Common Loon and a woodpecker concert, culminated by an impressive Pileated drum solo. Next up, Mer Bleu, a relic bog conveniently transected by a boardwalk. Emily B got us on the target bird, a beautiful Eastern Palm Warbler. This species is an exceptionally rare breeder in Ontario with only two known breeding stations, of which Mer Bleu is one. Further on we picked up another, which entertained the group by singing from nearby Black Spruces. The cattails surrounding the bog produced two vociferous Virginia Rails which sadly declined a viewing. A flock of sparrows near the car park compensated by providing views of a leaf raking Fox Sparrow, among many soon-to-depart American Tree Sparrow. Nearby fields along Smith Road allowed distant and fleeting views of a pair of Sandhill Crane, a local breeder; better still was a large flock of Snow Geese along Frank Kenny Road, estimated at 1,500. As most of the geese were white phase, and due to the presence of some smaller birds, we assumed this flock to be mostly Greater. Our final stop was at the Giroux Road ponds which held an assortment of duck chief among which, Bufflehead and Ring-necked Duck. While in general there were few migrants, an active Great Horned Owl nest, complete with downy owlet, was a highlight for many. Many thanks to Bernie Ladoucer for co-leading and e-bird scribing.
December 5 2015 (Saturday) Ottawa River
Leader: Jon Ruddy.
A beautiful day to be out birding in the Nation's Capital. Sixteen birders met for a wonderful day of birding various sites in Ottawa: RIDEAU RIVER AT RIDEAU TENNIS CLUB: We observed a female Barrow's Goldeneye mixed in with Common Goldeneyes, enjoying a close look at its lovely pumpkin-orange bill and deep chocolate-brown head. The group were able to study the unique head shape of this species compared to the adjacent Common Goldeneyes. BATE ISLAND: Scanning the rapids and open water to the eastern side of Bate Island, we observed a male Barrow's Goldeneye resting with Common Goldeneyes. As well, we observed a female Common Goldeneye in the same group with an orange-yellow bill, showing dark only to its base (roughly 3/4 orange-yellow). With plenty of scopes set on the bird, we could see the build of its head (sloped forehead; rounded crown; lacked the swept-back crest look to its rear) was that of a Common. We also observed a female Long-tailed Duck working the rapids on the NE side of the island. MOODIE POND & RICHMOND FIELDS: Highlights include an immature Bald Eagle, 2 male Redheads, a Great Blue Heron, a lone female Ring-necked Duck and a blue morph Snow Goose. We encountered several Red-tailed Hawks and a single Snowy Owl in the Richmond area as the sun began to set. Many thanks for a great day and special thanks to Betty M. and Linda L. for returning my cellphone and cellphone charger (that had somehow remained on the roof of Linda's car for 5 bumpy, twisting km!).
October 24 2015 (Saturday) Ottawa River
Leader: Tony Beck.
22 people met at Andrew Haydon Park for a pleasant afternoon of birding. With thin overcast, a mild breeze from the southeast and mild late fall temperatures, we explored the south shore of Lac Deschenes. Viewing conditions were good, and birds were reasonably cooperative. The water levels remained relatively low exposing good shorebird habitat. Although diversity was slightly low, there was plenty to keep us entertained. We started off with a flock of 12 Black Scoter and an adult Snow Goose. The group struggled to view one Cackling Goose amongst the thousands of Canada Geese. However, we were later graced with one classic Richardson's Cackling Goose at very close range. Other highlights include 7 White-rumped Sandpipers, 8 Dunlin, 2 Horned Larks, Black-bellied Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Red-necked Grebe, Common Loon, Bald Eagle and Black-crowned Night-Heron. The evening ended with thousands of geese flying into Lac Deschenes, mainly from the west. Total Species = 34
September 6 2015 (Sunday) Ottawa (all day to 5 pm )
Leader: Jeff Skevington.
We had approximately 25 people out on today's outing in the Ottawa area and only covered two areas because of the weather. We started at Britannia (Mud Lake) where we saw 45 species, but nothing out of the ordinary. The ebird list is available [here](http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24914928). There had been little migration during the night and it was already over 20 degrees when we started at 7:30am. We left Britannia at around 9am and went directly to Shirley's Bay. Highlights at Shirley's Bay (at the dike) were Greater Scaup (1 - long staying, early), Great Egret (16 - decent number), Virginia Rail (1 - both rails have been easy to see this year), Sora (3), Stilt Sandpiper (2- juveniles, here for a few days), Long-billed Dowitcher (2 - dropped in after a rainstorm; seen by only a few of the group) and 2 earlyish Palm Warblers. The ebird list is available [here.](http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24914534) A storm came in around 11:30am after we had pretty much finished birding the area. Most people left at this point but a few of us went back out after the storm to see if anything had been grounded. The best birds of the day (the Long-billed Dowitchers) rewarded the 5 of us who returned. It was 31 degrees by the time we left the dike but 4 of us continued on for a while and had fun but did not see many more birds. Thanks to everyone who came out today. It was an unusual September day but good fun to be out nonetheless.
May 24 2015 (Sunday) Ottawa [until Noon]
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.
There were 15 participants on this year's trip that focused primarily on the western section of the Lac Deschenes IBA and nearby locations. The itinerary included Constance Creek, Constance Bay, and the Shirley's Bay boat launch, as well as the northern edge of the Carp ridge and the Torbolton Ridge; the latter two locations are just outside the IBA. Our group found 70 species at eight different stops; the lead car noted an additional 7 species while traveling between stops. Highlights included 50 Dunlin flying up Constance Creek; a very cooperative Golden-winged Warbler on the Carp Ridge; a good view of an American Bittern on the Torbolton Ridge; 2 Upland Sandpipers in the fields just south of Constance Bay; 300 Brant, 2 Redhead, and a perched Broad-winged Hawk being investigated by a Cooper's Hawk at Constance Bay; and 2 Bonaparte's Gulls and a Bald Eagle on a nest at Shirley's Bay. The weather was excellent making the morning even more enjoyable.
May 10 2015 (Sunday) Munster-Richmond Area (Ottawa)
Leader: Colin Gaskell, Dave Moore.
10 participants and 2 leaders birded the Marlborough Forest, the Franktown Road, Richmond Conservation Area and the Moodie sand pits this morning. The weather was supposed to be 30C and rain but we got dark clouds and a temperature around 17C by the end of the trip at 1:15. A nice light breeze kept the hungry black flies at bay. A pair of Black-billed Cuckoos engaged in a chase, a singing Brown Thrasher and a very nicely displaying Upland Sandpiper made up for the many birds that were easily heard but not seen. The dratted Northern Waterthrush for example. We ended up with 86 species for the trip, including 13 warbler species on a trip that wasn't really designed for warblers! SPECIES SEEN - Canada Goose - Wood Duck - Gadwall - Mallard - Northern Shoveler - Common Merganser - Ruddy Duck - Ruffed Grouse - Pied-billed Grebe - Double-crested Cormorant - American Bittern - Great Blue Heron - Green Heron - Turkey Vulture - Osprey - Northern Harrier - Red-tailed Hawk - Virginia Rail - Killdeer - Spotted Sandpiper - Upland Sandpiper - Wilson's Snipe - Ring-billed Gull - Black Tern - Common Tern - Rock Pigeon - Mourning Dove - Black-billed Cuckoo - Chimney Swift - Belted Kingfisher - Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - Downy Woodpecker - Hairy Woodpecker - Northern Flicker - American Kestrel - Alder Flycatcher - Least Flycatcher - Eastern Phoebe - Great Crested Flycatcher - Eastern Kingbird - Warbling Vireo - Blue Jay - American Crow - Common Raven - Tree Swallow - Bank Swallow - Barn Swallow - Black-capped Chickadee - White-breasted Nuthatch - House Wren - Veery - Wood Thrush - American Robin - Gray Catbird - Brown Thrasher - European Starling - Northern Waterthrush - Black-and-white Warbler - Tennessee Warbler - Nashville Warbler - Common Yellowthroat - American Redstart - Magnolia Warbler - Bay-breasted Warbler - Yellow Warbler - Chestnut-sided Warbler - Blackpoll Warbler - Palm Warbler - Yellow-rumped Warbler - Chipping Sparrow - Field Sparrow - Savannah Sparrow - Song Sparrow - Swamp Sparrow - White-throated Sparrow - White-crowned Sparrow - Northern Cardinal - Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Red-winged Blackbird - Eastern Meadowlark - Common Grackle - Brown-headed Cowbird - Baltimore Oriole - Purple Finch - American Goldfinch - House Sparrow
March 29 2015 (Sunday) Spring Waterfowl Migration East of Ottawa
Leader: Bob Cermak.
The original plan for this trip was to search for migrating geese, ducks, Sandhill Cranes, raptors and other early spring migrants. Spring is struggling to arrive in Ottawa, we continue to have well below average temperatures. At 8 am the temperature was -9 with a windchill of -16. Since there is virtually no open water and no flooded fields there are very few migrating ducks, extremely few geese and no Sandhill Cranes that I know of so we abandoned the plan to search east of Ottawa for those species. We birded the limited open water of the Ottawa River from Bate Island and Parc Brebeuf. Along with the expected over wintering ducks and expected recently arrived gulls were a pair of Hooded Merganser, 4 Bufflehead and a few dozen Canada Geese. At the Hilda Rd feeders the only spring arrivals were a few Red-winged Blackbirds. March Valley Rd was a little more productive with one of the resident adult Bald Eagles, a single Cedar Waxwing with a small flock of Bohemian Waxwings, single Red-tailed Hawk and Turkey Vulture and a couple of American Robins. Along 6th Line Rd we saw a Northern Goshawk and a sub adult Bald Eagle. With the birders at the Greenland Rd hawk watch we saw a number of distant raptor species including a female Northern Harrier and a Red-shouldered Hawk soaring high overhead. An outing that was not exactly as advertised but 12 birders enjoyed the 34 species we found.
January 17 2015 (Saturday) Ottawa Area [until Noon]
Leader: Roy John, Bev McBride.
Seven people enjoyed a cheerful, bright day birding around Ottawa at 23 C. We saw 26 species with Greater Scaup and White-throated Sparrow being the only unusual birds for the winter. We also saw four species of mammal, including a Coyote. The stars of the day were a stunning white male and lightly barred female adult Snowy Owls who played tag on a line of power poles, with the female pushing the poor male off each time. We saw four Snowies in total.
October 25 2014 (Saturday) Ottawa River
Leader: Nina Stavlund, Tony Beck.
Under overcast skies and persistent drizzle,12 adventurous birders came together for an afternoon exploration of the Ottawa River. With the river's high water level, bird activity seemed very slow. There was no shorebird habitat, and waterfowl were hiding in sheltered bays. Regardless, we tallied a total of 37 species.
We started at Andrew Haydon Park. A trip highlight here was getting extremely close to a juvenile American Brant. At Shirley's Bay Boat Launch, we found a Red-necked Grebe and White-winged Scoter at a distance, Walking around the scrub at Hilda Road we observed an incomplete albino American Robin with small numbers of American Tree Sparrows and Juncos. The sun began to break through the clouds by 4:30pm. That's when we reached the Moodie Drive Quarry Pond. Here among the thousands of Canada Geese, we found 5 Snow Geese, 2 Cackling Geese, 1 Am Coot, 1 Redhead, many Ring-necked Ducks and Ruddy Ducks.
- Snow Goose
- Canada Goose
- Cackling Goose
- American Brant
- American Black Duck
- Green-winged Teal
- Ring-necked Duck
- Lesser Scaup
- White-winged Scoter
- Common Goldeneye
- Hooded Merganser
- Common Merganser
- Red-breasted Merganser
- Red-necked Grebe
- Double-crested Cormorant
- Great Blue Heron
- Red-tailed Hawk
- American Coot
- Ring-billed Gull
- Herring Gull
- Great Black-backed Gull
- Mourning Dove
- Downy Woodpecker
- Hairy Woodpecker
- Blue Jay
- American Crow
- Common Raven
- Black-capped Chickadee
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- American Robin
- European Starling
- American Tree Sparrow
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Northern Cardinal
- Red-winged Blackbird
September 7 2014 (Sunday) Ottawa (all day to 5 pm )
Leader: Jeff Skevington.
27 of us went out birding for the day around Ottawa. We started at Britannia/Mud Lake before going out to Shirley's Bay, then on to the sod farms near the intersection of Boundary/French Settlement Roads, and finally back to Britannia to finish the day. We saw 83 species in total.
The highlight of the day was a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Mud Lake late this afternoon that was found earlier in the day by Richard Waters (at the southeast corner of Mud Lake). It required a real group effort but in the end, everyone remaining on the hike got great looks. Thanks to Paul Legasi and Rick Poulin for refinding the bird and getting us over to it.
Other highlights were: Olive-sided Flycatcher (Britannia Filtration Plant), Bairds Sandpiper (2 - sod farms), American Golden Plover (21 - sod farms), and a decent-for-Ottawa raptor migration at Shirleys Bay (38 Broad-winged Hawks, 2 Osprey, 1 Northern Harrier, 3 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 3 Bald Eagles, 2 Red-tailed Hawks). We had 14 species of warblers including some decent flocks at Mud Lake first thing in the morning.
Thanks to everyone who came for a fun day! I have shared ebird lists for the day with those who gave me their contact details. If I missed anyone, please send me an email and I will share them with you.
May 25 2014 (Sunday) Ottawa [until Noon]
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.
Twenty-seven people attended a half day trip to explore three areas of the Lac Deschênes IBA in Ottawa. (Lac Deschênes is essentially a widening of Ottawa River.)
Our first stop was the 'Nortel' marshes which we accessed by walking 500 m west along the Trans Canada trail/bike path that starts at Corkstown Road just west Moodie Drive (the entrance into the marshes is on the north side of the path). Here we hoped to find Willow Flycatcher, Marsh Wren, rails, and possibly Least Bittern. No luck with rails or Least Bittern but one of our scouts, Kim Zbitnew, discovered three Sedge Wrens in the wet grassy area 200 m to the east of the entrance off the bike path. All were able to hear at least one of the wrens and some were able to see it perched low in a bush. House Wren, Wilson's Warbler, and Green Heron were among the other species making an appearance.
Our next stop was the Britannia Conservation Area (Mud Lake). A Black-crowned Night Heron and a dozen species of warbler were among the birds we found there.
Our last stop was Britannia pier. Would this be the year we see Arctic Tern on an OFO field trip?
A Purple Sandpiper had been photographed the evening before and a Little Gull had been seen earlier that morning. We saw neither but we did have 2 Bonaparte's Gulls and 2 Common Terns. It appeared that we would have to be satisfied with that until one of our participants shouted 'Terns!' They were terns alright. Arctic Terns! At least 44 of them! They flew up river and then turned back down river mingling a bit with some Ring-billed Gulls, just above the Deschênes Rapids. Then they headed back down river and toward us, some landing with the 2 Common Terns that were sitting on floating sticks out on the river (or lake, if you insist). Then they lifted off and continued up river, leaving the 2 Common Terns to themselves.
What a finish! The trip ended informally and most of the participants had left when other members of Ottawa birding community started to show up. The 44 had left but, fortunately, 2 more Arctic Terns would be spotted making their way up river.
My thanks to Bob Cermak for driving and assisting me. In all we had about 71 species. The following is mainly the leader's recollection of the species and numbers observed
Canada Goose 25, Mallard 12, Lesser Scaup 2, Common Goldeneye 6, Red-necked Grebe 1, Double-crested Cormorant 11, Great Egret 3, Green Heron 1, Black-crowned Night-Heron 2, Turkey Vulture 1, Red-tailed Hawk 2, Spotted Sandpiper 4, Wilson's Snipe 2, Bonaparte's Gull 2, Ring-billed Gull 300, Common Tern 2, Arctic Tern 46, Mourning Dove 2, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1, Downy Woodpecker 1, Hairy Woodpecker 1, Northern Flicker 2, Pileated Woodpecker 1, Willow Flycatcher 5, Great Crested Flycatcher 5, Eastern Kingbird 4, Warbling Vireo 11, Red-eyed Vireo 8, Blue Jay 1, American Crow 3, Purple Martin 1, Tree Swallow 7, Barn Swallow 1, Red-breasted Nuthatch 1, White-breasted Nuthatch 1, House Wren 1 Sedge Wren 3, Marsh Wren 3, Swainson's Thrush 1, American Robin 2, Gray Catbird 4, Brown Thrasher 2, European Starling 4, Cedar Waxwing 30, Black-and-white Warbler 2, Tennessee Warbler 1, Mourning Warbler 1, Common Yellowthroat 6, American Redstart 17, Cape May Warbler 1, Magnolia Warbler 1, Bay-breasted Warbler 1, Blackburnian Warbler 2, Yellow Warbler 26, Chestnut-sided Warbler 1, Blackpoll Warbler 2, Pine Warbler 1, Wilson's Warbler 2, Chipping Sparrow 1, Savannah Sparrow 3, Song Sparrow 9, Swamp Sparrow 5, Northern Cardinal 2, Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1, Bobolink 5, Red-winged Blackbird 35, Common Grackle 2, Brown-headed Cowbird 3, Baltimore Oriole 8, House Finch 1, American Goldfinch 3.
April 13 2014 (Sunday) Spring Waterfowl Migration East of Ottawa
Leader: Bob Cermak.
Sunday morning, April 13th, 17 OFO members found 55 species east of Ottawa at the Petrie Island causeway and bridge and on the flooded fields along Trim, Milton and Frank Kenney Roads.The day was very cold, 2 C and windy with the wind chill well below freezing and light rain until mid morning.
Snow (2), Cackling (10 including one group of 9) and over 1000 Canada Geese were found. Fourteen duck species were found the most interesting being American Wigeon (1 m), Blue-winged Teal (1 m), Northern Pintail (500+), Redhead (pair), Lesser Scaup (14), and Bufflehead (27). Also found were Pied-billed Grebe (2). The highlights of the day for many were single Great Egret and Greater Yellowlegs, Sandhill Crane (15), Lapland Longspur (2 calling) and Tree Swallow (45+).
January 19 2014 (Sunday) Ottawa Area [until Noon]
Leader: Bev McBride, Roy John.
Thirty-eight resilient birders faced -5 C temperatures with a really nasty wind that made it seem much colder, and many snow flurries obscuring our view, to see 29 species of bird. Ottawa has not been bird friendly this winter so the going was tough, with even common birds hard to find. That said we had a good day with the highlights being Barrow's Goldeneye (2 m 1 f), Snowy Owl (4), Glaucous Gull, Northern Shrike and a flock of 30 Cedar Waxwings in a "cedar"! (Juniperus sp., ornamental). This species is usually scarce in Ottawa in winter. We also saw two gatherings of wind-blown Snow Buntings, probably about 100 in total.
We started off at Bate Island where the Ottawa River is open, and continued along the river to the Hilda Ave. feeders near Shirley's Bay, then March Valley Road and then south along Moodie Dr. to the Richmond area, visiting the Trail Rd. landfill site en route.
Thanks to all who came out!
October 26 2013 (Saturday) Ottawa River
Leader: Mark Gawn.
It was windy. It was grey. And it was rainy. In late October this combination can mean good birds to be had, and it was for this reason that a small band of ten intrepid birders set out this afternoon to check out likely sites along the Ottawa River to the west of Ottawa. The usual late October ducks were seen, including nice looks at all three scoter species, a flock of 23 Long-tailed Duck, and a baker's dozen Red-necked and Horned Grebe. The highlight for many was a large flock of Snow Buntings, which enveloped the group at Shirley's Bay, a veritable snow globe of buntings; although watching a Great Black-backed Gull mercilessly harass a White-winged Scoter (it got away) was pretty exciting too. It was a gratifying statement of the times that a close flyby Peregrine, and a perched Bald Eagle, went largely unremarked. We finished up at the ponds on Moodie Drive, where among the large numbers of geese coming in to roost we were able to pick out three Cackling and six Snows, in combination with two brant seen earlier making for a "4 Goose" day.
September 8 2013 (Sunday) Ottawa (all day to 5 pm )
Leader: Jeff Skevington.
About 45 of us had a fun day birding in the Ottawa area. We visited 6 sites and saw 92 species of birds. Highlights were 5 species of herons, 9 species of hawks, 4 species of vireos, and 18 species of warblers. Shorebirds were a bit sparse (7 species) but the rather intense warbler flocks at Mud Lake made up for the lack of waders. There was no individual bird species that stood out for me, but the warblers were a lot of fun. Cape May Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Philadelphia Vireo were lifers for some of the trip members. A pair of young juvenile Common Gallinules in the Carp River floodplain were a surprise for me. American Bittern and Green Heron at this location were also a treat to see. Thanks to Dave Milsom for organizing these fun trips. It is always great to get out for some birding and social time!
January 20 2013 (Sunday) Ottawa Area [until Noon]
Leader: David Britton.
I was joined by about a dozen dedicated birders this morning for the annual January OFO Ottawa trip. A snowfall overnight had left the roads in poor shape and the snow continued for most of the morning impacting visibility. Nevertheless we had some good birds. We started in the eastern environs of Ottawa where we had very good looks at 3 GREAT GRAY OWLS. The same area also had at least one NORTHERN SHRIKE. On the way out to Highway 174, near the Montreal Road exit some of the group saw a BARRED OWL perched low in a roadside tree while others had a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK in a nearby treetop. We searched in vain from Gray Partridge on Giroux Road northeast of Navan, but they weren't being cooperative today and had to settle for a cooperative flock of SNOW BUNTINGS. We finished up on Bate Island in the Ottawa River. Unfortunately neither the Harlequin Duck nor Barrow's Goldeneyes could be found so we had to settle for a male BUFFLEHEAD (rare in Ottawa in winter) amongst the COMMON GOLDENEYES. Thanks to everyone who participated!
May 27 2012 (Sunday) May 27 2012 (Sunday) Ottawa [until Noon]
There were 10 participants for what turned out to be a very pleasant half day birding in Ottawa's west end.
The Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre parking lot was the initial gathering place. While we were gathering, a pair of American Crows was giving chase to a Common Raven and both a Common Loon and a Great Blue Heron flew over.
The first stop was along the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway at Constance Creek. We spent half an hour looking for marsh birds. In particular we were hoping to hear or see a Least Bittern found the week before. One participant was lucky enough to have it fly through the view of his scope - no luck for the rest of us. But we observed a pair of nesting Ospreys, several Common Gallinules, a few Virginia Rails, one Black-crowned Night Heron, a Hooded Merganser, a couple of Wilson's snipe, and a pair of Common Terns. Several woodland species could be heard in the distance including Veery and a drumming Pileated woodpecker.
We headed southwest along the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway. A stop at another wetland immediately yielded three Green Herons and a persistently calling Virginia Rail. We then turned northeast onto Stonecrest Road and stopped where the small woodlot to our right ends. Here we had an aurally cooperative but visually uncooperative Golden-winged Warbler (at least it sounded like one!). Back to the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway we drove up onto the Carp Ridge, hoping for Eastern Towhee. It was unusually quiet; no towhee, but there were a few birds to keep us entertained.
At our rest stop at Woodlawn, we saw about 300 Brant heading north. From there we headed southwest on Kinburn Side Road and then turned northeast onto Torbolton Ridge Road and drove toward an area where we have had Sedge Wrens in the past (about 200m northeast of the railway tracks). About 400 meters before (southeast of) the railway tracks we encountered an interesting song: a series of four trills that had the quality of a Clay-colored Sparrow. We could only locate what appeared to be a pair of Chipping Sparrows, but one had less intense red on the cap and an ill-defined stripe through the crown (another visit is required!). Beyond the railway tracks, we had no luck with the wren (it hasn't been observed this year), but there were two American Bitterns, a Wilson's Snipe, Alder Flycatchers, Nashville Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and a calling Red-shouldered Hawk.
Then it was off to Constance Bay to search for Red-headed Woodpecker. En route we had two Northern Harriers and two American Kestrels (seen by the lead car only - apparently, kestrels have an aversion to one particular individual in our group). No luck with the woodpecker, so we headed to the Ottawa River. Two stops at Constance Bay yielded three Common Loons and four Common Terns. Shirley's Bay had more Common Terns, a dozen Black-bellied Plovers, and the Bald Eagle nest. Finally, Britannia had a couple of more Common Terns (alas, no Arctic Terns), a few dozen Bonaparte's Gulls, and a Great Egret.
All in all, a very enjoyable trip with about 85 species observed.
October 28 2011 (Friday) Ottawa River
Leader: Tony Beck
On Friday afternoon, twenty enthusiastic birders gathered at Andrew Haydon Park for OFO’s “Dusk Birding along the Ottawa River”. After a spectacular week of stellar birding, mainly east of the Deschenes Rapids, expectations were high that the river would continue to reveal mega‐rarities. We stayed mainly along the shores of the western side of Lac Deschenes. However, a cold west wind and high water levels made viewing conditions bitter and challenging resulting in low diversity. Regardless, everyone had an excellent time, often getting close‐up views of uncommon species. Those that stayed to the end were treated to an enchanting show of large flocks arriving for their evening roost, their aerobatic flights draped against a clear vermillion sky. Other highlights included a juvenile Brant, a female Northern Shoveler, 2 juvenile Greater Snow Geese, 11 Red‐necked Grebes, all three species of scoter, and several individuals & small flocks of Long‐tailed Ducks. For photographers, one very accommodating Long‐tailed Duck, and a cooperative Wilson’s Snipe, provided some pleasant diversion.
September 10 2011 (Saturday) Ottawa (all day to 5 pm )
Leader: Jeff Skevington.
Today was noticeably slower than the last couple of days but our group of about 15 people still managed to muster up 90 species on our outing. Highlights were 2 Sanderling near the filtration plant at Britannia, a Red‐necked Phalarope at Ottawa Beach, a great migrant passerine flock that included an Orange‐crowned Warbler, Philadelphia Vireo and House Wren, 8 White‐rumped Sandpipers and 3 Bald Eagles at Shirley’s Bay, and 1 Ruddy Turnstone, 1 White‐rumped Sandpiper and 3 Ring‐necked Ducks at Casselman Lagoons.
Note that they have now flooded the formerly empty cell and Casselman is no longer very good for waders. We had only about 50 individuals of 8 species of shorebirds along the remaining mud fringe. We also stopped at Embrun Lagoons and all cells were very high. The only birds of interest were 4 Common Gallinules and a very late nesting Ruddy Duck with 4 small young.
May 29 2011 (Sunday) Ottawa
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.
There were 17 participants on our exploration of some of Ottawa’s prime west end birding spots. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t prime: it was both not very good and not bad enough.
The first stop was along the Carp Ridge to look for Golden‐winged Warbler and Eastern Towhee. On the way we had three Turkey Vultures feeding on the side of the road. We failed to get the warbler but the towhee made up for it, singing for several minutes at the top of pine for all to view through the scope.
Then it was off to Torbolton Ridge Road for Sedge Wren. It was right in the open when we arrived. Unfortunately, not everyone arrived in time for that great view; however, most of us were able to get several very quick looks as it tantalized us for about 20 minutes. Actually, the best view of it was probably a photo of it in flight taken by one of our group. Also present were a very vocal Virginia Rail, a Wilson’s Warbler, a Black‐billed Cuckoo, and two cooperative Wilson’s Snipe.
It was off to Constance Bay to search for the two “red” woodpeckers. On the way we had Northern Harrier and American Kestrel. The showers were supposed to end by 10 am, but that was when the rain really started, putting a damper on our woodpecker search.
We switched strategies and checked a few spots along the Ottawa River. We had five Common Loons at four different spots, including Britannia, which also had a Common Tern and several Bonaparte’s Gulls. Two distant terns refused to fly–one was sitting where an Arctic Tern had been sitting the day before.
Overall, despite our mixed luck, it was an enjoyable morning with about 80 species observed.
April 3 2011 (Sunday) Spring Waterfowl Migration East of Ottawa
Leader: Bob Cermak.
The April 3rd (Sunday) OFO field trip for spring migration waterfowl on migration was very successful given the almost complete lack of flooding east of Ottawa. Twenty five hardy souls (in 12 cars) coped with the early start and braved the cold winds.
The highlights were four Geese species; Canada, Cackling, Snow and Greater White‐fronted. Gray Partridge and a Redhead Duck were also seen.
We started off at the Petrie Island causeway, which is usually good for waterfowl but, given the late winter we have had, was frozen solid. Not good for waterfowl! Milton road had lots of Canada Geese and several flocks of Greater Snow Geese. We were able to locate at least two Sandhill Cranes but they were extremely distant and only visible when they stopped feeding to lift their heads. At the Shaws Creek bridge on Frank Kenny we heard Snow Buntings, some people saw a pair of Gray Partridge (great spotting Colin) and one person saw a Pied‐billed Grebe. The Cobb’s Creek lowlands east of Bourget had virtually no flooding so, other than Northern Pintails, ducks were hard to come by. We were able to find one male Redhead Duck and a Wood Duck among the Canada Geese and a few Mallards and American Black Ducks. We had a Northern Harrier and flocks of Snow Geese overhead. We found an elusive Cackling Goose then were were delighted when a Greater White‐fronted Goose flew in with some Canada’s and landed within scope view. We made a stop at the east end of Larose forest and managed to see one of the Evening Grosbeaks that were calling in the area. We had nothing other than Canada Geese on the South Nation river after a visit to the St. Albert cheese outlet.
We had a total of 45 species, including an early Great‐blue Heron, Ring‐necked Ducks and Common Merganser. We also saw Red‐tailed Hawk, American Kestrel and Turkey Vulture.
Thanks to all who attended and special thanks to Bernie, Colin, Kim and Jack who helped make this outing successful.
January 22 2011 (Saturday) Ottawa Area [until Noon]
Leader: Mark Gawn (assisted by Bob Cermak).
Ignoring frostbite warnings, more than 30 hardy souls gathered Saturday for a winter's day sub‐zero birding in the Ottawa area. On the itinerary: fields and feeders. With few birds in the bush most activity is strongly concentrated around bird feeders, so a route was plotted to visit feeders that could conveniently be viewed from the roadside. The usual assortment of winter birds were apparent, including good numbers of Common Redpolls. At one feeder, several participants were able to get good enough views to confirm an arboreal “exilipes” Hoary Redpoll. Roadside stops in the South March area yielded two adult Bald Eagles, an amusing flock of Bohemian Waxwings, and Northern Shrike. A hoped for Red‐bellied Woodpecker, one of several wintering in the Ottawa area this winter, eluded the group, but a flyby Pileated was well seen by many. Open fields in the Kinburn and Richmond area yielded Horned Lark, Snow Bunting and cracking views of Lapland Longspur, the latter locally more common than usual this winter. A covey of Grey Partridge staked out the day before had left the area, a tell tale set of (human) tracks in the snow suggesting that they had been flushed by a thoughtless observer/photographer. The final stop of the day, the Trail Road dump, produced, wait for it, two (two!) gulls, both adult Great Black‐backed. It's been a cold winter. Somewhat unexpectedly the group totalled eight Red‐tailed Hawks, seen in ones and twos throughout the day. In total 27 species were seen, less than one species per participant! Thank you to Bob Cermak and Jen Spallin for their assistance and to Jeff Skivington for putting up with a host of birders peering into his front yard!
October 29 2010 (Friday) Ottawa River
Leader: Tony Beck.
Brisk 20 kilometre winds from the northwest couldn't stop 12 hardy birders from enjoying an afternoon of birding along the Ottawa River. Seven degree Celsius temperatures, and a nasty windchill, made this feel more like a Christmas Count–NOT the southern Cave Swallow weather we were hoping for.
We started at Andrew Haydon Park East moving quickly to the western side, avoiding a group of windsurfers. The park seemed surprisingly slow until we heard a flyover of Bohemian Waxwings. We watched the flock of about 80 birds disappear over a row of spruce. The choppy river white‐caps made it difficult to observe things on the water. However, 3 American Coots, still uncommon in these parts, provided some excitement.
Anticipating northern birds, we ventured out to Dick Bell Park. As we started along the breakwater, seven Snow Buntings landed among the nearby rocks giving everyone excellent views. A mixed flock of Mallards and Northern Pintails flew by. An American Pipit also flew overhead. Plus several more‐common species were observed here. Upon our return, a very tame Snow Bunting posed for photos.
Our next stop was Shirley's Bay where we observed at least 7 Red‐necked Grebes, and one Horned Grebe. A young light morph Rough‐legged Hawk put in a great performance as it flew by the boat launch. At the Hilde Road feeders, we had 2 male Northern Cardinals, and a host of common species. The highlight was a cooperative adult Northern Shrike.
With winds persisting, we headed back to Andrew Haydon Park. Those that stuck around to the end enjoyed a few thousand Canada Geese coming in to roost.
Compared to years past, the bird diversity and overall numbers are low along this part of the river. The high winds and low temperatures also made for difficult birding. Regardless, we had a few highlights, some participants got life‐birds, and we had a lot of fun.
May 30 2010 (Sunday) Ottawa (until noon)
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.
Fourteen birders turned up to search for some of west‐end Ottawa’s breeding bird specialties and to catch what movement there was along the Ottawa River. The entire morning was overcast, not so great for breeding birds but not bad for bird movement.
We made a quick stop at the west end of Andrew Haydon Park along the Ottawa River, where we searched in vain for a Red Knot that had been reported the nigh before. We had a single Dunlin, a Semipalmated Plover and 2 Semipalmated Sandpipers.
From there it was off to the DunAmerican Robin area. Our first stop was at Constance Creek along the Thomas Dolan Parkway, just north of the DunAmerican Robin road. Highlights were Least Bittern, American Bittern, Virginia Rail and Common Moorhen (all heard only).
Next we drove south along the Thomas Dolan Parkway up onto the Carp Ridge, an outcrop of the Canadian Shield. The ridge is the only location for breeding Golden‐winged Warblers on the Ontario side of the Ottawa‐Gatineau region, and by far the most dependable area for Eastern Towhee in the entire region.
We stopped for Golden‐winged Warbler first. One bird sang persistently but just didn‐t want show itself, except for the quickest views in flight.
We had better luck with the towhees, with most participants getting a pretty good look at a male. A few people also managed to get a look at a Field Sparrow. A number of other breeding species were noted, but the morning was definitely quieter than usual.
We headed for Constance Bay. On our way, we made a stop along Dunrobin road, just before the Constance Bay exit. Here we had excellent views Eastern Meadowlark and Bobolink, and pretty good looks at 2 Upland Sandpipers.
We then headed to a small burnt area in Constance Bay for what may be the last Red‐headed Woodpeckers in the entire Ottawa‐Gatineau region. With a lot of patience, we were rewarded with an excellent look at a Red‐headed Woodpecker, a lifer for two of the participants. Nearby, we found a male Common Golden‐eye along the Ottawa River.
We headed back to the west end of Andrew Haydon Park. The highlight was a Caspian Tern, rare in Ottawa. Also putting in an appearance were a Black‐crowned Night‐Heron, a Common Merganser and a Hooded Merganser.
Our final stop was Britannia Point to look at the action over the Deschênes Rapids. There were about 15 Bonaparte’s Gulls and 7 Ruddy Turnstones, which landed on the exposed rocks in the rapids. This was in addition to the hundreds of nesting Ring‐billed Gulls, a number of Double‐crested Cormorants and a Black‐crowned Night‐Heron, two species that have only recently begun to breed in the area. (No Arctic Terns this time, but the next few days look promising.)
Our final tally was 77 species.
April 17 2010 (Saturday) Spring Waterfowl Migration East of Ottawa
Leader: Bob Cermak.
Twenty two hardy birders participated in the OFO east Ottawa spring waterfowl migration field trip yesterday, 17 April. Despite early morning cold and rain we had an enjoyable time travelling a total of 120 kilometres to find 60 bird species including 11 waterfowl species and Sandhill Cranes. The cranes (7) were distant and partially hidden but they could be heard trumpeting and were seen dancing and jumping.
Thanks to everyone who attended. We had a great time.
January 23 2010 Ottawa Area
Leader: David Britton.
A group of about 25 birders met in Ottawa this morning for the annual OFO January winter field trip. It was a beautiful mid‐winter morning–sunny and almost windless, if a bit cold first thing. While winter birding has been a bit slow in the Ottawa area this winter with a dearth of owls and finches, we had a very enjoyable morning and saw 29 species, including a number of the regional specialties.
We began the trip along Maple Grove Road in Kanata, where we quickly found 3 GRAY PARTRIDGE coveyed up underneath the pines at the City of Ottawa public works yard. Heading south from there along Huntmar Drive, some of the group members spotted a NORTHERN SHRIKE. Our next stop was a storm water management pond off of Iber Road in the Goulbourn Industrial Mall, where the combination of a little bit of open water and a nearby backyard birdfeeder has concentrated ducks including 4 CANADA GEESE and a male WOOD DUCK (unusual in winter in Ottawa).
We headed south through the agricultural lands between Ottawa and Richmond, adding a few SNOW BUNTINGS and a darkly‐barred SNOWY OWL. Along Akins Road we also had another small group of GRAY PARTRIDGE running about between rows of corn stubble in the fields.
At the frozen Moodie Drive quarry ponds we found a group of 100+ gulls loafing on the ice. The presence of a coyote on the ice nearby made the gulls skittish, but we still got great scope looks at the birds, which were unusually close to the gate. The group was composed mainly of GREAT BLACK‐BACKED and HERRING GULLS, but there were a few adult and juvenile GLAUCOUS GULLS and at least 1 juvenile ICELAND GULL. A couple of RED‐TAILED HAWKS were present in the area, as well as a single light morph ROUGH‐LEGGED HAWK.
We moved on to the Jack Pine Trail feeders where amongst the usual suspects we had good looks at an obliging BROWN CREEPER and a close encounter with an 8‐point buck White‐tailed Deer. At the Hilda Road feeders we added AMERICAN GOLDFINCH and AMERICAN TREE SPARROW.
It was already noon, but a few of the group decided to continue on to Remic Rapids. Unfortunately, the Peregrine Falcon that I had seen perched on the nearby R.H. Coates building early that morning hadn’t stuck around, but a male BARROW’S GOLDENEYE was quickly found amongs the COMMON GOLDENEYE off of the lookout and provided great views.
5 September 2009 Ottawa (all day to 5 p.m.)
Leader: Jeff Skevington.
Today’s OFO outing in the Ottawa area went well. 22 people participated over the course of the day. The weather was a bit too nice for birding (sunny and at least 24 degrees), but it was great to be out. We started our day at Mud Lake (Britannia) where there were several small flocks of warblers–we ended up with 18 species of warblers today. We then went to Andrew Haydon Park and had great looks at a Solitary Sandpiper (with a Northern Waterthrush running on the mud in the same field of view), a Green Heron and the Brant that has been around all summer. At Shirley’s Bay we walked to the end of the dike. The highlights were a Palm Warbler and good views of a Blackpoll Warbler (one of several seen). We then headed further west, stopping along March Valley Road and Berry Side Road. At the latter we had a small family of Ruffed Grouse together with a Snowshoe Hare. A pair of American Kestrels were in their usual place as we drove over to Constance Creek (off Thomas Dolan Road) and to our final spot, the Bill Mason Centre (near DunAmerican Robin). The highlight along the Bill Mason Centre trail was a Philadelphia Vireo.
A summary of the day’s list (via ebird) is below:
Observation date: 9/5/09,
Number of species: 86
Brant 1, Canada Goose 70, Wood Duck 10, Gadwall 2, American Wigeon 8, American Black Duck 4, Mallard 50, Blue‐winged Teal 10, Green‐winged Teal 8, Hooded Merganser 2, Ruffed Grouse 4, Wild Turkey 3, Pied‐billed Grebe 2, Double‐crested Cormorant 140, Great Blue Heron 5, Turkey Vulture 6, Osprey 5, Bald Eagle 1, Northern Harrier 1, Sharp‐shinned Hawk 1, Cooper’s Hawk 3, Red‐tailed Hawk 1, American Kestrel 2, Merlin 2, Killdeer 1, Spotted Sandpiper 2, Solitary Sandpiper 1, Lesser Yellowlegs 1, Wilson's Snipe 1, Ring‐billed Gull 100, Herring Gull 45, Great Black‐backed Gull 30, Rock Pigeon 1, Mourning Dove 2, Ruby‐throated Hummingbird 1, Belted Kingfisher 5, Yellow‐bellied Sapsucker 3, Downy Woodpecker 2, Hairy Woodpecker 1, Northern Flicker (Yellow‐shafted) 4, Pileated Woodpecker 4, Eastern Wood‐Pewee 1, Least Flycatcher 1, Eastern Phoebe 6, Blue‐headed Vireo 2, Warbling Vireo 6, Philadelphia Vireo 1, Red‐eyed Vireo 7, Blue Jay 8, American Crow 30, Common Raven 4, Barn Swallow 1, Black‐capped Chickadee 20, White‐breasted Nuthatch 4, Brown Creeper 1, American Robin 4, Gray Catbird 3, European Starling 8, Cedar Waxwing 25, Nashville Warbler 14, Northern Parula 2, Chestnut‐sided Warbler 3, Magnolia Warbler 4, Black‐throated Blue Warbler 3, Yellow‐rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 20, Black‐throated Green Warbler 8, Blackburnian Warbler 1, Pine Warbler 2, Palm Warbler 1, Bay‐breasted Warbler 4, Blackpoll Warbler 5, Black‐and‐white Warbler 1, American Redstart 4, Ovenbird 2, Northern Waterthrush 2, Common Yellowthroat 3, Wilson’s Warbler 2, Scarlet Tanager 2, Chipping Sparrow 12, Song Sparrow 4, Swamp Sparrow 3, White‐throated Sparrow 8, Northern Cardinal 1, Rose‐breasted Grosbeak 8, Common Grackle 2, American Goldfinch 6
Thanks to all who came out today!
31 May 2009 Ottawa (until Noon)
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.
Windy conditions and unseasonably cold temperatures didn’t freeze out the enthusiasm of about twenty participants as they explored several locations west of Ottawa. We started by sending two scouts to look for terns at Britannia Point. None appeared to be present, so we headed directly to the Carp Hills, a 10km by 3 km outcrop of the Canadian Shield, rich in breeding species. The main targets were Golden‐winged Warbler and Eastern Towhee.
We made a brief stop at marsh just below the ridge and noted a Green Heron and a calling Virginia Rail.
Once on the ridge, we managed to locate three Golden‐winged Warblers at two locations. Only one of the birds sang persistently, and from a location well back from the road. The group exercised great patience and were rewarded when the bird flew to a bare tree from which it sang for over 10 minutes. Everyone was afforded excellent looks through telescopes.
The towhees were not so cooperative, but again with patience the entire group was able hear at least one singing male.
Other highlights included a Black‐billed Cuckoo, Alder Flycatchers, Field Sparrows and Ruffed Grouse. However, for the most part song was very subdued.
We left the Carp Ridge and made a rest stop at the Baxter Centre near Dunrobin. Most participants (who weren't otherwise occupied!) got to see a Willow Flycatcher uttering its “wit” call.
Next stop was at a marsh on Stonecrest Road. The wind made it difficult to hear anything so we headed for Almonte. En route, on Stonecrest Road was a pair of Red‐shouldered Hawks being mobbed by crows. The people at the front and the back of the convoy had great views; the people in the middle, not as great.
Before we entered Almonte, we made a brief stop at the Almont Burntlands. Here most of us were able to hear a Clay‐colored Sparrow and see Wild Turkey, Brown Thrasher and Northern Rough‐winged Swallow.
Our final stop was the Almonte sewage lagoons, where 300 shorebirds had been present the previous week. This day, there were only six species and the birds were distant. A few of us managed to locate a White‐rumped Sandpiper.
The good news is we exited the lagoons just before the rain started; the bad news is we didn't return to Britannia Point where two Arctic Terns had put in an appearance later in the morning. That’s birding–but I hope it is some consolation that these birds were spending their time on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River.
Some bad luck and the weather aside, it wasn’t a bad a day: the leader recorded close to 90 species and group had a good time and found some good birds.
18 April 2009 Spring Waterfowl Migration East of Ottawa
Leader: Bob Cermak.
Today’s OFO field trip for spring waterfowl migrants east of Ottawa was thoroughly enjoyed by the 15 participants. Highlights of the 50 species seen were Ross's Goose (adult on Milton road), Snow Goose, American Bittern (2 west of the Petrie Island causeway), Redhead duck (4 at Embrun lagoon), Sandhill Crane (3 on Milton), an early Spotted Sandpiper (Giroux road ponds) and a Great Horned Owl on it’s nest. 14 duck species were seen.
24 January 2009 Ottawa Area
Leader: David Britton.
This morning I led about 18 hardy birders on an OFO birding trip in the Ottawa area. On the upside, we had a crystal clear, sunny morning, with not a cloud in the sky. On the downside, the wind was howling out of the north and yielding windchills in the ‐35 degrees Celsius range! Nevertheless, we perservered and (with intermittent breaks in the cars to warm up) managed to find some good birds.
We began the day along the Rideau River at the Ottawa Tennis Club. The recent cold temperatures have left very little open water, but eventually we tracked down the overwintering male Barrow’s Goldeneye amongst several Common Goldeneyes in a small area of open water just north of the Hurdman Bridge (where Highway 417 passes over the Ottawa River). One of the trip participants also briefly saw the female Barrow’s Goldeneye in an area of open water closer to the Tennis Club.
Our next stop was at the end of Grandview Road. Unfortunately the long‐staying Northern Hawk‐Owl wasn't found, but given the temperature we didn't spend too much time looking. Instead we had great looks at a mixed flock of Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls that were at feeders near the intersection of Grandview Road and Hastings. A lingering Dark‐eyed Junco was also present here. On Hastings Road we had great looks at a male White‐winged Crossbill feeding in the top of a spruce tree. Some of the group also got a good look at a Northern Shrike here.
We continued on to the Hilda Road feeders at Shirley’s Bay. There were the usual Black‐capped Chickadees and American Tree Sparrows around the feeders as well as a flock of about 15 Pine Siskins. With the Pine Siskins was a fairly pale Common Redpoll, but detailed study showed that it was a Common Redpoll at the frosty end of the spectrum for that species. On the way back to the cars we had about a dozen Bohemian Waxwings fly over.
After a warm up at Tim Hortons we continued down March Valley Road. No raptors were visible in the wind‐swept fields, so we finished up at the Duck Club Feeders near the corner of Riddell Drive with the usual assortment of feeder birds plus a flyby Common Raven.
Thanks to everyone who braved the cold weather to join me on this trip.
26 January 2008 Ottawa Area
Leader: David Britton.
This morning I was joined by 18 birders for a pleasant morning of casual birding in the Ottawa area. The weather was very pleasant with mostly clear skies, no wind and temperatures around ‐8 degrees Celsius.
We began west of Ottawa, along Huntmar Road where, just north of Highway 417, we had a nice comparison of both light and dark morph Rough‐legged Hawks as well as a nearby Red‐tailed Hawk. A Northern Shrike was in the same area. A little further north on Huntmar, between Richardson Sideroad and the Carp River Bridge, a flock of 200+ Snow Buntings in a field of corn stubble on the east side of the road also contained one Lapland Longspur. Despite a fairly intensive search, we were unable to turn up the over wintering Red‐shouldered Hawk at Huntmar and Old Carp. We headed back down March Valley Road, finding a couple more Red‐tailed Hawks and a single Rough‐legged. In the fields east of Herzberg Road south of Carling Avenue we managed to find a couple of small groups of Wild Turkeys and had a flyover of approximately 38 Bohemian Waxwings. Moving on the feeders on Hilda Road near Shirley’s Bay, we had several more groups of waxwings and the usual feeder birds, including a number of Common Redpolls. An American Robin hanging around the feeders was the first one I’ve seen in Ottawa this month.
After lunch we headed to 7 Millbrook Crescent near Meadowlands and Merivale where we saw the Townsend’s Solitaire in its usual juniper tree on the left side of the house. The bird was hunkered down close to the trunk eating berries and took a little bit of searching to find After wrapping up the trip, Maris Apse and I made a quick run along the Ottawa River and saw the female Harlequin Duck off Bate Island at the Champlain Bridge.
Reported by David Britton.
8 June 2008 Breeding Birds of Larose Forest, Ottawa
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.
Despite the heat, the bugs and the early starting time, about 20 birders showed up to explore some of 10,000 hectare Larose Forest, maintained by the united counties of Prescott‐Russell. We entered the forest from the west on Clarence‐Cambridge Road and then turned left (north) and traveled 1.7 km along Indian Creek road (note that it is called Grant road on the south side of Clarence‐Cambridge Road). Here a few of us managed to hear the Olive‐sided Flycatcher that was found the previous Monday. We traveled south again and among the many birds heard, we got pretty good views of Mourning Warbler, Indigo Bunting and Chestnut‐sided Warbler.
We returned to Clarence‐Cambridge Road and continued east, racking up the warbler species, including two Canada Warblers near the intersection with Bertrand Road (formerly Neuf‐mile Road). Other highlights along this stretch included a Fisher and a two Evening Grosbeaks that seemed to like the shade under one of the cars in our group. We turned south onto Bertrand Road and were able locate a number of the Cape May Warblers that breed in the Black Spruce along this road. One male was observed carrying food on a couple of occasions. It was getting hot, so we gave the Olive‐sided Flycatcher another try. No luck, but the leader did hear a few Red Crossbills (giving the sweeter call), flying overhead.
The heat definitely had an impact on the level of song, but despite this we had close to 50 species. We were able to locate 15 of the 17 species of warbler that breed in the forest, and actually saw eight of these species.
Reported by Bernie Ladouceur.
6 September 2008 Ottawa River Corridor
Leader: Dave Moore.
In spite of almost constant pouring rain, five hearty participants and brave leader Dave Moore visited birding hotspots along the Ottawa River in Ottawa to find 32 species. The trip description said we could “expect warblers, sparrows, waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls and others.“ Fortunately all these categories are represented in our trip list, if only by a hair (or a feather). In the right conditions the Britannia Conservation Area can be alive with migrating songbirds. Today, however, was one of those days when a leader is compelled to summon all his many talents, not just those for bird‐finding. We did see three heron species there, including two young Black‐crowned Night‐Herons that were so cryptically concealed they would have eluded most observers. Another trip highlight was two Red Knots along the shore at Andrew Haydon Park. Ottawa River levels continue to be high with little habitat available for shorebirds.
Thanks to Bob Cermak and Tom Hanrahan for tipping us off about the knots and the few other shorebird species on hand. This inspired us to keep peering through the torrents draining off our hat brims. It was “nice weather for ducks“, and we saw quite a few individuals, but the northern breeding species that stage in Ottawa in fall were elsewhere. We ended the trip at 10:40 with all present agreeing that it was folly to continue. Still, the dramatic weather held promise of rarities blown in from afar, and these no doubt showed up after we all went home to wring ourselves out.
Many thanks to all participants for their good humour throughout, especially Dave who filled in as leader on short notice.
Species list: Canada Goose, Wood Duck, American Black Duck, Mallard, Blue‐winged Teal, Pied‐billed Grebe, Double‐crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Black‐crowned Night‐Heron, Solitary Sandpiper, Red Knot, Sanderling, Ring‐billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black‐backed Gull, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Warbling Vireo, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Black‐capped Chickadee, White‐breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, Gray Catbird(no starlings!), Cedar Waxwing, Black‐and‐white Warbler, American Redstart, Song Sparrow, American Goldfinch.
Reported by Bev McBride
14 April 2008 Spring Waterfowl Migration East of Ottawa
Leader: Jeff Skevington
Today 13 birders went on an OFO trip primarily focused on the flooded fields east of Ottawa. We hit it right for water levels with all areas at or near maximum flood. However, there were still areas of ice in some ponds and lots of snow still in the fields so the peak of waterfowl migration is still a couple of days away. Petrie Island (the meeting point) was still locked in ice and the only highlights there were Yellow‐bellied Sapsucker, Tree Swallow and Eastern Phoebe. We saw more of all of these species later in the day. Milton Road and Frank Kenny Road both had lots of water and moderate numbers of waterfowl. We had our only Green‐winged Teal for the day here. The bulk of the ducks that we saw today were along Milton Road. A singing Vesper Sparrow on Milton Road was a year bird for everyone in the group. Three Snow Geese were the first of the day and the only Snow Geese that most of the group saw.
We then headed to Larose Forest for lunch. There was still over two feet of snow in the forest so it was very quiet. American Woodcock and Evening Grosbeaks were the only birds of note here. After Larose, we headed east to Cobb’s Creek. There were hundreds of Canada Geese around but not much else. Highlights were 1 Cackling Goose, 90 Snow Buntings and 1 Lapland Longspur. Some of the Snow Buntings and the Longspur were moulting into alternate plumage.
We headed further east to see if there was much in the Alfred area. The Lagoons were still frozen and it was getting late so most of the group headed back to Ottawa. The three who continued found two large groups of Snow Geese along the South Nation River. The river is in high flood and has formed an impressive lake over 2 km across in spots. Many of the north‐south roads were entirely blocked by the flooding. Over 5,000 Snow Geese were just south of Fournier in the flooded fields. Another 4,200 were in the flooded area about 2 km west of Fournier.
A list of the 59 species birds observed today is included below.
Snow Goose ‐ 9200; Cackling Goose ‐ 1; Canada Goose ‐ 10000; Wood Duck ‐ 6; Gadwall ‐ 3; American Wigeon ‐ 4; American Black Duck ‐ 30; Mallard ‐ 100; Northern Pintail ‐ 280; Green‐winged Teal ‐ 12; Ring‐necked Duck ‐ 35; Bufflehead ‐ 4; Common Goldeneye ‐ 16; Hooded Merganser ‐ 5; Wild Turkey ‐ 12; Great Blue Heron ‐ 2; Turkey Vulture ‐ 12; Northern Harrier ‐ 18; Sharp‐shinned Hawk ‐ 2; Red‐tailed Hawk ‐ 2; Rough‐legged Hawk ‐ 8; American Kestrel ‐ 5; Killdeer ‐ 10; Ring‐billed Gull ‐ 30; Herring Gull ‐ 1; Great Black‐backed Gull ‐ 1; Rock Pigeon ‐ 15; Mourning Dove ‐ 12; Yellow‐bellied Sapsucker ‐ 2; Hairy Woodpecker ‐ 1; Northern Flicker ‐ 2; Eastern Phoebe ‐ 12; Blue Jay ‐ 5; American Crow ‐ 40; Common Raven ‐ 5; Horned Lark ‐ 20; Tree Swallow ‐ 7; Black‐capped Chickadee ‐ 2; Brown Creeper ‐ 1; Eastern Bluebird ‐ 2; American Robin ‐ 70; European Starling ‐ 120; American Tree Sparrow ‐ 2; Vesper Sparrow ‐ 1; Savannah Sparrow ‐ 1; Song Sparrow ‐ 40; Dark‐eyed Junco ‐ 2; Lapland Longspur ‐ 1; Snow Bunting ‐ 90; Northern Cardinal ‐ 2; Red‐winged Blackbird ‐ 400; Eastern Meadowlark ‐ 2; Common Grackle ‐ 300; Brown‐headed Cowbird ‐ 80; House Finch ‐ 1; Common Redpoll ‐ 4; American Goldfinch ‐ 4; Evening Grosbeak ‐ 3; House Sparrow ‐ 3
Reported by Jeff Skevington.
8 September 2007 Ottawa
Leader: Jeff Skevington.
Thirteen birders participated in an OFO outing in the Ottawa area today. We started at Britannia at 7:30 am and stopped at Andrew Hayden Park and Shirleys Bay before finishing at 12:30. Passerine birding was pretty good at Britannia and most of the ducks and shorebirds that we saw were at Shirleys Bay. Our group total for the day was 75 species, about 60 of which were seen by most members of the group. A list of species seen, along with approximate numbers follows.
Pied‐billed Grebe 4; Double‐crested Cormorant 75; Great Egret 2; Great Blue Heron 12; Canada Goose 100; Mallard 100; American Black Duck 12; Green‐winged Teal 50; American Wigeon 15; Blue‐winged Teal 5; Wood Duck 15; Ring‐necked Duck 7; Common Merganser 11; Semipalmated Plover 5; Killdeer 2; Lesser Yellowlegs 1; Spotted Sandpiper 7; Stilt Sandpiper 1; Semipalmated Sandpiper 30; Least Sandpiper 6; Baird’s Sandpiper 3; Ring‐billed Gull 2500; Herring Gull 400; Great Black‐backed Gull 80; Turkey Vulture 4; Northern Harrier 1; Sharp‐shinned Hawk 2; Cooper’s Hawk 2; Osprey 2; American Kestrel 1; Merlin 1; Peregrine Falcon 2; Wild Turkey 6; Rock Pigeon 40; Mourning Dove 15; Belted Kingfisher 5; Northern Flicker 2; Downy Woodpecker 1; Eastern Kingbird 1; Great‐crested Flycatcher 1; Eastern Wood‐Pewee 1; Eastern Phoebe 2; Blue Jay 20; American Crow 15; Common Raven 2; Black‐capped Chickadee 15; White‐breasted Nuthatch 2; American Robin 2; Gray Catbird 1; Brown Thrasher 2; Cedar Waxwing 10; European Starling 250; Blue‐headed Vireo 1; Red‐eyed Vireo 1; Warbling Vireo 3; Philadelphia Vireo 2; Tennessee Warbler 1; Nashville Warbler 1; Northern Parula 1; Black‐and‐white Warbler 2; Blackburnian Warbler 1; Yellow‐rumped Warbler 45; Black‐throated Green Warbler 12; Bay‐breasted Warbler 1; Blackpoll Warbler 1; Northern Cardinal 2; Song Sparrow 10; Chipping Sparrow 20; Dark‐eyed Junco 1; White‐throated Sparrow 15; Common Grackle 2; Scarlet Tanager 3; American Goldfinch 5; Purple Finch 7; House Sparrow 2.
Reported by Jeff Skevington.
3 June 2007 Ottawa
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur.
On June 3 OFO held its second of three Ottawa area field trips for the year 2007. Although skies were threatening, eighteen enthusiastic birders were in attendance, including the leader. Our goal was to observe 10 species of sparrow, Eastern Palm Warbler and, if we received positive phone call from friends checking the Ottawa River that morning, Arctic Tern.
We covered two areas. The first was Mer Bleue Bog boardwalk. Walking into the Mer Bleue is like walking several hundred miles north. It is the smaller sister of the Alfred Bog although not identical in composition. Like Alfred, three bird species of local interest breed here: Sandhill Crane, Eastern Palm Warbler and Lincoln’s Sparrow. The cranes are not often encountered in breeding season.
On our way in along Ridge Road, we stopped to hear a Clay‐coloured Sparrow. Chipping, White‐throated, Swamp and Song Sparrows were also noted along the way. The group was also treated to great looks at four Yellow‐bellied Sapsuckers interacting with each other on telephone poles beside the road. The Mer Bleue is a fantastic place, but this day with overcast skies and a somewhat moderate breeze, things were pretty quiet. Fortunately, the star attraction Eastern Palm Warblers didn‘t follow the trend. Two males sang almost continually. One was right along the boardwalk providing us with some very good views. The species with second billing, Lincoln’s Sparrow, was not so cooperative. The leader picked up one snippet of song and a few participants had a glimpse of what was probably a Lincoln’s Sparrow.
On the way back to the vehicles, one of the participants located a distant juvenile bird in his telescope. The majority thought it was a crow, while some contended it was a grackle; the leader voted for Rook. Two Broad‐winged Hawks put on a spectacular show for those in cars near the front of the pack, and a less spectacular show for those toward the back. Ah, the frustration of field trips.
We made one stop along Anderson Road to look for Sandhill Cranes that were observed earlier that morning. The cranes were gone, and here the leader also failed to point out the only Savannah Sparrow encountered on the trip, assuming there would be more.
The second location visited was the fields along Bowesville Road south of the Ottawa International Airport, an area seriously threatened by development. Here the participants had several fantastic looks at Grasshopper Sparrows, good views of Vesper and Field Sparrows, and some were lucky enough to have a very good look at a Clay‐coloured Sparrow. Some of us were very lucky to chance upon a Meadow Jumping Mouse.
No call came regarding Arctic Terns, so we ended the trip. Our tally was between 50 and 55 species, depending on whom you believe. Technically, we achieved our goal of 10 species of sparrow plus Eastern Palm Warbler. Thanks to Jan Slumkoski, my driver for this trip, and to the participants for their enthusiasm.
Reported by Bernie Ladouceur.
28 January 2007 Ottawa Area
Leader: Tony Beck.
Twelve participants braved the winter to attend the OFO Ottawa Area Field Trip on 28 January. Despite the cold, we had beautiful blue skies and calm conditions throughout the day. The lovely winter‐wonderland scenario was augmented by freshly fallen snow from the previous night and a touch of morning hoar frost. There was not much bird activity and it was generally quiet and typically winter‐like. Nonetheless, the day was entertaining with some good birds and lots of wildlife clues in the snow.
While waiting for the last participants at the meeting spot off Carling Ave, we saw a lone first winter Ring‐billed Gull circling the parking lot. This is a very rare species for late January in Ottawa.
Our first stop was at the Hilda Road feeding station in Shirleys Bay. Here, we were treated to a dozen Cedar Waxwings feeding on buckthorn. Several Blue Jays and Black‐capped Chickadees patrolled the area while American Tree Sparrows fed on the ground.
Along March Valley Road, we got scope views of a dark morph Rough‐legged Hawk and a distant adult Red‐tailed Hawk. A few lucky people at the head of the group got to see a Fisher run across the road. At the Ottawa Duck Club feeding station we added five Wild Turkeys, three Mourning Doves, four White‐breasted Nuthatches and a Porcupine.
Kerwin Road was surprisingly quiet. Although conditions were ideal for hearing subtle sounds, bird activity was relatively low. Common Ravens were making various vocalizations at a distance while Blue Jays were particularly chatty. Black‐capped Chickadees, a Hairy Woodpecker, a Downy Woodpecker and Red‐breasted Nuthatches were mildly active along the trail. However, the highlight was the White‐winged Crossbills at close range feeding in the tops of spruce trees, with several males singing.
We officially finished just before noon; however, six of us continued again after lunch. We started at Bayshore to see the overwintering drake Wood Duck and male Belted Kingfisher. The Wood Duck put on a great performance for the camera. After that, we returned to Kerwin Road with hopes of more northern specialties. En‐route, we saw a Common Raven flying low over Terry Fox Drive with a (probable) Meadow Vole in its beak.
At Kerwin Road, we didn’t add anything new to the day’s list. However we were treated to more White‐winged Crossbills, including males in aerial display and first year male plumages. Also highly entertaining were pairs of Common Ravens engaged in aerobatic bonding/courtship flights.
We ended the day with 24 bird species ‐ a reasonable field trip total for the Ottawa area in late January, especially considering the limited habitat we explored.
- 1 ‐ Wood Duck
- 8 ‐ American Black Duck
- 20 ‐ Mallard
- (6 ‐ American Black/Mallard Hybrid)
- 1 ‐ Red‐tailed Hawk
- 1 ‐ Rough‐legged Hawk
- 5 ‐ Wild Turkey
- 1 ‐ Ring‐billed Gull
- 9 ‐ Rock Dove
- 3 ‐ Mourning Dove
- 1 ‐ Belted Kingfisher
- 3 ‐ Downy Woodpecker
- 7 ‐ Hairy Woodpecker
- 15 ‐ Blue Jay
- 8 ‐ American Crow
- 11 ‐ Common Raven
- 19 ‐ Black‐capped Chickadee
- 4 ‐ Red‐breasted Nuthatch
- 4 ‐ White‐breasted Nuthatch
- 2 ‐ European Starling
- 12 ‐ Cedar Waxwing
- 14 ‐ American Tree Sparrow
- 24 ‐ White‐winged Crossbill
- 3 ‐ American Goldfinch
- 8 ‐ House Sparrow
Reported by Tony Beck.