Barred Owl OFNC Birds Committee
Seedathon 2003

from Chris Lewis

The annual OFNC Seedathon was conducted on Sept. 7, 2003.

Our team (Bob Bracken, Bernie Ladouceur, Chris Lewis, and special guest Bob Cermak) had a great day this year. We followed a very similar route as in our past 3 years, with a few additional locations, and again this proved to be a recipe for success. The somewhat sparse reports of migrant birds in the Ottawa area during the previous weeks made it impossible to predict what we would find, but good timing, good weather, and good luck with some "quality" species made our day.

Local breeding birds didn't let us down. The BARRED OWLS near Munster Hamlet were their usual old faithful selves (we heard 3 before dawn), MERLINS seemed to be everywhere, and the "sparrow fields" at Leitrim and Bowesville Roads south of the International Airport were good for 6 SPECIES OF SPARROWS as well as at least 8 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS.

In terms of migrants, however, no single location was especially productive, and areas which have been "hot spots" in years past were often disappointing. The Shirleys Bay and Britannia woods were almost dead quiet - but we lucked-in to one very active flock of 13 SPECIES OF WARBLERS on the Britannia ridge. There was fine waterfowl and/or shorebird habitat on the Ottawa River as well as at several of the eastern sewage lagoons - but very few birds. Nevertheless, we found 17 SPECIES OF WATERFOWL including 34 RUDDY DUCKS and one very early BUFFLEHEAD, and 17 SPECIES OF SHOREBIRDS including 2 RED KNOTS and 2 SPECIES OF PHALAROPES (WILSON'S and RED-NECKED). Other nice surprises were an ADULT LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at a golf driving range on Carling Ave., and a SEDGE WREN calling along a path at Moodie Drive and Corkstown Road.

Last but not least, our non-avian highlight was a family of RIVER OTTERS in a most unlikely location - the St. Albert sewage lagoon!

We ended our day after 15 hours in the field (320 km driving and at least 15 km walking, all within the 50K), with a TOTAL OF 122 SPECIES. On behalf of all the dedicated volunteers who maintain the OFNC bird feeders, as well as all the birds who will be well-fed this winter, we thank everyone who made a pledge to support the Seedathon.

We encourage everyone to visit the Club's feeders at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, the Mer Bleue, the Pine Grove Trail, the Jack Pine Trail, and the Canadian Museum of Nature on Pink Road in Quebec. Directions to the feeders may be found on the OFNC web site.

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