Recent bird sightings

/Recent bird sightings
Recent bird sightings 2018-07-13T13:38:45+00:00

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 12 July 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Black-crowned Night Heron photographed by Judith Gustafsson at Brewer Park.

Again there were no major highlights this week, as the summer doldrums continue. The heat moderated somewhat, but it is now getting very dry.

There are signs of the progress of the season. There are more young seen, and bird song is noticeably diminishing.

2 SNOW GEESE in Winchester on the 8th were an interesting lingerer.

The lack of rain has resulted in a drop of levels on the Ottawa River, and it will be interesting to see what things will be like in 4 weeks.  In the meantime, a few of the more common SHOREBIRDS have been seen:

  • Shirley’s Bay:2 GREATER and 40 LESSER YELLOWLEGS on the 10th
  • Russell: 1 LESSER YELLOWLEGS in Russell on the 6th
  • Winchester:1 each of SEMIPALMATED and SOLITARY SANDPIPER on the 8th
  • Petrie Island: 1 SOLITARY SANDPIPER on the 10th
  • Carp: 1 LEAST SANDPIPER on the 6th
  • Crysler: 1 LESSER YELLOWLEGS on the 8th

Adult Grackle with fledling photographed by Judith Gustafsson near Billings Bridge.

2 UPLAND SANDPIPERS were in Chesterville on the 10th, and 2 were on Franktown Road near Munster on the 7th.

Single GREAT and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 6th.  15 BLACK TERNS were at Plaisance (Baie Noire) on the 8th, and 1 was at Shirley’s Bay on the 7th. 1 CASPIAN TERN was at Petrie Island on the 9th.

2 LEAST BITTERNS were at Shirley’s bay on the 7th and 1 on the 9th.  BLACK TERN at Shirley’s Bay on nthe 7th.

EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILLS were heard at several locations in the Munster area on the 7th.

A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO at Britannia on the 9th, and a BLUE-HEADED VIREO was in Stony Swamp on the 11th.

Young Great Blue Heron photographed at Brown’s Inlet in the Glebe by Judith Gustafsson.

An early TENNESSEE WARBLER, also a late one as it was unfortunately a window fatality, was downtown on the 10th.  2 TENNESSEE WARBLERS were in Gatineau on the 11th.

A PINE SISKIN flew over Britannia on the 7th, and 2 have been in the western part of Larose forest for several weeks now. Finally, 3 RED CROSSBILLS were seen on Corkstown Road flying north on the 6th.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 5 July 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Yellow Warbler in a tree along the Rideau River near Carleton University. Photo by Judith Gustafsson.

There were no major highlights this week, as the summer doldrums continue. The ferocious heat has probably kept a lot of birders in air-conditioned buildings. However, birding or no birding, there is still an excellent variety of birds in the region. This is a good time to head into the dense forests of the north, like the area north of Buckingham, to see the surprising variety of nesting birds that will rarely be seen in the more urban areas until fall migration is in full swing.

Of interest is that the first fall SHOREBIRDS have actually arrived, although this is more of a technicality than a migration:

  • A GREATER YELLOWLEGS in Almonte on the 5th,
  • A SOLITARY SANDPIPER in Carp on the 28th, and
  • A LESSER YELLOWLEGS in Carp on the 3rd.

Other notable sightings included:

  • An UPLAND SANDPIPER in Dunrobin on the 2nd.
  • A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in Carp on the 3rd.
  • A very late ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK in Almonte on the 2nd.
  • A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 1st.
  • A CASPIAN TERN in Almonte on the 2nd.
  • 5 BLACK TERNS at Marais des Laîches on the 3rd.
  • A LEAST BITTERN at Shirley’s Bay on the 1st.
  • A SEDGE WREN south of Munster on the 29th.

Swamp Sparrow photographed by Gregory Zbitnew at the Findlay Creek Boardwalk.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 28 June 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Young male Downy Woodpecker at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden. Photo by Judith Gustafsson

We are well into the summer doldrums, and things have been and will likely remain relatively static for the next 4 weeks. Weather was seasonal, but the forecast heat wave will likely mean birds will not remain active as late in the morning.

Among the WATERBIRDS, a late BUFFLEHEAD was at Shirley’s Bay on the 26th, and a late RING-NECKED DUCK at Britannia also on the 26th.  7 RUDDY DUCKS in Russell on the 24th are likely nesting.

3 LEAST BITTERNS were at Baie McLaurin on the 27th, and 2 were at Constance Creek on the 24th.

A CASPIAN TERN has been seen from time to time on the Ottawa River between Britannia and Shirley’s Bay, and 3 BLACK TERNS were at Marais des Laiches on the 23rd.

Male House Finch photographed at Brewer Park by Judith Gustafsson.

2 UPLAND SANDPIPERS in Constance Bay on the 26th, and a GRAY PARTRIDGE was in Kanata on the 26th (off Robert Grant).

Thomas Dolan (Carp Ridge) is still excellent for both WHIP-POOR-WILL and COMMON NIGHTHAWK.

A  SEDGE WREN was on Stonecrest as late as the 23rd, and was sometimes vocal. At the same spot, a SONG SPARROW was singing very much like a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, which species has been seen in the area.

On the 26th a PINE SISKIN was seen and heard on Viewbank near Greenbank.

Both CLAY-COLOURED and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS were at Burnt Lands Provincial Park this week.

There have been no recent reports from the northern reaches of the region, but the marshes in Quebec east of the Gatineau River and areas of the greenbelt in Ontario have had good diversity of species.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.

Black-crowned Night Heron catching a Bullhead, which he swallowed whole. Photo taken at Mud Lake by Deborah Mosher.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 21 June 2018

House Wren on birdbox, photographed by Judith Gustafsson

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Like last week, it was relatively static and only expected birds were seen. Of the less common nesters, YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was at Petrie Island on the 15th and near Club de Ski Nakkertok on the 17th.  While we normally don’t mention OWL sightings, there were 2 unusually late ones of SNOWY OWL, one in Gatineau on the 15th and one in Orleans on the 17th.

Weather was mostly seasonal, with some rain and the hottest days of the year so far.

Somewhat surprising were 6(!) LEAST BITTERNS observed on a canoe trip on the Jock River (Goodwood Marsh) on the 20th, which proves that these elusive birds are more common than it seems. Also seen there was a family of 8 TRUMPETER SWANS.

The only spots for BLACK TERN now seem to be the marshes in Quebec east of Gatineau. 5 were seen at the Halte Routière east of Thurso on the 17th. A LEAST BITTERN was at the Marais aux grenouillettes on the same day.    2 LEAST BITTERNS were at Baie McLaurin on the 19th.

An AMERICAN COOT and a LEAST BITTERN were at Shirley’s bay on the 16th.

Male Tree Swallow stretching its wings at Brewer Park Pond, photographed by Judith Gustafsson

A CASPIAN TERN was at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 21st, an UPLAND SANDPIPER was on Franktown road on the 19th, SANDHILL CRANE on Dwyer Hill Road on the 17th, and LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on the 16th at the Moodie Drive Ponds.

Of the SONGBIRDS, a long trip in the western part of Gatineau Park on the 16th produced 15 WARBLERS plus other birds. Likely any of the forested belt there will produce something similar.

Among other SONGBIRDS:

  • A SEDGE WREN was west of Munster on the 20th, and on Montague boundary Road on the 18th there was another plus an EASTERN TOWHEE.
  • 2 PINE SISKINS were flying over north of Pink Road on the 18th.
  • A late TENNESSEE WARBLER was at Club de ski Nakkertok on the 17th.
  • 2 GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS were near Thomas Dolan on the 17th.
  • Burnt Lands Provincial Park, as usual, was good for SPARROWS, in particular on the 19th there were GRASSHOPPER, CLAY-COLOURED, and VESPER SPARROWS.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.

Newly fledged Cowbird, begging for food from its “foster mother” Song Sparrow, photographed near Carleton University by Judith Gustafsson


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 14 June 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Eastern Bluebird with green worm photographed by Judith Gustafsson near Wakefield.

There were no major highlights this week. Most notable were a few sightings of YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, one in Rockcliffe park on the 9th, one near Cannamore (Reveler recreational trails) on the 10-11th and one on the Jock River near Richmond on the 11th.  A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was in the same place on the Jock River on the 11th as well.

There were no new arrivals this week, and migration was virtually nil this week, save for a few stragglers.  However, this is prime time for looking for residents. In the last week, over 150 species have been seen in the region, and all but a few late migrants will still be around.

There were 30 BRANT seen (over) the Richmond Fen on the 8th, but these are probably the last stragglers. Regionally only 11 species of DUCK have been seen, and only the expected nesters.

Brown Thrasher – “singing like crazy” – photographed by Eric Leger at Conroy Pit.

LEAST BITTERNS have been seen a few places: 2 at Constance Creek and Thomas Dolan on the 11th, one at Constance Creek from Vances Sideroad on the 10th, and one at Parc Martin Larouche on the 9th.

A few late migrants such as WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER were seen as late as the 10th, but as expected migration is over.  An UPLAND SANDPIPER was on March Road north of Burnt Lands PP on the 12th.

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK on Hall Road on the 11th, and a late OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was in Gatineau Park (Nakkertok) on the 10th.

A SEDGE WREN was on Stonecrest on the 11th, and 3 SEDGE WRENS were in the Richmond Fen on the 8th.  There are still up to 2 at the “Nortel marsh” as late as the 10th.

A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was on Thomas Dolan on the 11th although the precise location was not indicated.

Finally, a PINE SISKIN was at Lac Mcgregor on the 10th.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.

Female Hooded Merganser with her young, photographed by Deborah Mosher at Britannia.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 7 June 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

There were a number of highlights this week.  The best was an adult-plumaged EARED GREBE, the first Ottawa County record (and the bird was sometimes in Gatineau), off Britannia Pier on the 1st.  In second place was an adult SABINE’S GULL, seen for a few minutes at Britannia Point on the 4th.  In a distant 3rd place was a co-operative MARBLED GODWIT in Kanata on the 5-7th.  The runner-up was the WHITE-WINGED DOVE which was heard again on the 1st in the Urbandale area. This DOVE could easily linger for some time, but there is an excessive amount of suitable habitat, consisting of hundreds of well-treed backyards.

Marbled Godwit photographed by Michael Tate in Kanata.

Migration is clearly winding down, with 99.9% of the PASSERINES here for the season or gone until the fall. SHOREBIRD migration is probably over 95% completed. The rainy and blustery weather on the 4-6th may have been a factor in some of the rarities this week.

Most WATERFOWL remaining are the regular nesters, now mostly in the inland ponds and lagoons.  Some notable sightings were 5 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS at Britannia on the 5th ,  2 RING-NECKED DUCKS at Constance Creek on the 2nd, and a GREATER SCAUP at Shirley’s Bay on the 2nd.

Some other interesting SHOREBIRDS were seen despite the rather small numbers. A SANDERLING (rare in the spring) was at Britannia Beach on the 1-7th.  During the rainstorms, 50 or so SHOREBIRDS were at both Embrun and Chrysler.  RED-NECKED PHALAROPES and RUDDY TURNSTONES were seen at both places. On the 6th, a cooperative RUDDY TURNSTONE was at Britannia Beach.  There is probably about another week for the last stragglers to come through.

TERNS were in the news, with a single long-awaited ARCTIC TERN at Britannia Point on the 3-4th and again on the 6th. 2 BLACK TERNS were there on the 4th, and one CASPIAN TERN was at Deschênes on the 3rd.   A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 3rd to the 5th.

Other notable sightings included:

  • YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO in Richmond on the 6th.
  • PHILADELPHIA VIREO in Gatineau near Gatineau Park on the 3rd.
  • YELLOW-THROATED VIREO at the West March Highlands on the 2nd.
  • 2 SEDGE WRENS still at the “Nortel” marsh off Moodie Drive until the 5th
  • GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH on Munster Road on the 6th.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.

Sanderling photographed by Michael Tate at Britannia Pier.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 31 May 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

White-winged Dove photographed by Charles Francis in Urbandale.

A sensational find highlighted the week. A WHITE-WINGED DOVE, the first record for the 50K, showed up in the Urbandale area of Ottawa on the 26th. While not that “cooperative”, most people who looked eventually heard/ saw the bird.  Reports from locals suggest that it may have still been around on the 28th. A few other lesser but still good birds were seen too. A MARBLED GODWIT was seen briefly at the Emerald Meadows Storm Ponds on the 29th.  11 (First of the Year) RUDDY TURNSTONES were at Winchester on the 26th, and single one was at Petrie Island on the same day.  A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD at Shirley’s Bay on the 28th.

It was a warm week with some precipitation. Most of the migration activity was the later migrants, especially WATER and SHOREBIRDS.  However, this activity seemed to fizzle later in the week. Notwithstanding this, we may yet get something in the next week especially with the unsettled weather this weekend.

Trumpeter Swan photographed by Gregory Zbitnew at Bruce Pit.

Among the WATERBIRDS there has been a big push of BRANT, with flocks of up to several hundred being seen early in the week. There were also small groupings of WHITE-WINGED SCOTER on the Ottawa River early in the week. Aside from that, with a few exceptions there was not a whole lot around. TRUMPETER SWAN at the Bruce Pit on the 28-29th was one of the exceptions. Some lingerers were of interest: 3 SNOW GEESE seen from the Kitchissippi lookout on the 30th, and a COMMON GOLDENEYE at Constance bay on the 28th.

SHOREBIRDS were around in good numbers early in the week. Notable were a PECTORAL SANDPIPER and RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at Embrun on the 27-28th and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER at Crysler on the 27-28th.

20 BLACK TERNS were around in good numbers at their nesting grounds.  There were 20 at Plaisance (Baie Noire) on the 28th and 15 at Marais des Laîches on the 25th.

There are still a number of SANDHILL CRANES around, the latest being seen flying over Herzberg Road on the 30th.  A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was at Burnt lands PP, and LEAST BITTERN continues near Munster on the 26th.

Late FLYCATCHERS are their usual scarce selves: A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was at Rockcliffe Airport on the 27th and at Britannia on the 28th.  OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was in Gatineau Park (Lac Mousseau) on the 29th, and one was on High Road on the 30th.

YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS have been seen in a number of locations, but so far not more than once: On the carp Ridge on the 24th, near Cantley on the 28th,  Lauriault Trail on the 30th, on Earl Armstrong Road on the 30th, and near Cannamore on the 28th.

In some good news, 2 SEDGE WRENS were at the “Nortel Marsh” on the 30-31st, and with any luck they will stick around for a while.  A GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH was at Britannia on the 24th.  A late WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was in Sandy Hill on the 30th.

There was a bit of a movement of the late WARBLERS this week: BLACKPOLL, TENNESSEE, and WILSON’S.  An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Innis Point on the 25th, and one was at the Thurso marsh on the 30th. A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was near Carleton Place on the 30th.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.

Ruddy Turnstone photograhed by Sai Wai Ip at Petrie Island beach today.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 24 May 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Magnolia Warbler photographed by Eric Leger while on an OFNC outing at Mud Lake.

There were a number of highlights, mostly all SHOREBIRDS, this week. There was a MARBLED GODWIT at Embrun on the 20th, A RUFF there on the 21st, and a WHIMBREL at Shirley’s Bay on the 22nd.  None of these birds were seen the next day. A LITTLE GULL was flying by Britannia Pier on the 22nd.

It was a week of seasonal to above seasonal temperatures, with some needed rain as well. While migration continues, PASSERINE migration has peaked, all the “regular” species have been seen so far this year. The big push now and next week is SHOREBIRDS and the late WATERBIRDS. The blustery and warm weather in the next few weeks have the potential for some fallouts.

Bay breasted warbler photographed by Eric Leger on the same outing to Mud Lake.

There have been a number of sightings of WHITE-WINGED SCOTER near Shirley’s Bay, and a LONG-TAILED DUCK was at Embrun.  The next 2 weeks are prime time for the later DUCKS like these to come through.  In the meantime most of the earlier DUCKS are getting a bit scarce but still 20 species were seen this week. A EURASIAN WIGEON was in Quyon on the 20th.  6 BRANT were seen at Deschênes on the 23rd. This is now prime time for this species, but there are still some lingering SNOW GEESE: 40 near Vars on the 18th and 2 at Embrun on the 22nd.  The first RED-THROATED LOON was flying by Britannia Pier on the 22nd.

A few late SANDHILL CRANES are still being seen here and there.

A NORTHERN GOSHAWK near the Nepean Sportsplex on the 23rd.  A lucky BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER recovered from a window collision in downtown Ottawa on the 23rd.

Embrun has had some good habitat, with STILT SANDPIPER, LONG and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, and WILSON’S PHALAROPE being some scarcer species seen there along with up to 1000 of the common species. Be aware that this spot now appears to be inaccessible. 2 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES were near Crysler on the 20th.

OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS arriving starting the 21st, and most recently one was at Britannia on the 23rd-24th.  A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was at Ferme Moore on the 17th and one was in Brantwood Park on the 21st.

Other Firsts of the Year include:

  1. SEDGE WREN on the 23rd
  2. YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO at Forêt Boucher on the 22nd.
  3. CASPIAN TERN on the 20th at the Moodie Drive Ponds
  4. WILLOW FLYCATCHER on the 18th at Marais aux Laîches.
  5. MOURNING WARBLER on the 19th at Pine Grove trail and near High Road.

Other birds of note were 2 (late) RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were in Kanata on the 22nd , LEAST BITTERN near Munster and a YELLOW-THROATED VIREO in Rockcliffe Park on the 22nd.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.

One of a pair of Baltimore Orioles photographed by Deborah Mosher in in an apple tree at the Britannia Conservation Area.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 17 May 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Great-crested Flycatcher photographed by Deborah Mosher in a meadow at the Britannia Conservation Area.

There were two highlights. A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was on Twin Elm on the 15th, and another was at the arboretum on the 17th.  A CERULEAN WARBLER was in Carleton Place on the 13th.  However, neither of these birds were re-found.

Another week of mostly above-seasonal temperatures brought a steady stream of migrants into the area, but like last week there was an excellent variety of migrants but no big fallouts. 11 new species arrived in the region, much lower than last week because 85-90% of the species have already been seen this year. There may yet be a big push of SONGBIRDS in the next week.

Warbling vireo at Britannia photographed by Eric Leger.

Among the DUCKS, 21 species were seen in the region this week. Notable were 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS at Shirley’s Bay as late as the 15th, 2 REDHEAD at the Richmond Conservation Area, and a LONG-TAILED DUCK at Giroux on the 16th. 2 ROSS’S GEESE were also on Giroux Road with 10,000 SNOW GEESE on the 15th.

An interesting development on the SHOREBIRD front is that there is good habitat in Embrun, with 1500+ birds of 10 species seen there on the 17th.  The vast majority of these are LEAST SANDPIPER, but new was WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER.  2 WILSON’S PHALAROPES were in Russell on the 15th.

Despite seemingly unfavourable winds, Britannia had 19 species of WARBLER on the 11th, and it was still good on the 12th. Larose Forest has 14 species on the 13th, but all of them were nesting species.  On the 17th, 19 species of WARBLER were found on a morning trip in Britannia and points nearby.  The WARBLERS are a different mix now with a lot more of the later ones.  A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was reported in New Edinburgh on the 12th, and there have been a number of sightings of both WILSON’S and BLACKPOLL WARBLER, which leaves only one regular WARBLER yet to be seen.

A very romantic photo of a bonded pair of Cedar Waxwings by Nina Stavlund.

Other new sightings for the year are:

  • BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO in Watt’s Creek on the 12th.
  • GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH in Britannia on the 17th.
  • COMMON NIGHTHAWK in Britannia on the 11th
  • PHILADELPHIA VIREO in Trillium Woods on the 11th
  • EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE at Innis Point on the 12th.
  • YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER in Lapêche on the 12th.

Some other interesting sightings:

  • A GOLDEN EAGLE was at Innis Point on the 11th.
  • A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was at Fitzroy Provincial Park on the 13th, and one was in Deschênes on the same day.
  • LEAST BITTERN was heard again on the Jock River near Carleton Place on the 11th.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 10 May 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Female Merlin photographed by Eric Leger at Richelieu Park in Vanier.

The find of the week was a EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, flying near the Almonte Lagoons on the 6th but not seen since. This is the second regional record. Some other good birds were seen as well, but unfortunately none of them were seen again either: AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN flying over Britannia on the 5th;  a CERULEAN WARBLER at Ferme Moore on the 4th; and two sightings of BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, one at Marais des Laîches on the 7th and the other Riverain Park in Vanier on the 9th.

The week was marked by continued seasonal to well above seasonal temperatures, and we have largely “caught up” with normal migration after the horrible April. There has been a good stream of migrants, with about 36 arrivals for the season, but it appears that most have simply settled into their nesting grounds, since the regular migrant traps have not have any really big concentrations. This weekend will probably be rather quiet for migration, but sometime next week or shortly thereafter we can expect the start of peak migration.

WATERBIRDS have not been much of a focus this week. New were the sighting of 35 BRANT flying over Richmond on the 9th, and AMERICAN COOT on the 3rd near Constance Bay.  There have been a few interesting late sightings: 2 TRUMPETER SWANS flying over Munster Road on the 8th, 5000 SNOW GEESE at Winchester on the 5th, and COMMON GOLDENEYE in Carleton Place and at Deschênes.  9 species of PUDDLE DUCKS and 8 other species of DUCKS were in the region this week, but no large concentrations were reported.

Our last regular species in this family was seen: LEAST BITTERN was on the Jock River near Carleton Place on the 7th, and on Berry Side Road on the 9th.

Late ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS were at the Giroux road ponds and Marais des Laîches, and a very late GOLDEN EAGLE was near Dunrobin on the 5th.

COMMON TERN was seen on the Ottawa River, starting on the 5th.

SHOREBIRD variety and numbers are starting to pick up. LEAST SANDPIPER, WILSON’S PHALAROPE and DUNLIN were seen at Winchester on the 5th, and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER was in Embrun on the 8th. BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER was at Marais des Laîches on the 8th.

One of three Hermit Thrushes seen by Sherry Nigro along Bilberry Creek in Orleans.

The warbler tally is now 22 with the addition of OVENBIRD, NORTHERN PARULA, TENNESSEE, ORANGE-CROWNED, NORTHERN PARULA, CHESTNUT-SIDED, MAGNOLIA, CAPE MAY, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, and BLACKBURNIAN WARBLERS.  Only 5 regular  WARBLERS have yet to be seen, and probably all will be seen by the end of next week.  Some good days have seen 10+ WARBLERS in a single trip, and about 12 regular nesters are now fairly common.

Other firsts of the season include:

  • ALDER FLYCATCHER
  • EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE
  • RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD
  • VEERY
  • SWAINSON’S THRUSH
  • INDIGO BUNTING
  • SCARLET TANAGER
  • ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK
  • BOBOLINK
  • BALTIMORE ORIOLE
  • CLAY-COLOURED and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS (Both at Burnt lands Provincial park)
  • LINCOLN’S SPARROW

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.

Spotted Sandpiper photographed by Deborah Mosher near the footbridge at Mud Lake.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 3 May 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Male Northern Flicker photographed by Deborah Mosher at Mud Lake

A new record for the region, a NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, was seen in Deschenes in the evening of the 27th, but unfortunately was not subsequently re-found.  If this were not enough, a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER was found near Hurdman on the 27th, and the RUFF continued near John Shawn and Grant’s Sideroad until the 27th.

Given that April was our coldest since 1972, while no-one was dancing around the Maypole on the 1st, it would have been appropriate.  Our first summer-like day was on the 2nd, and it looks to be seasonal to above for a few days.  Like last week, but even more so, birds continue to stream into the region as vegetation really starts to grow and insects are emerging in considerable numbers. There were 18+ arrivals for the season, although it is certainly not a flood of birds yet.

Some WATERBIRDS were of note. The EURASIAN WIGEON was at Shirleys Bay until the 27th.  6 TRUMPETER SWANS and a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE were near Antrim on the 27-28th.  4 TRUMPETER SWANS were flying near the 417 and March Road on the 29th, and 4 were in Dunrobin Shores on the 30th.  ROSS’S and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were on John Shaw and Kinburn on the 29th.  Hundreds of DUCKS were seen recently at Shirley’s Bay, up to 15 species although most are LESSER SCAUP. In the region, 22 species of DUCK were seen this week.

Arrivals this week included, and in a few days most of these will be widespread:

  • GREEN HERON
  • SOLITARY SANDPIPER
  • PECTORAL SANDPIPER
  • UPLAND SANDPIPER
  • SORA
  • CHIMNEY SWIFT
  • LEAST FLYCATCHER
  • GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER
  • EASTERN KINGBIRD
  • AMERICAN PIPIT
  • GRAY CATBIRD
  • WARBLING VIREO
  • BLUE-HEADED VIREO
  • COMMON YELLOWTHROAT
  • YELLOW WARBLER
  • BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER
  • NASHVILLE WARBLER

Palm Warbler photographed at Britannia by Nina Stavlund.

Migrant traps like Britannia are now starting to get quite good, as are the extensive grasslands and marshes.  Although 4 is more typical, up to 7 species of WARBLER have been seen in a day in some better areas, with the regional tally to date standing at 11. Expect this to become a lot better when the next wave comes in.

Some other miscellaneous sightings include:

  • 2 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS near Almonte on the 30th
  • ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK near Antrim on the 28-29th, and one in Navan on the 30th
  • A CAROLINA WREN on the 1stand the 3rd at Innis Point
  • 21 RED CROSSBILLS and a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in Constance Bay on the 29th

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.

Hooded Merganser photographed at Mud Lake by Eric Leger


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 26 April 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Pair of Northern Shovelers photographed by Deborah Mosher at Mud Lake.

2 significant rarities, a SNOWY EGRET and a RUFF, were seen at the same marsh near Antrim on the 25th, and both were seen again on the morning of the 26th.  The RUFF was relocated this afternoon near John Shaw Road and Grants Side Road. The third highlight of the week was a EURASIAN WIGEON at Shirley’s Bay on the 25th.

Winter’s reign of terror appears to have ended, with temperatures near to above seasonal, and some south winds at last.  We have had the first major push of songbirds of the year.  Some of the arrivals were exceedingly early.

With the steady stream of birds that has entered the region, there have been so many firsts of the year (about 27) that much of this report is just enumerating the many new arrivals. Many of the arrivals arrived in multiple locations on the same day, and some have become widespread in just a few days.

As of Wednesday there was a bit of ice stubbornly persisting in a few sheltered bays and ponds, including Shirley’s Bay.  However, there is plenty of water to accommodate the increasing number of WATERBIRDS. 10 species of PUDDLE DUCKS and 11 other species of DUCK, as well as 3 species of GREBE were seen in the region this week. More important, the numbers are starting to build up.  There were nearly 1000 birds of 17 species were at Shirley’s Bay on the 25th, about 60% being LESSER SCAUP and RING-NECKED DUCK.  A CANVASBACK was seen near Huntmar on the 21st, and there was one at Dick Bell Park on the 26th. The first RUDDY DUCK was at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 19th.   A late GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was flying over Moore farm in Gatineau on the 22nd.

The first BROAD-WINGED HAWK was at Richmond on the 21st.  A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was seen on Berry’s Sideroad on the 21st.  GULLS are declining for the season. At Trail Road, GLAUCOUS GULL was last seen on the 19th, and ICELAND GULL on the 21st.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER and LESSER YELLOWLEGS were seen at Petrie Island on the 23rd.

3 more species of SWALLOW have arrived: PURPLE MARTIN at Andrew Haydon on the 23rd, BANK SWALLOW in Navan on the 24th, and CLIFF SWALLOW at Shirley’s Bay on the 25th. RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was at Constance Bay on the 21st.

In other news, the following have been new for the year:

  • HERMIT THRUSH near Carlingwood on the 21st
  • BROWN THRASHER at the Conroy Pit on the 24th
  • HOUSE WREN at Rockcliffe Airport on the 23rd
  • MARSH WREN at Britannia on the 24th
  • RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET on Dolman Ridge Road on the 22nd
  • A BLUE-HEADED VIREO in Val-des-Monts on the 24th

The WARBLER list for the year is now at 7 with these new ones:

  • PINE WARBLER at Britannia on the 22nd
  • YELLOW WARBLER in Blossom Park on the 25th
  • PALM WARBLER at Deschênes on the 23rd
  • A BLACKAND WHITE WARBLER in Gatineau on the 23rd
  • AMERICAN REDSTART at the Bill Mason Centre on the 23rd
  • NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH at Pine Grove Trail on the 25th

Next, the SPARROWS:

  • EASTERN TOWHEE on Dolman Ridge Road on the 21st.
  • VESPER SPARROW on Trail Road on the 21st
  • SAVANNAH SPARROW at the Carp River Watershed reclamation area on the 22nd

Finally, in the odds and ends department:

  • A BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER in Chelsea on the 24th.
  • A RED CROSSBILL at Constance Bay on the 21st.
  • A CAROLINA WREN in the Val Tetreau area of Gatineau on the 20th
  • A late NORTHERN SHRIKE in Dunrobin on the21st.
  • A late SNOW BUNTING in Chelsea on the 19th.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 19 April 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Brown Creeper photographed at Mud Lake by Eric Leger.

This is now the 19th day in a row with temperatures a little to a lot below seasonal, with a couple of truly hideous days with heavy freezing rain and wind.  Likely some of the early arrivals have perished, migration has been minimal, and there has even been a report of an owl blown off her nest.  The forecast (if it can be believed) promises above seasonal temperatures by Monday.  Given that the bad weather has been over much of the northeast, we are hoping that there is a large “backlog” of birds which is ready to push up.  So this weekend may be the start of a big movement.

WATERFOWL variety was generally good, but the numbers are not there yet, and there are still many frozen areas. Likely this week will see this final opening of the Ottawa River and inland ponds. 2 ROSS’S GEESE were near Hallville on the 19th, and one was at the Cobb’s Lake Creek floodplain on the 13th. On the 13th a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was in Manotick. 2 TRUMPETER SWANS were seen in Carleton Place on the 17th.

Cedar Waxwing, also at Mud Lake. Photo by Eric Leger.

The first trips to the Shirley’s Bay Causeway produced 2 REDHEAD as late as the 13th. (The causeway has restricted access. Please see note below) While most of the area west of the causeway was still frozen as of mid-week, there were 13 species of DUCKS where there was open water.  In the region, 18 species of DUCK were seen this week, including the first BLUE-WINGED TEAL south of Manotick on the 13th.

Both ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS at the Moodie Drive Ponds (still not thawed completely) this week along with LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL.  The year’s first BONAPARTE’S GULL was there on the 17th.

There were a few other firsts of the year, some rather surprising:

  • A COMMON GALLINULE (reported by Safewings Ottawa) at a parking lot near Merivale/ Hunt Club.
  • 2 WILSON’S SNIPE near Shirley’s Bay on the 13th.
  • The first YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER sightings were in Gatineau and near Cannamore on the 13th.
  • BARN SWALLOW in Stittsville on the 15th.
  • YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER in Carp on the 16th.
  • FIELD SPARROW in Britannia on the 14th.

Less surprising were a few late sightings of SNOW BUNTING, the latest being on Rushmore on the 16th.

Although nobody seems to be looking for WINTER FINCHES these days, both RED CROSSBILL and PINE SISKIN were seen in Gatineau Park this week. An EVENING GROSBEAK was on Vance’s Sideroad on the 14th.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community.

Black-crowned Night Herons photographed on the cribwork island in the Ottawa River near Mud Lake by Deborah Mosher.

Reminder regarding access to the Shirley’s Bay Causeway:

DND has amended our access procedure. You must call Range Control (613-991-5740) for permission, state that you are an OFNC member and give your name. The OFNC will provided DND with a list of OFNC members who HAVE SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED access. DND will check, so make sure that your membership is up to date and that you have requested to be on the access list, which is sent by to DND in the spring and updated occasionally.   Finally, you must call again when you have left the area.

DND would also like to be informed if you see anyone on the property who should not be there, such as boats in the bay or people fishing on the causeway. They are trespassing and DND will deal with the situation.  Good birding!


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 12 April 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

American Tree Sparrow photographed at Mer Bleue by Eric Leger

There were no real highlights this week.

April is off to its worst start in decades.  This is now the 12th day in a row with temperatures below to a lot below seasonal, which means that there has been little bird movement at all. It is thus a bit surprising that there have actually been a few new arrivals for a year, although none have become widespread.

The flooding in the east has mostly subsided, but the Cobb’s Lake Creek floodplain is still hosting a SNOW GOOSE flock of 5000+ as of the 10th.  1-2 ROSS’S GEESE are sometimes seen in this flock, and this species has also been seen in Carp as late as the 9th.  3 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 11th.  2 TUNDRA SWANS were last seen on Milton Road on the 7th, and up to 4 TRUMPETER SWANS were seen again on the Rideau River near Kemptville as late as the 8th.

Pileated Woodpecker photographed in Vanier by Diane Grummisch

In terms of other WATERBIRDS, the volume is still low, although a few GREATER SCAUP have been seen on the Ottawa River regularly since the 9th.  Although there is quite a bit of open water on the Ottawa River, Shirley’s Bay from the boat launch is still frozen.

Given the appalling weather, it is a bit surprising that there actually have been a few arrivals for the year:

  • A COMMON LOON near Kemptville on the 8th.
  • A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER at Shirley’s Bay on the 11th.
  • An OSPREY at Shirley’s Bay on the 4th (late report)
  • A SWAMP SPARROW at Mer Bleue on the 8th.
  • An AMERICAN BITTERN on Milton Road on the 8th.
  • A CAROLINA WREN in Kanata on the 8th (very surprisingly only the first sighting of the year).
  • A CHIPPING SPARROW in Manotick on the 7th.

In other odds and ends, a GOLDEN EAGLE was at the Cobb’s Lake Creek Flood plain on the 10th.

From Deborah Mosher, who writes: “Four Common Mergansers, one drake and three hens, were on a small island in the channel yesterday (April 9).”


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 5 April 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The bird of the week was a TUFTED TITMOUSE, seen on the 31st at a feeder south of the airport but not relocated.

Spring migration continued for most of the week until Ottawa was slapped in the face with snow and cold starting on the 4th.

There were a number of firsts of the year, and the numbers of the very earliest arrivals have risen greatly, but the focus of this week’s birding was the WATERFOWL migration.

Contrary to appearances last week, the eastern floods did arrive, peaking probably on the 1st, but there was still quite a bit at least on the 3rd.  At least 10,000 SNOW GEESE were in the Cobb’s Lake Creek floodplain, and much farther east outside of the region, there were up to 125,000. Few SNOW GEESE have been seen farther west, though.

There were scattered sightings of ROSS’S GOOSE, mostly near Carp with one on the Cobb’s lake Creek floodplain, one on Frank Kenny on the 2nd and one on Wall Road on the 4th.  GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE had some scattered appearances in the west end and up to 2 on Milton Road as late as the 4th.  The TUNDRA SWANS continued on Milton Road as of the 4th, but there were not as many.  The number of DUCKS has picked up in the flooded areas, by far the most common being NORTHERN PINTAIL.  15 species of DUCKS have been seen in the region in the last week. Deschenes has been another good spot for DUCKS, with the first recent sighting of GADWALL there.  There is a lot of open water on the rivers, but the main bays in the Ottawa River have not yet opened up, nor have the inland ponds.

Female Wood Duck, photographed by Deborah Mosher, who says, “Three wood duck couples arrived at Mud Lake yesterday. I’m wondering if they regret their decision!!!”

There were also a number of firsts for the year.

  • TREE SWALLOW at Carleton University on the 3rd
  • EASTERN PHOEBE at Britannia on the 30th
  • DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT at Deschenes on the 31st
  • GREAT EGRET at Deschenes on the 31st
  • GREATER YELLOWLEGS in the Carp River reclamation area on the 1st
  • RED-BREASTED MERGANSER at the Britannia Yacht Club on the 2nd
  • RED-NECKED GREBE at Deschenes on the 3rd
  • PIED-BILLED GREBE at Deschenes on the 31st
  • WINTER WREN in Richmond on the 1st
  • A FOX SPARROW at the Hilda Road feeders on the 2nd

In other odds and ends:

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS have returned to their nesting grounds on Lemieux Island as of the 31st.

The Greenland Road Hawkwatch on the 31st had GOLDEN EAGLE and RED-SHOULDERED HAWK among the regulars.

Thanks to everyone who contributed bird observations. We encourage everyone to report their bird sightings on eBird for the benefit of the entire birding community. Good birding.


Earlier sightings are available on request ofnc@ofnc.ca