Recent bird sightings

/Recent bird sightings
Recent bird sightings 2019-12-06T11:55:19+00:00

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

NOTE: Sightings of GYRFALCON will no longer be mentioned in the weekly reports. This is to be consistent with eBird policy on this species due to its sensitivity and vulnerability.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 5 December 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Dark-eyed Junco photographed by Judith Gustafsson at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden

Like last week, temperatures were near normal with no snow until the 4th. Birding was quiet again, but at least with a few interesting lingerers. LANDBIRDS have not made any movement to feeders, and WATERBIRDS are not concentrated yet due to the extensive areas of open water. Since the start of the birding winter on December 1 (as of the 4th), about 70 species have been seen in the region.

14 species of DUCK were seen this week. A smattering of lingering DABBLING DUCKS were included, specifically NORTHERN PINTAILS at the Iber Road storm outlet, and near the Masson water treatment plant; a GREEN-WINGED TEAL at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden on the 4th and 2 in Gatineau (Etang Grimes ) on the 3rd; WOOD DUCKS at Sawmill Creek, Petrie Island, Ruisseau de la Brasserie and Billings Bridge; and a GADWALL at Britannia on the 2nd. 3 BLACK SCOTERS at Britannia on the 3rd rounded out the list of exceptional DUCKS.

A BELTED KINGFISHER was on Ruisseau de la Brasserie in Gatineau on the 3rd, while a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON at Strathcona Park on the 29th was quite unusual.

ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS are still at the Trail Road Landfill. A GOLDEN EAGLE was at Lac McGregor on the 2nd, a NORTHERN GOSHAWK was in Sarsfield on the 4th, and a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was in Carleton Place on the 2nd.

WINTER WRENS were at both Britannia and Almonte on the 3rd. A CAROLINA WREN was in Richmond on the 29th. EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, from 1 to 15, have been seen regularly, but not always, near Thomas Dolan and Greenland Road, most recently on the 3rd, and also on Berry Side Road, most recently on the 4th.

A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD continues on Perrault at Milton as late as the 5th and another continues as of the 4th in Gatineau (District des Promenades).

3 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS were on Barnsdale on the 1st, and COMMON GRACKLES were in Russell and in Gatineau (Chemin du Fer à cheval) on the 1st.

For those who are interested in a sighting outside the 50K region, a HARRIS’ SPARROW has been regular at a feeder on Ault Island near Morrisburg.

Finally, perhaps the most unusual of the lingerers was an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER in the Monaghan Forest on the 30th.

Northern Cardinal photographed by Judith Gustafsson at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 28 November 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Cooper’s Hawk photographed at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden by Judith Gustafsson

The highlight of the week were 2 sightings of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS: 2 on the 24th on Berry Side Road and 1 on the 25th on Greenland Road.

It was a pleasant week weatherwise with mostly above average temperatures and conditions conducive to good birding. However, the volume and variety of birds is typical of early winter. A few interesting lingerers are here, but while snow cover is gone the forests are pretty empty. Rivers are wide open as of the 28th but there are few WATERBIRDS aside from COMMON GOLDENEYE.

Although 17 species of duck were seen in the region, mostly of these were isolated sightings; in particular there are very few lingering DABBLING DUCKS about. The HARLEQUIN DUCK continues in Strathcona Park as of the 24th, and up to 2 BARROW’S GOLDENEYE are there as well. A RED-THROATED LOON was in Aylmer on the 26th, and at Shirley’s Bay-Grandview on the 23rd.

A BONAPARTE’S GULL was at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 26th, and both ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS are there from time to time. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Dick Bell Park on the 27th.

A BELTED KINGFISHER was at Lac Meech on the 25th.

70 SANDHILL CRANES were flying over Metcalfe on the 24th and a NORTHERN FLICKER was in Dunrobin on the 23rd.

The CAROLINA WREN was in Britannia most recently on the 28th. At least 2 WINTER WRENS have been there Britannia as late as the 28th and there is a continuing one in Almonte as of the 26th.

2 NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRDS continue on Perrault near Milton as of the 25th. Another was in Gatineau (District des Promenades) on the 24th. A HERMIT THRUSH was at Val des Monts on the 23rd. 13 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS were near Greenland Road on the 24th, while a single was on Berry Side Road on the 28th. A GRAY CATBIRD was in Barry Mullen Park on the 24th.

15 CEDAR WAXWINGS at the Fletcher on the 27th. This spot merits regular checking due to the excellent fruit crop.

8 BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS were at the Trail Road Landfill on the 27th and 4 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS were in Richmond on the 24th.

Finally, although the CROSSBILL sightings recently have not been repeated, it seems likely that there is a small movement through the region, although it is not expected to be a good winter here for them. Therefor any suitable habitat is worth checking out. Small numbers of PINE SISKINS have been seen in the northern reaches of the region.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 21 November 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Canada Goose photographed at Britannia by Bailey Wright.

The TUFTED DUCK continued at Shirley’s Bay until the 16th, and was seen again briefly on the 18th. There were 2 sightings of RED CROSSBILL, the first sightings since January. 1 was north of Lac la Pêche on the 17th and 2 were at the Mer Bleue on the 20th. 2 NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRDS were on Perrault Road as late as the 20th.

Weather improved from appalling to near normal by the end of the week. Most areas are quite quiet, but there have been some good days on the rivers, and there a number of lingering birds on the land, most at feeders. Snow on the ground has diminished somewhat and is not significantly hindering travel.

Blue Jay photographed by Keith Wickens on Limebank Road

19 species of DUCK were seen this week including all 3 SCOTERS and all 3 MERGANSERS. Most, aside from MALLARDS, are COMMON GOLDENEYE. There were some especially good viewing conditions on the Ottawa River on the 19th. Most ponds, in particular the Moodie Drive Ponds, are iced over for the season. Sheltered bays on the Ottawa River have a thin layer of ice, which might well clear for a few days with this predicted rain and thaw. The HARLEQUIN DUCK is still at Strathcona Park as of the 21st. A ROSS’S GOOSE was on Limebank Road on the 16th, and an AMERICAN COOT was at Dow’s lake on the 15th.

Up to 5 species of GULL have been at the Trail Road landfill this week. Numbers are far from large and consistent, but with persistence you will find the 3 scarcer species: LESSER BLACK-BACKED, ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS.

There have been a number of lingering species all over the area, some more surprising than others. Here are the more interesting ones:

  • A TURKEY VULTURE in Crysler on the 18th
  • A CHIPPING SPARROW at the Deschênes Rapids on the 21st, and at the Experimental Farm on the 19th
  • A HERMIT THRUSH at Britannia on the 21st, and in the Glebe on the 20th
  • An AMERICAN PIPIT at Dick Bell Park on the 19th, and Shirley’s bay on the 21st
  • A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden on the 20th
  • 3 WINTER WRENS at the Nortel Marsh on the 21stand a surprising 5 at Britannia on the 18th
  • A NORTHERN FLICKER at Baie Noire on the 19thand one at Strathcona park on the 18th
  • A FOX SPARROW in the Honey Gables area on the 18th
  • A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW near Munster on the 16th
  • An EASTERN BLUEBIRD at Parc Aquamarine in Gatineau on the 19th, 2 on Chemin Steele on the 19th, and 2 on 5thLine Road on the 20th
  • A YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER at Fitzroy Provincial park on the 17th

While not particularly late, there were 16 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and 10 BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS at the Reveler Recreation Trails on the 15th, 20 BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS at the Trail Road Landfill on the 20th and 2 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS at the Richmond CA on the 17th.

2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS were at Baie Cornu (east of Quyon) on the 17th, and 2 were in North Gower on the 15th.

In the FINCH front while very sparse, there were 2 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS in Larrimac on the 20th; 5 PINE SISKINS on the Eardley-Masham Road on the 19th and 16 on Clayton Road on the 19th; and 2 COMMON REDPOLLS at Parc Brébeuf on the 15th.

Northern Mockingbird photographed by Norbert Haché on Perrault Road


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 14 November 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The bird of the week was a female TUFTED DUCK, found just east of the Shirley’s Bay boat launch on the 14th, and seen by many observers so far. This is the first sighting of this species in 7 years, in more or less the same spot. Next was a WHITE-EYED VIREO at Ferme Moore on the 10th but not reported again. In a distant 3rd place, there were 2 very late sightings: a WOOD THRUSH was at Ferme Moore on the 13th, and a SCARLET TANAGER in Brantwood Park on the 9-10th

Female Hooded Mergansers photographed at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden by Judith Gustafsson.

Winter arrived on the 11th, with heavy snow and unspeakably early cold. Unfortunately it is shaping up to be a repeat of last year’s early winter, or worse. Thus any surviving lingering land birds will be headed to feeders, and with ponds rapidly freezing up, the rivers are the places to go.

WATERBIRDS in general were here in good variety, with 23 species of DUCKS seen, although the numbers are not large, and as usual Shirley’s Bay to Britannia is the best area. Expect big drops as everything ices up. On the rivers, at least, ice currently restricted to the shore. The HARLEQUIN DUCK continues near the Adawe Bridge as of the 13th and 2 RUDDY DUCKS were at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 11th. A RED-THROATED LOON was at Shirley’s Bay on the 14th, and an AMERICAN COOT was at Dow’s Lake on the 13th.

KILLDEER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS at Emerald Meadows on the 10th were the last SHOREBIRDS reported.

A GOLDEN EAGLE was on Chemin Steele on the 9th. There have been a few scattered sightings of ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK.

An ICELAND GULL was at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 11th, with 5 other common species there from time to time.

House Finch photographed at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden by Judith Gustafsson.

Among the FINCHES, a WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL was in Gatineau on the 13th and there have been a few scattered sightings of PINE SISKIN here and there.

A number of late/ lingering birds were of note:

  • FOX SPARROW in Richmond on the 13th.
  • EASTERN BLUEBIRD in Almonte on the 14th.
  • WINTER WRENS in Forêt Boucher on the 8th, Britannia on the 9th, and one near Almonte on the 10th.
  • CAROLINA WREN in Britannia on the 9th.
  • RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET near Munster on the 14th
  • NORTHERN PA RULA in Kanata on the 8th.
  • YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER in Brantwood Park on the 10th.
  • CHIPPING SPARROW on the 14thnear Hawthorne and St. Laurent.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 7 November 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Harlequin Duck photographed by Judith Gustafsson at Strathcona Park.

The highlight of the week was a HARLEQUIN DUCK, which was found in the swift water around the Adawe Bridge on the 2nd, and was still there on the 4th. This was the first sighting of this species in over 2 years. Another good bird was the first sighting of the fall: 2 female CANVASBACKS at Shirley’s Bay (the inner bay) on the 4th, and at least one was still there on the 5th.

This week, among the land birds only a few hardier lingering ones, fewer than usual it seems, were notable: it was quite quiet away from the water. Temperatures were below seasonal most of the week, with the first snow of the season on the 7th. Very cold weather is in the forecast for several days, so expect some freezing of shallow ponds to start and the variety of birds to drop further, especially away from the rivers.

There was a good variety of WATERBIRDS this week, although the numbers were not large: about 500 at times at Shirley’s Bay, and as usual, Shirley’s Bay to Britannia was the best place. 25 species of DUCK were seen in the region this week. Up to 2 BARROW’S GOLDENEYE continue at Shirley’s Bay. Up to 3 RUDDY DUCKS have been at the Moodie Drive ponds. A BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Andrew Haydon Park on the 1st was late. A ROSSES GOOSE was near Winchester on the 6th, while flocks of 100+ BRANT have been seen flying/ on the river near Andrew Haydon Park.

Hooded Mergansers photographed by Judith Gustafsson at Dow’s Lake

A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON at Strathcona Park and Billings Bridge on the 3rd was late. An ICELAND GULL in the Deschênes rapids on the 3rd was the first for the fall.

A last few straggling TURKEY VULTURES were soaring over the city on the 5-6th. 2 sightings of GOLDEN EAGLE were on the 3rd over Tunney’s Pasture and on the 6th at Shirley’s Bay.

Among late SHOREBIRDS, a LESSER YELLOWLEGS was in the Cumberland Forest on the 6th and an AMERICAN WOODCOCK was in Sarsfield on the 6th.

A few other late sightings were notable:

  • A BLUE-HEADED VIREO was on the Pinecrest Creek Pathway on the 2nd.
  • A FIELD SPARROW was at the Almonte lagoons on the 3rd.
  • 8 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS was in Almonte on the 5th.
  • A SWAMP SPARROW was at Dow’s lake on the 6th.
  • A HERMIT THRUSH was at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden on the 5th
  • A WINTER WREN was in downtown Ottawa on the 5thand another was on Petrie Island on the 6th.
  • A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was at the Old Quarry trail on the 2nd.

Fox Sparrow photographed by Eric Lay at Brewer Park


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 31 October 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

There was one “treat” this week, a BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER at Parc Brébeuf on the 26th.

There was a fair bit of rain and generally above-seasonal temperatures, but it only translated into quite quiet conditions, especially as so many SHOREBIRDS and PASSERINES have cleared out. There will be a big “Trick” next week with near winter conditions expected, so a big change to the bird population is likely.

American Wigeon at Britannia, photographed by Jack Pelletier.

WATERBIRDS at least are in good supply. At the traditional areas of concentration, about 200 DUCKS of 8 species were at Baie Noire on the 29th, most of them AMERICAN WIGEON. On the 25th there, though, a thorough search turned up 1300 DUCKS of 16 species of DUCK, including a EURASIAN WIGEON and 5 REDHEAD. Most were RING-NECKED DUCKS and AMERICAN WIGEON. About 500 ducks of 13 species at Shirley’s bay on the 26th. Getting late were up to 3 BLUE-WINGED TEALS at Andrew Haydon Park at least until the 30th. The first of the season, an adult male BARROW’S GOLDENEYE was at Remic Rapids on the 28th. While 24 species of DUCK were seen this week, probably number and variety have peaked.

Aside from DUCKS, a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was at Crysler on the 29th and a RED-THROATED LOON was at Britannia pier on the 28th.

Among other WATERBIRDS, a COMMON GALLINULE was at the Almonte Lagoons and Baie Noire on the 25th, while 2 were at Shirley’s Bay on the 26th.

A late AMERICAN BITTERN was at Petrie Island on the 25th, and 2 late BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS were at Strathcona Park on the 31st.

7 species of SHOREBIRD were seen this week, but they were rather scattered sightings in small numbers. The heavy rain on the 31st-1st will likely wipe out the river SHOREBIRD habitat.

Sandhill Cranes photographed by Norbert Haché on McFadden near Frank Kenny Road.

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK and a NORTHERN GOSHAWK were at Stony Swamp on the 26th.

There were 2 very late sightings of RED-EYED VIREO: at Britannia on the 26th and in Richmond on the 30th. A GRAY CATBIRD in Almonte on the 26th was a bit late.

AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS have nearly reached their winter levels, with the others declining rapidly. A SAVANNAH SPARROW at Andrew Haydon Park on the 29th was a bit late.

There have been a couple of flyovers of COMMON REDPOLLS in Gatineau and Ottawa, the first of the season. Unfortunately this will not be a good winter for this species.

Finally, and this is disappointingly early but expected, WARBLERS have pretty much disappeared. Aside from a late BLACKBURNIAN WARLER at Meech Lake on the 28th, the last sighting was 7 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS on Dolman Ridge Road on the 29th.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 24 October 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The highlight this week was only a maybe, a possible PACIFIC LOON west of Dick Bell Park on 19th. The identification waits the final words of experts. A BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER at Lac Lapêche on the 20th was also a good one.

Seasonal temperatures and a fair bit of rain marked the week. Migration was slow this week, although there is little left to come through other than WATERFOWL. We are well into fall birding. About 100 species were seen on the eBird “Big Day” on the 19th, although variety and volume are declining almost daily.

WATERBIRD numbers are still good, with 3 species of GREBE and 22 species of DUCK seen this week. The best area is between Andrew Haydon Park and Shirley’s Bay, as usual. 3 species of SCOTER were at Shirley’s Bay on the 22nd. RUDDY DUCK, scarce this season, was there on the 21st. BLACK SCOTER and AMERICAN COOT were at Dow’s Lake on the 23rd. There was a bit of a movement on the 19th, with a RED-THROATED LOON seen at Shirley’s Bay. A few BRANT have been on the river this week, and a COMMON GALLINULE was at Shirley’s Bay on the 19th.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (middle) flanked by Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls photographed at Andrew Haydon Park by Tony Beck

With only 7 species of SHOREBIRD seen, and most of them expected, we are definitely near the seasonal end of this group. A SEMIPALMATED PLOVER at Baie Fraser on the 20th was a bit late.

Greater Yellowlegs photographed by Eric Leger at Andrew Haydon Park

A NORTHERN GOSHAWK and a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK were at Shirley’s bay on the 20th.

11 species of SPARROW were in the region this week including a NELSON’S SPARROW at Constance Bay on the 20th. Volume is low in most areas, though.

6 species of WARBLER were seen this week, but now anything other than YELLOW-RUMPED is not expected. Last sightings of other WARBLERS were:

  • ORANGE-CROWNED and NASHVILLE WARBLER at the Fletcher on the 21st.
  • NORTHERN PARULA at Shirley’s Bay on the 18th.
  • PALM WARBLER on Trail P17 in Gatineau Park on the 23rd.
  • PINE WARBLER in Crystal Beach on the 19th.

A few other notable sightings rounded out the week:

  • The first SNOW BUNTING of the season was at Constance Bay on the 22nd,
  • A BLUE-HEADED VIREO was at Lac Meech on the 22nd.
  • CAROLINA WREN has been seen in multiple spots from Petrie Island to Kanata.
  • A SCARLET TANAGER was in Britannia on the 18th.
  • A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was at Shirley’s bay on the 20th.
  • A PINE SISKIN was at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden (flyover) on the 23rd.
  • A GREEN HERON was at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden on the 24th.

Hermit Thrush photographed at Britannia by Deborah Mosher


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 17 October 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

There were 2 highlights this week. A EURASIAN WIGEON was seen at Shirley’s bay on the 11th but not since. On the 17th, 6 HUDSONIAN GODWITS (first of the year) were seen in the rapids from the western edge of Britannia ridge.

Note: The next eBird sponsored “Global Big Day” is on the 19th, so don’t forget to go birding that day!

Green winged Teals photographed at Andrew Haydon Park by Judith Gustafsson

Temperatures were seasonal to above, and dry until a major rainstorm on the 16-17th. It was exceedingly quiet for the season almost everywhere. Most areas seemed drained of birds and this was so among most groups of birds, with even expected fall birds here in low numbers.

Only a handful of SNOW GEESE have made it to the region, although 1000s are being seen at the sod farms east of Casselman. Although the WATERFOWL peak has not arrived, surprisingly there were fewer DUCKS this week compared to last week. 20 species of DUCK and 2 species of GREBE were all that were seen. 180 birds of 7 species were at Baie Noire on the 10th, and nearly 600 birds of 14 species were at Shirley’s Bay on the 15th, all of them expected. AMERICAN WIGEON were present in unusual numbers at Shirley’s Bay. SURF SCOTERS were last reported on the 11th, and BLACK SCOTERS on the 17th, both west of Dick Bell Park. A REDHEAD was at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 15th. 2 TRUMPETER SWANS were on Heaphy Road (in the southwest) on the 11th.

Bonaparte’s Gull photographed by Dale Poulter at Andrew Haydon Park

SANDHILL CRANES are here in their usual spot in the Milton-Frank Kenny area. A GOLDEN EAGLE was on Donnelly Drive on the 15th.

13 species of SHOREBIRD were seen this week, but sightings were scattered and no more that 15-20 birds were at any one spot. Habitat still remains good from Britannia to Constance Bay as of the 15th. Less common were an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at Andrew Haydon Park east on the 14th and a SOLITARY SANDPIPER at Lac McGregor on the 15th.

Other notable species included:

  1. A NORTHERN SHRIKE was on Heaphy Road (Southwest) on the 11th.
  2. A CAROLINA WREN was in Kanata on the 12thand at Petrie Island on the 15th
  3. A MARSH WREN was in Almonte on the 11thand at Shirley’s Bay on the 12th.
  4. A NELSON’S SPARROW was in Constance bay on the 12th.

Carolina Wren photographed at Petrie Island by Tony Beck

Finally, only 6 species of WARBLER were seen this week, and it is now tough to find anything but YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. Notable were an AMERICAN REDSTART on the Lime Kiln Trail on the 16th and an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER in Almonte on the 15th.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 10 October 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The highlight of the week was a EURASIAN WIGEON, seen on the Ottawa River near MacSkimming (private, unless a boat is used) on the 3rd, but not reported again.

House Wren photographed at Petrie Island by Norbert Haché.

The weather was characterized by seasonal temperatures and very dry conditions, with the first frost of the season on the 5th. Generally there was a sharp decline in most bird families, most evident among the WARBLERS. DUCKS, however, put on a good showing this week, particularly earlier, and SPARROWS were doing well.

23 species of DUCKS were seen this week, and 3 species of GREBE. The best showings were on the Ottawa River between Shirley’s Bay and Andrew Haydon Park, where all 3 species of SCOTER were seen, although none have been seen since the 8th. RED-BREASTED MERGANSER and RUDDY DUCK (on the 5th at Shirley’s Bay) were also seen. A REDHEAD was last seen at the Almonte lagoons on the 8th.

230 DUCKS of 8 species (most AMERICAN WIGEON) were at Baie Noire on the 8th, while about 300 DUCKS of 10 species were at Shirley’s Bay on the 10th. This is far from the peak, and the next cold fronts will likely bring in more for the next several weeks.

SHOREBIRDS are very much in seasonal decline, although there is no shortage of habitat. 11 species were seen in the last week. At Shirley’s Bay on the 10th there were 29 SHOREBIRDS of 4 species including 13 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS. Somewhat late was a LEAST SANDPIPER at Andrew Haydon Park on the 8-9th.

SPARROWS are rather conspicuous in some numbers in many spots. 13 species were seen this week, with FOX SPARROW being new for the fall. Late sightings included a VESPER SPARROW in Barrhaven on the 7th and Kanata on the 8th. An EASTERN TOWHEE was in Munster on the 7th.

White-crowned Sparrow photographed by Keith Wickens at Petrie Island.

A late EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE was at Shirley’s Bay on the 5th, and 3 TREE SWALLOWS were in Munster Hamlet on the 5th. This is likely it for most of the insectivores.

12 species of WARBLER were seen this week, but right now everything but YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS are in thin supply. Less than 5 species are being seen per trip.

In other odds and ends:

  • A SHRIKE (likely NORTHERN) was at Shirley’s bay on the 5th
  • 4 GRAY PARTRIDGE were in the fields off Robert Grant on the 3rd.
  • A SCARLET TANAGER was at Brewer Park on the 8th.
  • A WARBLING VIREO was at Britannia on the 8th.

Great Black-backed Gull photographed at Andrew Haydon Park by Judith Gustafsson.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 3 October 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The highlight of the week was a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, seen in the Dovercourt area on the 27th but not relocated. The first EURASIAN WIGEON of the year was at Baie Noire on the 29th.

Fall definitely arrived this week with much cooler temperatures, cloud and some rain. Large numbers of SONGBIRDS are leaving, but some species are still common, and SPARROWS are increasing. WATERBIRD variety and number is picking up in the better areas.

Wood Duck photographed by Jack Pelletier at Britannia.

The best places for WATERBIRDS now are Shirley’s Bay and Baie Noire. Baie Noire had over 500 birds of 10 species on the 29th, over 300 of them AMERICAN WIGEON. Shirley’s Bay had over 300 birds of 11 species. These areas will get better for about 4 weeks. In the meantime, some of the less common ones have been observed. A REDHEAD was at the Almonte lagoons most of the week until the 2nd. A RUDDY DUCK was at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 30th. 18 species of DUCKS were seen this week. Also notable were a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 30th and 4 in Almonte on the 2nd.

A CASPIAN TERN was at Shirley’s bay on the 28th.

The last few late migrant HAWKS are still passing through. Notably, a BROAD-WINGED HAWK was at the Bruce Pit on the 30th, and there were 4 separate sightings of RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS this week. 2 NORTHERN GOSHAWKS were seen on March road on the 28th.

SHOREBIRDS are well past their peak, but far from gone. Most notable was a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER in Constance Bay until the 28th and one at Shirley’s Bay on the 28th to the 30th. There were 20 SHOREBIRDS of 5 species at Shirley’s bay on the 2nd and still some at but there are still some at Andrew Haydon Park. 14 species were seen in the region this week, but there are not numbers anywhere.

Green Heron photographed by Jarrett Hather on Nepean Creek.

Most insect eaters are now late or very late. A very late COMMON NIGHTHAWK was at the Deschenes Rapids on the 1st. Late were a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER in Britannia on the 26th and another in the Dovercourt area on the 28th. An EASTERN WOOD PEWEE was in the Alta Vista area on the 1st.

A CAROLINA WREN was in Hull on the 1st.

KINGLETS, especially RUBY-CROWNED, are now here in some numbers. 2 PINE SISKINS were in Kanata on the 1st.

As mentioned, SPARROWS are doing well, notably WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS. Up to 2 NELSON’S SPARROW were seen at the mouth of Constance Creek until the 30th. The first AMERICAN TREE SPARROW of the season was in Crysler on the 1st and a CLAY-COLOURED SPARROW in Gatineau on the 29th was late.

WARBLERS are still doing fairly well, but that won’t last much longer. 21 species of WARBLER have been seen this week, 16 since the 1st. Some of the sightings have been a bit late, but none have been exceptional. 5-10 species have been seen in the better areas and the better times, although 11 species of WARBLER were at the Old Quarry trail on the 1st. ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS are now being seen from time to time in all areas.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 26 September 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Hooded Merganser photographed by Keith Wickens at Petrie Island.

The highlight of the week was not rare but was a first for the year: up to 5 NELSON’S SPARROWS at the mouth of Constance Creek on the 25th.

Warm weather early in the week was followed by a weather change and rain, but so far it has mostly resulted in a decline of migrants. There was a significant movement of THRUSHES on the night of the 23-24th.

WATERBIRD numbers and variety have increased modestly. The Almonte Lagoons had GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, as well as TRUMPETER SWANS and REDHEAD. CACKLING GEESE have been at the Richmond CA. The first of the fall RED-THROATED LOON was at Shirley’s bay on the 23rd-24th.

Great Egret photographed by Judith Gustafsson at Andrew Haydon Park.

SHOREBIRDS have been in short supply; almost certainly we are past the peak although we did have 16 species here in the last week. DUNLINS, however, have been seen in a few spots this week, including Andrew Haydon Park where there were only 3 species of SHOREBIRD. Constance Bay did have 41 birds of 6 species on the 25th. Shirley’s bay had modest numbers as well including a BAIRD’S SANDPIPER on the 23rd and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER on the 23-24th.

Most FLYCATCHERS have departed. A few notable late sightings have been:

  1. YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER in Carleton Place on the 19th.
  2. OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATHCER in Pakenham on the 23rd.
  3. 3 BARN SWALLOWS at Andrew Haydon Park on the 23rd.

A few other late sightings included:

  1. A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was at Val-des-Monts on the 25th.
  2. 2 EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILLS in the Huntmar area on the 20th.
  3. RED-HEADED WOODPECKER at Constance Bay on the 20th.
  4. RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD in Almonte on the 21stand in the Pontiac area on the 24th.
  5. BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO in the Dunrobin area on the 20th.
  6. YELLOW-THROATED VIREO on the 21stat Britannia and in the Alta Vista area on the 22nd.

A CAROLINA WREN is continuing at Petrie Island on the 25th, and there was an early sighting of LAPLAND LONGSPUR at Constance Bay on the 23rd.

Eastern Palm Warbler photographed by Tony Beck at the Trail Road landfill site.

Finally, WARBLERS are still in reasonable supply with 23 species of WARBLER seen in the region this week. However, we are very much past the peak now, with typically less than 10 species seen per trip even in the better areas. The next week will likely be last for seeing bigger numbers and variety. There have been a few scattered sightings of ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, which may not have peaked yet. Some later sightings included CANADA WARBLER, YELLOW WARBLER and NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 19 September 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Osprey with Smallmouth Bass photographed by Tony Beck at Andrew Haydon park. Note: this is also Ottawa’s first sighting of a flying fish.

The highlights of the week were a late WILSON’S PHALAROPE at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 18th, and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at the Carp River Watershed Reclamation area on the 16-18th.

Weather was seasonal to above temperatures with very little rain. The southerly winds and lack of any significant weather systems this week likely accounted for a generally static or declining population of migrants, although there were some. SONGBIRD and SHOREBIRD migration, while past their peak, are far from over.

Among the WATERBIRDS, there were some firsts of the fall: A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE flew over Kanata on the 17th, a SNOW GOOSE was at the Almonte Sewage Lagoons on the 15th, and 2 TRUMPETER SWANS were there on the 17th. Other than that there was just modest variety with little change from last week.

Pectoral Sandpiper photographed by Judith Gustafsson at Andrew Haydon Park.

While there were 19 species of SHOREBIRD in the region this week, volume and variety have dwindled. This was particularly so at Andrew Haydon Park east, where there were only 11 birds of 3 species on the 18th, although an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was there on the 16th. Still, there is still plenty of habitat around, so that area still merits checking. Elsewhere, there were 36 birds of 5 species at Constance Bay on the 15th, and 33 birds of 7 species at Shirley’s Bay on the 17th. A RUDDY TURNSTONE was in the Deschênes rapids on the 15th.

Insect eaters are rapidly departing. Although quite a few are here, most will not be around much longer. 3 COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were at Britannia on the 13th. YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS were at Britannia and Deschênes on the 15th, and one was in Richmond on the 18th. A BARN SWALLOW was at Shirley’s Bay on the 14th.

The RED-HEADED WOODPECKER continues in Constance Bay as of the 15th, a CAROLINA WREN continued both at Britannia and Petrie Island, and 2 EASTERN TOWHEES were at the Bruce Pit on the 17th.

Although generally migration was quiet, a number of species have become fairly regular, such as both species of KINGLETS and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW.

Belted Kingfisher photographed by Jack Pelletier at Andrew Haydon Park.

Finally, concerning the WARBLERS, variety remains excellent, as 23 species were seen in the region this week. At least 13 species were seen at Britannia on the 15th, and some areas are seeing 10+ species on good days, but many days have been rather quiet. PALM WARBLERS have become noticeable in many spots. However, some species are becoming rather scarce, particularly these 3:

  1. A MOURNING WARBLER at Ferme Moore on the 19th,
  2. A NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH at Britannia on the 15-16th, and at Deschênes on the 15th, and
  3. A CANADA WARBLER at Britannia on the 15thand at Lac la Pêche on the 15th.

 


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 12 September 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Long-tailed Jaeger photographed by Tony Beck at Andrew Haydon Park.

The first real rarity of the fall showed up at Ottawa Beach on the 7th, a sub-adult LONG-TAILED JAEGER. It was there for a few hours, then headed east about 2.30 and was not re-found. This is the first sighting of this species in the region for a number of years. A close second for the week was an adult male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, seen from the 2nd island at Shirley’s Bay on the 12th.

Somewhat cooler weather and northerly winds early in the week brought a steady stream of migrant SONGBIRDS, but some days were quiet. A few species have left for the year but most are still around. In the next few weeks, many birds will be seen for the last time this season. WATERBIRD numbers and variety have made only modest changes but SHOREBIRDS remain steady and good.

Among the WATERBIRDS, two early ones were a RED-NECKED GREBE at Andrew Haydon Park on the 10th and a BUFFLEHEAD at the Giroux Road Ponds on the 7th.

Red-necked Phalarope photographed by Norbert Haché at Andrew Haydon Park.

Again this week SHOREBIRDS were the big draw. Andrew Haydon Park (east) continues to be the prime spot. There is in fact good habitat from Andrew Haydon Park west to Britannia pier, but the area around Graham Creek is best, and the birds have become used to well-behaved humans. This week, 17 species of SHOREBIRD have been seen in this area. A LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was a bit farther east near Scrivens on the 12th. The RED-NECKED PHALAROPE(S), here as late as the 11th, were unusual for staying so long in one spot. RUDDY TURNSTONE (10-12th), BAIRD’S and STILT SANDPIPERS were 3 other less-common ones in the area. Barring heavy rain, this area will remain good for some time. As is to be expected, with the extensive habitat and variable weather conditions, the mix of SHOREBIRDS is in a state of constant flux, so the area merits regular checking. Aside from here, 2 other species have been seen, including an AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER on Twin Elm Road on the 8th. Shirley’s Bay, by contrast, has only been OK for SHOREBIRDS, with a scant selection at other spots like Parc Brébeuf.

Ruddy Turnstone photographed by Norbert Haché at Andrew Haydon Park.

FLYCATCHERS are noticeably departing. There have been a few scattered sightings of the migrants, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Mer Bleue on the 8th) and YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS. A late WILLOW FLYCATCHER was at Britannia on the 6th, and a late EASTERN KINGBIRD was on Greenbelt Trail 10 near Shirley’s Bay on the 11-12th, with 4 on the 11 at Chapman Mills.

All 4 regular VIREOS are being seen in multiple locations. A CAROLINA WREN was at Petrie Island on the 7th, continuing since the 31st. There was also one in Britannia as of the 10th.

The fall SONGBIRDS are starting to arrive. AMERICAN PIPITS have been seen a number of times this week. BROAD-WINGED HAWK migration is well underway.

A CLAY-COLOURED SPARROW was in Britannia on the 7th, and an EASTERN TOWHEE was at the Lime Kiln Trail on the 10th.

Finally, concerning the WARBLERS, the first ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS of the fall were at the Deschênes Rapids on the 7th and on Greenbelt Trail 10 near Shirley’s Bay on the 9th. 24 species have been seen in the region this week. 10-15 species have been seen per trip at better places and times. Britannia was particularly good on the 6th with 18 species of WARBLER and on 7th with a remarkable 21! However, some days and places have been a lot quieter; there were only 7 species on the 7th at Petrie Island.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 5 September 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The highlight of the week was SHOREBIRDS in general but specifically the unusually long-staying LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER at Andrew Haydon Park until at least the 4th. A WHIMBREL was at Shirley’s Bay for a few hours on the 30th.

Long-billed Dowitcher photographed at Andrew Haydon Park by Norbert Hache

 

Weather definitely had a late summer-early fall feel with some cooler temperatures and scattered rain. SONGBIRD and especially SHOREBIRD migration was quite noticeable.

The OFNC Seedathon took place in pleasant conditions on the 1st with 12 parties participating. 130 species were tallied with good showings for RAPTORS, SHOREBIRDS and WARBLERS, but WATERFOWL were low, as expected this time of year.

Speaking of SHOREBIRDS, this was an even better week than last for this group, with the 31st being an outstanding day if you timed it just right. Habitat is still excellent at Shirley’s Bay, with Andrew Haydon Park (usually east) being its equal or better at times. Parc Brébeuf has had small numbers of SHOREBIRDS this week but with good variety, so it is worth checking as long as river levels remain low. There were 6 birds of 6 species on the 4th including a BAIRD’S SANDPIPER. Unfortunately, habitat at Petrie Island has disappeared, and no other areas are particularly notable.

Stilt Sandpiper photographed at Andrew Haydon Park by Norbert Hache

At Andrew Haydon Park, on the 31st, in addition to the LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, there was a WILSON’S PHALAROPE, up to 3 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, and a RUDDY TURNSTONE, most of which disappeared in the early afternoon. At other times there were STILT and BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS. At Shirley’s Bay numbers were not as good as previously, but on the 2nd there was a STILT SANDPIPER and a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (eaten by a MERLIN). An AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was on Nixon Drive on the 2nd with 108 of this species being in the same spot on the evening of the 29th. This week in the region 22 species were reported, our best week of the year.

Of WATERBIRDS, as expected, we are quite early in the season, but some early arrivals of later common species were of interest. 10+ LESSER SCAUP have been regular at Shirley’s bay. A BUFFLEHEAD and COMMON GOLDENEYE were at the Giroux Road Ponds on the 31st. Small numbers of RING-NECKED DUCKS, 1 COMMON GOLDENEYE and 2 NORTHERN PINTAIL were at Baie Noire on the 1st.

COMMON NIGHTHAWKS are actively migrating. Up to 75 are being seen nightly at Britannia, with many other smaller groups have been seen in many other places, and not just in the evening.

2 BLACK TERNS were at Shirley’s Bay on the 1-2nd, which is getting late. 2 SANDHILL CRANES were in Almonte on the 1st.

Mourning Warbler photographed at Petrie Island by Norbert Hache

Many FLYCATCHERS are becoming scarce, and SWALLOWS have nearly vanished. Some sightings of the migrants include a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER on the 1st north of Lac La Blanche and on the 3rd in the Richmond CA. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was in La Pêche on the 31st, in the Pleasant Park Area on the 1st, and on Petrie Island on the 2nd.

A BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO was at Ferme Moore on the 31st. A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was near Dunrobin on the 1st, and the RED-HEADED WOODPECKER continues in Constance Bay as of the 3rd. The first RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET of the fall was at Chapman Mills on the 5th.

Some FINCH news: An EVENING GROSBEAK was near Chelsea on the 3rd and a PINE SISKIN was at Shirley’s Bay on the 1st.

WARBLER sightings have been good but not spectacular. 10-15 are being seen per trip in some of the better areas. 23 species of WARBLER have been seen this week in the region.


Earlier sightings are available on request ofnc@ofnc.ca