Recent bird sightings

/Recent bird sightings
Recent bird sightings 2019-08-15T20:58:22+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 15 August 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

It was yet another fairly quiet week in the region, with no major highlights. A few firsts of the fall did indicate that migration was in progress.

Temperatures continued to be seasonal, with scattered showers on a regular basis but no great accumulation, and no weather system big enough to bring birds down.

Blue-winged Teal photographed by Norbert Hache at Petrie Island

SHOREBIRD habitat continues to be excellent at Shirley’s Bay and elsewhere on the Ottawa River through to Petrie Island. The levels are low enough to get some exposure on the Quebec side as well. Unfortunately, the flats and shore are hosting mostly only modest numbers of common species. Still, these areas warrant checking regularly because things can change rapidly. For example, Shirley’s Bay did perk up a bit on the 15th, as noted below. A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE continued at the Richmond CA until the 10th. Regionally, 15 Species of SHOREBIRDS were seen this week, but many were only seen briefly.

Here is what was seen in some of the areas on the 13th:

  1. Shirley’s Bay had 85 birds of 6 species, including a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER. On the 15ththere were 120 birds of 9 species including 5 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and 3 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS.
  2. Almonte had 15 birds of 6 species, all common.
  3. Petrie Island had 34 birds of 7 species, all common.
  4. Andrew Haydon Park had 6 birds of 4 species, including a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER. A STILT SANDPIPER was there on the 12th.

Up to 3 LEAST BITTERNS continue at Constance Creek at Thomas Dolan as late as the 15th.

American Redstart at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, photographed by Judith Gustafsson

SONGBIRD migration continues to be minimal, somewhat surprising given the season. Britannia could only come up with 6 species of WARBLER on the 12th, while most areas are just seeing the residents. An all-day search of Rideau River PP did produce 12 species of WARBLER, so clearly at least some birds are coming through.

There was a CAROLINA WREN at Britannia on the 12th. Also of interest was a DARK-EYED JUNCO at Shirley’s Bay on the 11th, which is early this far south (they nest in the northern part of the region).

A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER in the Carp Hills near Dunrobin on the 11th was likely the local nester.

A few other migrants included a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER at the Deschenes Rapids on the 10th (also with 7 species of WARBLER), and Jack Pine Trail had an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER on the 13th.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 8 August 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Red-necked Phalarope photographed by Normand Larche near Gracefield

It was another fairly quiet week in the region, with a few interesting birds but no major highlights.

There was finally a bit of a change of the weather, with scattered thundershowers starting the 6th. So far it has not made major alterations to the bird population.

We are looking for participants for the Ottawa Seedathon, to take place on September 1st. Please see the end of the message for details.

Green Heron photographed by Judith Gustafsson at Strathcona Park

Again this week, SHOREBIRDS have been the main interest. The now extensive mudflats of Shirley’s Bay had about 150 SHOREBIRDS of 12 species on the 5th. Most have been LESSER YELLOWLEGS, WILSON’S SNIPE and KILLDEER, but there was a BAIRD’S SANDPIPER on the 4th, and a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE on the 4-8th. Richmond CA also had this species on the 5-8th, but little else. Petrie Island had habitat, with 22 birds of 7 common species on the 8th. There was plenty of habitat on the Ottawa River and elsewhere but very few birds. A few birds were reported in places like Andrew Haydon Park, the Deschênes Rapids, and Parc Brébeuf. A SANDERLING was seen in the Deschênes Rapids as well as Parc Brébeuf. In Almonte, only a few common SHOREBIRDS were seen.

A few WATERBIRDS were of note, primarily at Shirley’s Bay. Single BUFFLEHEAD, LESSER SCAUP, COMMON GOLDENEYE and AMERICAN COOT were there, probably the vanguards of the fall hordes.

Palm Warbler photographed at Mer Bleue by Gregory Zbitnew

Generally, there is little around that might be called migrants, aside from a few that have likely migrated from not very far away, like TENNESSEE WARBLER. Virtually all of the summer residents are still here, but not very vocal.

A few notable sightings included:

  1. A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO at the Reveler feeders near Cannamore on the 6thand another near Almonte on the same day.
  2. RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS are still at Constance Bay as of the 8th.
  3. Up to 4 LEAST BITTERNS have been seen at Thomas Dolan and Constance Creek, most recently on the 6th. One was seen on North Russell Road on the 4th, and one was at Baie McLaurin on the 2nd.
  4. SEDGE WRENS continue on Torbolton Ridge Road as of the 3rd.

Note Re: Ottawa Seedathon on September 1

The 2019 Ottawa Seedathon will take place Sunday, September 1st. As in the last few years, this will be a team effort where anyone can contribute. Participation in the seedathon is a fun and worthwhile way to contribute to bird records and to support the OFNC winter bird feeders.

There are two ways you can contribute:

  1. Bird anywhere within the 50-km region anytime on September 1st, and share the results with the Seedathon eBird account (Ottawa_seedathon). It doesn’t matter where you go, how long you spend, or whether the area is covered by other people. Try for a “Big Day” or bird your yard, your neighborhood, or your favorite patch. However, if you are looking for something different to do, why not go to some good but less frequently birded area? For example, we receive few contributions from Quebec, and some areas like Plaisance are excellent at this time of year. See reports of previous seedathons at ofnc.caBirds/Seedathon/historical Seedathon results.
  2. Make a financial contribution. OFNC is grateful to those who have donated in previous years. All funds raised go specifically to pay for bird seed for the many OFNC sponsored winter feeders. Maps of the OFNC feeder locations are at Birds/Where do I go. To make a donation, go to and specify that the donation is for the seedathon. The number of species found during the seedathon will be reported. A donation of a lump sum, or an amount corresponding to the number of species found will be appreciated.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 1 August 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Indigo Bunting photographed by Jarrett Hather near Vaan and Woodroffe.

It was another quiet week in the region, with no real highlights.

Likely it was quiet due to the extended stretch of warm to hot and mostly dry weather, unsuitable both for migration and for migrants to drop in and stay a while.

Concerning SHOREBIRDS, low water levels have meant considerable habitat at along the river, particularly at Shirley’s Bay, although mostly only the common species have been present. A STILT SANDPIPER was there on the 27th. During the week some habitat was visible on the Petrie Island Causeway: there were 18 birds of 5 species on the 30th. Although little has been seen, there would certainly be habitat on the Ottawa River west of Britannia. The Almonte Lagoons had 10 birds of 3 species on the 31st.

Generally there is still good variety around but little unexpected. 140 plus species have been seen in the region, including 6 (species of) SWALLOWS, 8 FLYCATCHERS, 9 SPARROWS and 18 WARBLERS.

An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at the Fletcher Wildlife garden on the 31st was the only real surprise, likely a very early migrant. RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were in Constance Bay as of the 31st, and SEDGE WRENS were on Torbolton Ridge Road on the 31st.

Black-crowned Night Heron photographed by Norbert Haché at the Champlain Street marsh.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 25 July 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

It was a quiet week in the region, with only a few signs of activity. Song level is dropping off quite a bit, but a few SONGBIRDS are straying a bit from their nesting territories.

The main interest is still SHOREBIRDS, although there have been few. The STILT SANDPIPER at Shirley’s Bay continued until the 20th. 2 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS were there on the 21st.

Sora photographed by Norbert Hache in the east end of Ottawa.

Water levels have dropped a bit and there is a small amount of habitat now at Petrie Island, which is only promising as there are only a few birds there. In fact, aside from Shirley’s Bay, few SHOREBIRDS are anywhere although the expanding river habitat is encouraging.

A few interesting sightings included:

  • SEDGE WRENS continue on Bowesville Road as of the 22nd.
  • 2 SANDHILL CRANES were at Burnt Lands PP on the 24th, where there are still numbers of CLAY-COLOURED and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS.
  • RED-HEADED WOODPECKER continues at Constance Bay on the 24th.
  • A BLACK TERN at Rideau River Provincial Park on the 19th.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 18 July 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Eastern Phoebe photographed by Jarrett Hather at the Black Rapids lock station.

We finally had a major highlight. A WHITE PELICAN was seen at Mooney’s Bay on the 14th, flying south. Unfortunately it was not found again.

Other than this, it was again as a fairly quiet week, possibly due to continuing warm to hot conditions, and certainly partly the result of the seasonal decline of bird song. However, there are some signs of activity, most notably among the SHOREBIRDS.

Gray Catbird photographed by Gregory Zbitnew at the Rockcliffe Airport Woods

Water levels have been somewhat static with the precipitation this week, but there is a modest amount of habitat and a few SHOREBIRDS at Shirley’s Bay, notably a STILT SANDPIPER on the 16-18th with a few other common species. Both Embrun and St. Albert had a modest amount of habitat on 13th, but with only a few of the more common species. Other spots like Almonte, the Giroux Road Ponds and the Moodie Drive Ponds had only a handful of common species. Numbers, however, should be steadily picking up and all known or possible habitat, in particularly Shirley’s Bay, merits regular checking from now on, especially during unsettled weather.

Among the WATERBIRDS, a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER at Remic Rapids on the 16th and a RING-NECKED DUCK at the Giroux Road ponds on the 14th were notable.

Hairy Woodpecker at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, photographed by Judith Gustafsson

A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 12th. 2 BLACK TERNS at were at the Almonte Lagoons on the 15th, and 2 CASPIAN TERNS were there on the 11th.

LEAST BITTERN and CASPIAN TERN were at Shirley’s Bay on the 17th.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS continue at Constance bay. There were 3 there on the 15th.

A LINCOLN’S SPARROW was at the “Nortel” marsh on the 15th.

A WILSON’S WARBLER was at the Rockcliffe Airport woods on the 13th, likely a lost bird and one of very few summer records of this species.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 11 July 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Northern Harrier photographed on Frank Kenny Road by Janice Stewart.

The only highlight were two modest ones: A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD on McCordick Road was quite conspicuous and vocal at times, and a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was at Britannia on the 9th.

It was a fairly quiet week, birdwise. Very warm to hot conditions prevailed most of the week and it is actually getting a bit on the dry side. Ottawa River water levels have dropped by another 20-30 cm in the last week. Rideau River water levels are also getting low.

As expected, there is still just a trickle of SHOREBIRDS. On the 9th there was modest habitat at Embrun with 15 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and 2 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS. There was a bit of habitat at St. Albert but few birds. A female RUDDY DUCK there was of interest.

The first trips to the Shirley’s Bay Dike have produced a good assortment of birds including a CASPIAN TERN there on the 9th. There were 5 LESSER YELLOWLEGS and 1 LEAST SANDPIPER at on the 10th but unfortunately very little SHOREBIRD habitat.

A LEAST BITTERN was at Stony Swamp on the 7th.

The marshes on the Ottawa River, such as Marais aux Grenouillettes and Petrie Island are generally giving a good variety of the regular birds but not that much else yet.

Likewise, heavily forested areas are giving a good variety of the expected birds.

Finally, 2 SEDGE WRENS were on Chemin Cook in Gatineau on the 7th, and one was on Rifle Road on the 8th.

Northern Rough-winged Swallows photographed by Judith Gustafsson near Strathcona Park.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 4 July 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Indigo Bunting photographed by Gregory Zbitnew at Rockcliffe Airport.

Like last week, the summer doldrums continue. That is, bird activity has been static, with almost nothing moving in or out. The number of birders out is much lower too. That being said, there were still about 150 species seen in the region in the last week, and song volume is still decent. So this is the time to look for scarce summer residents or in obscure areas, and for nesting activity as the fledglings become more visible.

There is some good news with respect to the Ottawa River water levels, which have dropped close to 40 cm in the last week and are now close to normal. Should this continue we can hope for decent shorebird habitat in a few weeks.

Among the WATERBIRDS, most unusual were up to 6 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS at the Almonte Lagoons, on the 30-1st. 3 TRUMPETER SWANS were seen west of Munster on the 3rd. A RING-NECKED DUCK was on Perimeter Road on the 1st.

2 LEAST SANDPIPERS and 1 LESSER YELLOWLEGS at St. Albert on the 1st were likely our first southbound SHOREBIRDS of the season, one of the few signs of bird movement this week.

Marshes on the Ottawa River are perking up but still wet in spots. Marais aux grenouillettes had a LEAST BITTERN on the 1st. BLACK TERNS appear to be restricted to Plaisance.

A SANDHILL CRANE was on Vance’s Sideroad on the 1st.

The OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at still at Mer Bleue on the 28th.

A few other birds of note included:

  • The YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was still on Dobson Lane as of the 30th.
  • A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was on McCordick Road most of the week and as late as the 3rd.
  • A SEDGE WREN was on the Watts Creek pathway on the 1st.
  • 2 EVENING GROSBEAKS (fly overs) were near Dunrobin on the 28th.
  • A NORTHERN PARULA was at Britannia on the 29th.

Good news!

The Shirley’s Bay Causeway is now reopened for birding. However, DND has advised extra caution as the causeway is in rough shape. They have also requested that if any garbage can be removed it would be appreciated.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 27 June 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Northern Flicker photographed in the Arboretum by Judith Gustafsson

The FRANKLIN’S GULL at Britannia Point and vicinity was last seen on the 21st.

The region has now settled into the summer doldrums, weatherwise and birdwise, and will probably stay that way until the first hints of fall migration, which are likely 4 weeks away.

Wild Turkey in Beacon Hill, photographed by Gregory Zbitnew

Mostly the usual species are on the nesting grounds. Some of the scarcer species this week included:

  1. 2 TRUMPETER SWANS were on Dunrobin Lake on the 26th.
  2. The YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO continues on Dobson lane as of the 26th,
  3. The RED-HEADED WOODPECKER continues in Constance bay as of the 26th.
  4. OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS were at Mer Bleue and Beckett Creek Bird Sanctuary on the 21st.
  5. The YELLOW-THROATED VIREO were on Huntmar was there until at least the 25th.
  6. A few BONAPARTE’S GULLS were at Britannia as late as the 22nd.
  7. A SANDHILL CRANE was at Rideau River PP on the 21st.
  8. LEAST BITTERNS continue on the Jock River near Carleton place. There were also 2 at Baie Mclaurin.
  9. A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was near Munster on the 26th.
  10. A LINCOLN’S SPARROW near Richmond on the 21st, not a usual location for this time of year.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 20 June 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Double-crested Cormorant photographed at Brewer Park by Judith Gustafsson

The highlight of the week was a (and possibly 2) FRANKLIN’S GULL at Britannia Point and vicinity from the 17th to at least the 19th. It was flying around with up to 12 BONAPARTE’S GULLS, and until the 18th was often perched on the stray dock, which has since been removed. The YELLOW-THROATED VIREO on Huntmar was there until at least the 19th.

There have just been a handful of likely migrants as we settle into the summer nesting season, and for a change the weather has been seasonal. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at Mer Bleue on the 19thwas likely a very late migrant.

As we settle into summer, this is the time to find the regular and irregular nesting species. Due to the flooding, the marshes along the Ottawa River to the south are poorly developed and there is little to be seen, although a CASPIAN TERN flies up and down the river from time to time. The marshes on the Quebec side are more productive. At Baie McLaurin there was a LEAST BITTERN on the 16th. At Baie Noire and elsewhere nearby BLACK TERNS are nesting. Marais des Laîches has been good and 2 SEDGE WRENS were at Marais des grenouillettes on the 13th.

House Wren photographed at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden by Judith Gustafsson

For those adventurous enough for a river cruise, the Jock River and associated wetlands are excellent but you need to pilot your own craft. 8 LEAST BITTERNS were observed on a trip starting near Carleton Place, along with 6 TRUMPETER SWANS. A trip starting near Richmond had YELLOW-THROATED VIREO and YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO. The Richmond Conservation area has been good for the usual marsh birds including COMMON GALLINULE, SORA and VIRGINIA RAIL.

RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS are back in their usual spot in Constance Bay as of the 20th, and one was in Munster on the 16th. A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO has been irregular on Dobson Lane in Richmond as late as the 19th.

Burnt Lands Provincial Park has been good for UPLAND SANDPIPER as well as SPARROWS. Similar SPARROWS can be found south of the International Airport but it is harder due to the noise and being restricted to public roads. However, there were still 2 SEDGE WRENS on Bowesville Road on the 17th.

The best spots for WARBLERS are the large forested tracts in the north, such as Gatineau Park and north of Buckingham. In the east, Larose forest is good. GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS are still being seen on Thomas Dolan. Closer to town, Pine Grove Trail has both CANADA and MOURNING WARBLERS.

In other odds and ends, a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was in the Munster area on the 16th, and 3 CAROLINA WRENS were in Chapel Hill on the 15th.

Green-winged Teal photographed at Mer Bleue by Gregory Zbitnew

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 13 June 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Grasshopper Sparrow photographed in Burnt Lands Provincial Park by Keith Wickens

There were still a few highlights as migration faded away. The MARBLED GODWIT was seen again at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 7-8th. A fairly consistently singing YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was heard on Huntmar near the Carp River until the 12th.

The weather finally turned into summer, and migration came to a close this week. By the end of the week, virtually everything seen was a nesting species, with song at a high level.

Likely a sign of their increase, TRUMPETER SWANS were seen/ heard in the Marlborough Forest, Almonte, and Dunrobin, mostly recently on the 10th.

A few lingering species of WATERBIRDS were of note

  1. SNOW GOOSE near Baie Noire on the 12th
  2. RED-BREASTED MERGANSER at Shirley’s bay-Grandview on the 6th.
  3. 2 NORTHERN PINTAIL at Marais aux Laîches on the 12th.
  4. BRANT at the Deschênes rapids on the 7th.
  5. LESSER SCAUP at Moodie Drive until the 8th.
  6. RED-THROATED LOON near Cantley on the 11th.
  7. A GREBE of uncertain species on the Rideau River near Hurdman on the 8th

Eastern Bluebird photographed by Judith Gustafsson near Wakefield

The last few migrant SHOREBIRDS were seen this week:

  1. WILSON’S PHALAROPE on the 7-8that Moodie Drive
  2. SEMIPALMATED POLVER at Moodie Drive on the 7th.
  3. SOLITARY SANDPIPER at the Bill Mason Centre on the 6th.
  4. 2 SEMIPALAMTED SANDPIPERS at Emerald meadows on the 9th.
  5. 2 RUDDY TURNSTONES at Britannia Point on the 7thand 1 on the 8th.
  6. GREATER YELLOWLEGS at Marais aux Laîches on the 12th.

A YELLOW RAIL was in the Richmond Fen on the 8th and LEAST BITTERNS were at Stony Swamp on the 11th and Constance creek on the 8th.

A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was near Kemptville on the 12th. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was at Ferme Moore on the 9th and a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was at Maple Hill Park on the 12th.

A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was in Manotick on the 8th and SEDGE WRENS continue on Bowesville Road as of the 12th.

A Single EVENING GROSBEAK was on Belvedere road on the 8th.

Finally, the migrant WARBLERS have left, with BLACKPOLL WARBLER in Andrew Haydon Park on the 10th likely being the last of them. The 19 nesting species are all on their nesting grounds, with only 5-6 species being found in most areas outside the large forested tracts.

Purple Martin photographed by Gregory Zbitnew in Orleans

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 6 June 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Some more excellent birds highlighted the week, although unfortunately they were only seen by the first observers. On the 2nd, a WILLET was seen flying by Britannia point, on the 5th, 2 RED PHALAROPES (non-breeding plumage and our first summer record) were seen from Britannia Pier/ Yacht Club, 2 RED KNOTS were at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 4th, and on the 6th a MARBLED GODWIT was seen at the Moodie Drive ponds. As is so often the case, all 4 species disappeared from view without a trace.

Marbled Godwit photographed by Adolph Kendall at the Moodie Drive ponds.

Persistent cool, cloudy and damp weather was not enjoyable, but was probably a factor in some of the rarities found, as well as the presence of a number of lingering/ late species. The weather turned warm on the 6th, and the forecast of hot summer weather next week will likely be the effective end of spring migration.

Late WHITE-WINGER SCOTERS were on the Ottawa River on the 3rd. Otherwise, WATERBIRDS were mostly the expecting nesting species in inland ponds. LESSER SCAUP was at the Moodie Drive ponds until the 5th.

The first ARCTIC TERNS of the season were seen from Britannia Point on the 31st-4th, but these views were distant/ fleeting. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Moodie Drive ponds as late as the 6th. CASPIAN and BLACK TERN are seen in these ponds from time to time, with other scattered reports of CASPIAN TERN elsewhere.

2 YELLOW RAILS were heard again at the Richmond fen on the 31st.

It was quite a week for SHOREBIRDS. Aside from the ones noted above, a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was off the Britannia Yacht Club on the 3-4th, and among the scattered sightings of RUDDY TURNSTONE, as very “tame” one was seen regularly right at the feet of birders at Britannia Point. About 14 species were seen in the region, this week, with DUNLIN and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS being the most widespread.

Ruddy Turnstone photographed by Mike Tate at Britannia Point.

A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was at a feeder in Constance Bay on the 30th to 1st.

Late migrant FLYCATCHERS included a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER at the Rockcliffe Airporet woods on the 2nd and another near Green’s Creek on the 5th. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at the Rockcliffe Airport on 1st-2nd was unusually long staying. It or another was seen on the 5th and one was at Ferme Moore on the 1st.

A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was at the South March Highlands Conservation forest on the 4th, and a CAROLINA WREN was in Gatineau on the 1st. A SEDGE WREN was south of the Ottawa Airport on the 2nd.

A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW on Grandview road on the 1st was late, as was a COMMON REDPOLL at a feeder in Constance Bay on the 30th.

24 species of WARBLER were seen this week, the weather being a likely factor. There were still numbers of TENNESSEE WARBLERS, and a late ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was near the Rockcliffe Airport on the 3rd and the 5th.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 30 May 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Prairie Warbler photographed near Dunrobin by Howard Morrison

Some excellent birds highlighted the week. The top one was a male PRAIRIE WARBLER, found on Thomas Dolan near Carp Road. It was seen and was singing continually from the 24th to at least the 27th. Next was a breeding plumage CATTLE EGRET, seen briefly at St. Albert on the 28th. The third best was a WHIMBREL, seen at the Moodie drive ponds on the 26-27th, one of very few of this species that stayed nearly a whole day. Tied for 3rd place may have been YELLOW RAIL, rediscovered in the Richmond Fen after an absence of many years. It was heard on the 24-27th.

The peak of SONGBIRD migration was probably the weekend of the 24-26th. Weather has been variable and unsettled, and with the general slowness of the season stragglers will probably be coming through for 1-2 weeks. SHOREBIRD migration will probably peak this weekend if it has not already done so.

There are few WATERBIRDS around, as expected. A RED-THROATED LOON at Constance Bay on the 27th, however, was new for the year. This is the season for the late ones, such as the modest flocks of BRANT that have been seen flying along the river corridors. So keep watching the rivers. Notable this week were:

  1. 2 TRUMPETER SWANS near Dunrobin on the 24-26th, and 2 near Almonte on the 29th.
  2. A late LONG-TAILED DUCK near Cantley on the 27th.
  3. One lingering SNOW GOOSE at the Giroux road pond on the 24-25th.
  4. 13 LONG-TAILED DUCKS and 85 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS in THE Deschenes rapids on the 24th.

There have been no great concentrations of SHOREBIRDS this week. Holland’s Marsh has had a few included a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER. A rest stop overlooking Baie Noire had modest numbers of mostly common SHOREBIRDS plus SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS on the 26-27th, and on the 26th a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE and 2 WHIMBRELS flying by.

Lesser Scaup photographed at Andrew Haydon Park by Eric Leger

There were only modest numbers at St Albert (but this included a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE on the 29th) and Embrun. 5 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS were at Marais aux grenouillettes on the 30th. A WILSON’S PHALAROPE was at the Carp River Watershed Restoration Area on the 28th.

A RUDDY TURNSTONE was at Britannia on the 26-28th, 25 at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 26th, and 7 on Lake Madawaska on the 26th.

The Moodie Drive ponds had BLACK TERN, CASPIAN TERN, and COMMON TERN on the 30th, but not all at the same time.

A late ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was in Dunrobin on the 25th, and a GOLDEN EAGLE was reported in Gatineau Park on the 25th.

A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was in Gatineau Park on the 24th, and a LEAST BITTERN was at the Richmond CA on the 27th.

There have been scattered sightings of both OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER and YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER this week but there were no consistent spots.

Chestnut-sided Warbler photographed in Pinhey Forest by Jarrett Hather

A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was at Britannia on the 30th, and SEDGE WREN was in the Richmond Fen. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was near Britannia Beach on the 28th, and a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was at Britannia on the 25th and near Pinecrest on the 26th.

21 species of WARBLER were in Britannia on the 24th, and likely 26 were in the region that day including the rarity mentioned above. 2 GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLERS that day on Thomas Dolan are likely there for the season.

Some late sightings inlcuded:

  1. A RUSTY BLACKBIRD on Dolman Ridge Road on the 26th.
  2. A WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW at Stony Swamp on the 27th.
  3. A RUBY-CROWNED KINGET near Lemieux Island on the 28thand in Gatineau Park on the 29th.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 23 May 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

The bird of the week was a FRANKLIN’S GULL, seen briefly on the 19th at a wet area just west of Antrim.

Indigo Bunting photographed by Carole Duford in South Mountain.

The weather finally improved to near seasonal by the 19th, resulting in a steady stream of migrants and some good days in some places. There were about 14 species arrivals this week. Only the latest SONGBIRD migrants have yet to arrive, and SHOREBIRD numbers are rising but are probably not at their peak.

Mostly WATERFOWL sightings have not been notable, although large flocks of BRANT are starting to come through. 1000 SNOW GEESE at the Giroux road Ponds on the 19th were notable for the number this late in the season. 3 TRUMPETER SWANS were at Constance Creek on the 20th.

A BLACK TERN was seen on the 18th at the Moodie Drive Ponds, and a CASPIAN TERN was there on the 19th. Numbers of BLACK TERNS are now at Baie Noire.

SHOREBIRD migration has really picked up. The best spot lately has been Holland’s Marsh (old Hwy 17 just west of Antrim), which hosted hundreds of birds on the 19th, a particularly blustery day. New arrivals there included BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, WHITE-RUMPED and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. 13 species have been seen there this week, although not all at one time. LEAST SANDPIPER, LESSER YELLOWLEGS and DUNLIN have been the most common. This spot merits close watch in the next 2 weeks.

A GOLDEN EAGLE in Alta Vista on the 23rd was unusually late.

Yellow-throated Vireo photographed by Lorraine Elworthy at Beryl Gafney Park.

All the regular FLYCATCHERS have now been seen. A WILLOW FLYCATCHER was heard on Twin Elm Road on the 19th. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was seen on the 18th in Orleans, and two were seen on the 20th in the Parc Champlain area of Gatineau. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was seen at Ferme Moore on the 20th.

A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was in Richmond on the 21st.

YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was in Beryl Gaffney Park on the 20th, and another was on Huntmar on the same day.

A GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH was at the Rockcliffe Airport on the 19th. A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was in Gatineau, and another was in Greely on the 21st.

Brown headed Cowbird photographed at Chapman Mills by Jarrett Hather.

The last 2 regular WARBLERS have arrived, and this week all 25 of them were seen. New were WILSON’S WARBLER in the Bel Air Park are of Ottawa on the 17th, and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS which have been seen in very small numbers since the 16th. A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was on Thomas Dolan on the 20th. Many areas are now seeing 15+ species in a single trip. 20 species were in Britannia on the 17th. One species seen in rather large numbers compared to previous years has been BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER.

INDIGO BUNTINGS seem to have been going to feeders all over Ottawa.

Finally, 6 EVENING GROSBEAKS are continuing in Munster as of the 18th, there are still a few in Gatineau, and there seems to be a mini PINE SISKIN invasion, but oddly enough only in the eastern part of Ottawa.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 16 May 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Nashville Warbler photographed by Sandra Dashney at Rockcliffe Airport

The bird of the week was a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, seen in Blossom Park on the 9-11th. Probably equally good but unnoticed was a EURASIAN WIGEON at Baie Noire on the 12th-seen from the rest stop on Route 148. Also good was a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER at the Old Quarry Trail on the 11th.

Other than that, cool, often rainy, weather and unfavourable winds gave us rather few migrants. It was very quiet for being near the peak of migration. Perhaps next week will give us some action, but then that is what we thought last week. Still, at least some birds are coming in, and about 15 species were new for the year.

WATERBIRDS, again, were not notable. There were, however, 7 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS in the Deschenes Rapids on the 11th. 30 SNOW GEESE at the Giroux Road Ponds on the 15th were getting late.

Baltimore Oriole photographed by Jarrett Hather at Jock River Landing

One of the better marsh areas now that the so many are flooded is the Richmond Conservation area. A number of SORA, a VIRGINIA RAIL, COMMON GALLINULE and 3 MARSH WRENS were there on the 11th.

9 LEAST SANDPIPERS were at Holland’s Marsh near Kinburn on the 11th, while on the 14th EMBRUN had 14 birds of 14 BIRDS of 4 species including PECTORAL SANDPIPER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER and WILSON’S PHALAROPE. Mostly there have been few SHOREBIRDS and little habitat, but we are 2 weeks from the peak.

A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 11th. The first LEAST BITTERN was at Stony Swamp on the 12th.

Both EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (13th) and ALDER FLYCATCHER (9th) arrived this week but these are isolated sightings so far. The first EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL was on Kettles Road on the 14th.

Among the SONGBIRDS, SCARLET TANAGER (10th) and PHILADELPHIA VIREO (15th) were new.

The CAROLINA WREN was still in Navan as of the 11th, and another was at the Old Quarry trail on the 11th.

New arrivals among the WARBLERS were TENNESSEE, C

Scarlet Tanager photographed by Corinna Chaudhary at Rockcliffe Airport

APE MAY (both at Britannia), BLACKPOLL and MOURNING WARBLERS (both on the 15th at Foret Chantegrive in the Plateau area of Gatineau). A GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was at the Nepean Tent and Trailer Park on the 13th. Now 23 of the 25 regular WARBLERS have arrived, and most of nesting species are on territory, but most days have been sparse of migrants. NORTHERN PARULA seemed particularly widespread in the non-nesting areas.

Finally, a few winter birds continue to linger. A BOHEMIAN WAXWING was in Gatineau Park-Trail 5 on the 11th, a COMMON REDPOLLS at a feeder in Kanata on the 15th, a few lingering EVENING GROSBEAKS were west of Stittsville (at a feeder) and on Dolman Ridge Road as of the 15th, and AMERICAN TREE SPARROWS were still around as of the 15th.

Blackburnian Warbler photographed by Norbert Haché at Britannia

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 9 May 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Northern Mockingbird photographed at Westboro Beach by Norbert Hache

The bird of the week was a WHITE-EYED VIREO, seen briefly in Carp on the 7th, but not relocated. A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was seen briefly at the Rockcliffe Airport on the 5th. However, the real star was a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD which was quite vocal and visible at Westboro Beach on the 2nd-5th. The CAROLINA WREN was quite vocal at times in Navan until at least the 5th.

Weather was a mixed bag with some cool and rainy days, as well as the first warm day of year. Quite a few birds arrived this week, but without fanfare: there were no big fallouts. On May 4, ebird sponsored “Global Big Day”, the region tallied an impressive diversity of about 150 species, with many new for the year.

Continuing high water levels continue to block access to Britannia and the Shirley’s Bay Dike. The best bet under these circumstances is to go to any of the Greenbelt areas, inner city parks like Vincent Massey, Hurdman or the Arboretum/Fletcher Wildlife Garden. With any luck, there will be a significant migration push in the next week.

Despite 20 species of DUCK seen this week, there are no big concentrations and viewing is more of a challenge on the Ottawa river with the high water levels. Some spots east of Gatineau along Route 148 are producing some good viewing, as ironically the high levels are bringing the DUCKS closer. 2 TRUMPETER SWANS were seen near Munster and another near Dunrobin on the 4th. 2 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were seen on the Carp River at Thomas Dolan on the 4th.

Northern Shovelers photographed at Brewer Park by Judith Gustafsson

With close to 25 first-of-the-year species seen this week, it is pleasant and rare to say that there are too many to list! A diverse range of families was represented in this tally.

New SHOREBIRDS only included a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER at “Holland’s Marsh” near Antrim on the 4th and a WILSON’S PHALAROPE at Embrun on the 7th. COMMON TERN arrived at the Moodie Drive Ponds and elsewhere.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker photographed at Jack Pine Trail by Jarrett Hather

LEAST and GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS are now here in many spots. WARBLING and RED-EYED VIREOS are here but are not abundant, likewise for VEERY and WOOD THRUSH.

2 RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS at Val des Monts and 1 in Almonte on the 8th. 9 MARSH WRENS were at the Goodwood Marsh on the Jock River on the 8th. BOBOLINK and BALTIMORE ORIOLE and now in multiple spots.

GRASSHOPPER SPARROW is back at Burnt Lands PP, while a CLAY-COLOURED SPARROW was near Richmond.

The WARBLER tally is now at 17. The earliest was probably a BAY-BREASTED WARBLER near Carleton University on the 8th. Others included: CHESTNUT-SIDED, BLACK-THROATED BLUE, BLACKBURNIAN and MAGNOLIA WARBLERS, as well as OVENBIRD, NORTHERN PARULA, AMERICAN REDSTART and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT.

Many of the winter/ early spring birds are clearing out, but there are still numbers of EVENING GROSBEAKS and COMMON REDPOLLS at some feeders, and still numbers of FOX SPARROWS in the woods. A late ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was at Marais Trepanier on the 4th.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 2 May 2019

by Greg Zbitnew at

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher photographed in Navan by Mario Botros

The highlight of the week was a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER seen in Navan from the 27th to at least the 30th.

Weather was rather poor for migration most of the week, the 1st being particularly rotten. Flooding has now limited access to some premier spots such as Britannia. Still, birds are trickling in. The weekend looks promising for migrants, although the big push of SONGBIRDS is probably 1-2 weeks away. Woodlots away from the river and some inland ponds may be the best bet in the next week.

REMEMBER: May 4 is eBird sponsored Global Big Day, so get out birding and put your checklists on eBird!

Great Egret photographed near Black Rapids by Jarrett Hather

There is good diversity of WATERBIRDS on the Ottawa River and inland ponds such as Moodie Drive and Giroux (REDHEAD on the 27th). However, there are no big concentrations. The Richmond Conservation Area had up to 3 LONG-TAILED DUCKS most of the week, and both SORA and VIRGINIA RAIL were present there this week. An AMERICAN COOT was on Frank Kenny Road on the 27th, where there was still quite a bit of water. 3 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were near Carp on the 27th.

A SOLITARY SANDIPER was at Twin Elm on the 30th, but other SHOREBIRDS were mostly just a lot of scattered sightings of YELLOWLEGS.

A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at the Moodie Drive Ponds (Barnsdale side) as late as the 30th.

New arrivals among the insectivores included 2 CHIMNEY SWIFT near Navan on the 26th, and 2 EASTERN KINGBIRDS near Constance Bay on the 30th.

Of the new SONGBIRDS, a SWAINSON’S THRUSH at the Rockcliffe Airport Woods on the 1st was new. A ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK at the Fletcher Wildlife gardens on the 28th was our first since the winter.

Chipping Sparrow photographed near Black Rapids by Jarrett Hather

The CAROLINA WREN in Navan has been singing regularly, and was last seen/ heard on the 30th.

The WARBLER tally for the year is now 8. New additions were:

  1. YELLOW WARBLER at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden on the 28th.
  2. BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER at the Richmond Conservation area on the 28th.
  3. NASHVILLE WARBLER in Cumberland on the 28th.
  4. 2 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH at Val des Monts on the 29th.
  5. BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER in the Parkdale-Westboro woods on the 28th.

There are still some winter lingerers. EVENING GROSBEAKS (40 in Chelsea), COMMON REDPOLLS, PINE SISKINS and BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS (150 at Ferme Moore) are still around here and there. A HOARY REDPOLL in Constance Bay on the 29th was especially notable. 20 SNOW BUNTINGS were near Luskville on the 28th.


Earlier sightings are available on request