OFNC members compare bird songs, learn nesting etiquette, and enjoy spectacular birding along Gatineau trails. 

by Sophie Roy with photos by Norbert Haché

On the 9th of June, members of the OFNC enjoyed the birds of Gatineau park with leaders Justin Peter and Sophie Roy.  26 people attended the outing this year.

As usual, we started the day off at P8 in Gatineau Park. The group had a great opportunity to compare Chipping Sparrow and Pine Warbler songs early in the morning. From the parking lot we headed towards the “P8 pond” where we observed Wood Ducks, Green Herons (see photo above), Purple Finch, Belted Kingfisher and a pair of nesting Pied-billed Grebes. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird offered great views as it landed in a bare tree in front of the group.

Blackburnian Warbler photographed by Norbert Haché.

The next stop was the parking lot across from the Skyline Lodge on chemin de Lac Meech, where we heard Winter Wren, Eastern Phoebe and Eastern Wood-pewee, among others. The Huron and Étienne Brulé lookouts provided great views of Indigo Buntings. Thankfully the whole group was able to enjoy the sight and song of this species. The Étienne Brulé lookout also had Broad-winged Hawk, Blackburnian Warbler (see photo), Black-throated Blue Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler and American Redstart.

The outing ended with a nice 2-hour hike from Champlain lookout. Along the trail we heard many Ovenbirds, Black-throated Blue Warblers, Black-throated Green Warblers, Veery, Hermit Thrush, among others. We were able to witness a Red-eyed Vireo going to and from its nest – a good opportunity to discuss some birding etiquette within the group. It is important to never draw attention to a bird’s nest, as nearby intelligent predators such as crows will quickly notice and can raid the nest you are observing.

Male Scarlet Tanager photographed by Norbert Haché.

Near the end of our hike we were rewarded with a beautiful male Scarlet Tanager (see photo). The non-bird highlight for the trip was a snapping turtle laying eggs on the side of a road.