Recent bird sightings

/Recent bird sightings
Recent bird sightings 2018-11-09T01:34:52+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.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 8 November 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Eastern Phoebe photographed by Vincent Fyson at the Giroux Road ponds

The bird of the week was a KING EIDER, probably a second winter male, seen from the Boat launch at Shirley’s Bay. It gave distant but clear views most of the afternoon of the 4th.  Meanwhile, last week’s star, the WHITE-EYED VIREO, continued at the north end of Champlain St. in Orleans until the morning of the 4th, and then again on the 6th and 7th. In third place was the first PURPLE SANDPIPER of the year, seen at Britannia Pier on the 3rd, but not relocated.

The weather was mostly cool, windy and rainy with a few sunny days-not enough to have a dramatic effect on birding. That may come with snow and cold temperatures predicted for next week, which will likely start to freeze the ponds and marshes.  For now we just had a steady decline in numbers of species across the board, with the exception of DUCKS and GULLS.

25 species of DUCK were seen this week, perhaps our highest diversity of the year, but at most a few hundred were seen at any given location. Shirley’s Bay to Andrew Haydon Park still has excellent variety. BARROW’S GOLDENEYE continues at Hurdman as of the 7th, while the CANVASBACK continues at Moodie Drive as of the 7th.   A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was at Emerald Meadows on the 1st, and an AMERICAN COOT was at Shirley’s Bay on the 8th.

8 RED-THROATED LOONS were off Britannia Pier on the 6th, with scattered reports elsewhere. A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON was at Emerald Meadows on the 3rd.

Dunlin (top) and Semipalmated Plover at the Giroux Road Ponds. Photo by Trudy Lothian

Virtually all the SHOREBIRDS are getting scarce. Only 1-3 birds of any kind are seen in any spot. A SEMIPLAMATED PLOVER was at Shirley’s Bay on the 3rd, and another at the Giroux ponds on the 4-5th were unusually late. This latter spot had DUNLIN on the 4th, and PECTORAL SANDPIPER on the 3rd. Shirley’s bay had a late SPOTTED SANDPIPER ON THE 3rd, a WILSON’S SNIPE was near Luskville on the 6th, and a KILLDEER was in the St. Laurent area on the 4th.

A late OSPREY was at Baie Mcaurin on the 4th, while GOLDEN EAGLES were seen in Orleans on the 4th and over the Giroux ponds on the 5th.

The RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was still at Shirley’s bay on the 8th.

Some other interesting lingering birds were:

  • A GRAY CATBIRD at Shirley’s Bay (Lois Lane) on the 6th
  • An EASTERN PHOEBE at the Giroux Road ponds on the 7th
  • An EASTERN MEADOWLARK at Remic Rapids on the 6th
  • A NORTHERN PARULA in Almonte on the 4th
  • A PALM WARBLER at Britannia Park on the 4th
  • YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERD at Ferme Moore on the 3rd, Britannia Park on the 4th and Britannia Ridge on the 7th
  • A HERMIT THRUSH at Britannia on the 7th

There were some further developments in the WINTER FINCHES.  EVENING GROSBEAK has been seen in multiple spots all over the region. There have been fewer sightings of PINE GROSBEAK and RED CROSSBILL and nothing dependable, but good spots have been Pine Grove and Stony Swamp in the greenbelt.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 1 November 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

White-eyed Vireo photographed by Michelle Martin at the Champlain Street Marsh

The bird of the week was a WHITE-EYED VIREO, seen near the end of Champlain street in Orleans, on the 30-31 October.  This is the first sighting of this species since 2014, and while it has often been difficult to find and see, it has been in the same general area since the first sighting. The second best bird(s) were, unfortunately, 5(!) BOREAL CHICKADEES striking windows this week, downtown and Kanata.  Fortunately at least one is recuperating, and this is a bird to watch for as there is a movement.

Mostly cloudy and unseasonably cool weather prevailed this week, with the first snow on the ground Sunday and Monday. Many days were quite poor for birding, but at least the 1st saw a reprieve from rain and howling winds. WATERBIRDS are still doing fine, but most other species except for the winter ones are in short supply.

Sightings of GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE this week were at Giroux, Moodie Drive, and Emerald Meadows.

The first CANVASBACK of the season has been in the Moodie Drive ponds from the 28-31st. since the 28th. A few 100 birds of 9 species of DUCK were there on the 28th including RUDDY DUCK. Generally the DUCK supply is good but there are no major concentrations: about 300 DUCKS were at Shirley’s Bay on the 29th.   The usual spots like Andrew Haydon Park are still good, and another good spot has been at the widening of the Mississippi River east of Carleton Place: about 300 birds of 8 species were there on the 1st, as well as an AMERICAN COOT. The Giroux Road ponds have been fairly decent too. Regionally, 23 species of DUCK have been seen this week.

There have been regular sightings of RED-THROATED LOON on the Ottawa River from the Champlain Bridge to Constance Bay, the most recent one on the 1st at Andrew Haydon Park.

Red-tailed Hawk photographed by Keith Wickens on 10th Line Road

11 species of SHOREBIRD have been seen this week. There are no concentrations anywhere, but small numbers have been seen consistently at the Giroux Road Ponds, Dow’s Lake, Chapman Mills and Emerald Meadows. Somewhat late have been AMERICAN WOODCOCK on the 25th near Carp, and SPOTTED SANDPIPER at Shirley’s Bay on the 29th.

GULL numbers are picking up for the season. On the 29th 6 species were at the Moodie Drive Ponds, including GLAUCOUS and ICELAND.

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was at Shirley’s bay on the 26th, and 10 GRAY PARTRIDGE were near Cope Drive on the 28th. The RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER continues at Shirley’s Bay as of the 29th.   NORTHERN SHRIKES have moved into the region in small numbers.

8 SPECIES OF sparrow have been seen this week, the scarcest being a FIELD SPARROW at Shirley’s Bay on the 27th. A field east of the Rockcliffe Airport still has a surprising number sticking around-over 20 birds of 5 species.

We are now in the season where lingering SONGBIRDS are of interest: Some notable ones were:

  • A BLUE-HEADED VIREO in Vallée Meach on the 27th, and in Alta Vista on the 30th
  • An AMERICAN REDSTART on the Watts Creek pathway on the 26th
  • A BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER at Shirley’s Bay on the 29th
  • 2 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS at the Fletcher wildlife Garden on the 26th
  • A NASHVILLE WARBLER at the Fletcher wildlife Garden on the 26-27th
  • A PALM WARBLER at the Rockcliffe Airport on the 1st
  • A LAPLAND LONGSPUR was still at the Shirley’s Bay boat launch on the 29th

Common Redpoll photographed by Gregory Zbitnew at Rockcliffe Airport

There have been developments in the WINTER FINCHES. A RED CROSSBILL was in Almonte on the 30th.  A WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL flew over the Champlain St. Marsh on the 1st. A PINE GROSBEAK was at the Fletcher wildlife Garden on the 26th.  EVENING GROSBEAKS have now had many sightings all over the region. This appears to be the best year for them in quite some time. COMMON REDPOLLS are now so common they are now no longer worth mentioning.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 25 October 2018

Snow Goose photographed at Dow’s Lake by Judith Gustafsson

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The bird of the week was a BOREAL CHICKADEE, seen on the 22-23rd near Bronson and Somerset of all places.  The second best bird was a HUDSONIAN GODWIT, seen on the 21-24th near the Black Rapids Lockstation.

For most the week the weather was quite poor, windy and cold with snow flurries a number of days.  There were significant changes to the local bird population, mostly disappearances, but there were a few surprisingly late birds.

Although there are plenty of DUCKS still around, and 24 species were seen regionally this week, recently the concentrations have not always been evident earlier in the month.  There were less than 100 at Shirley’s Bay on the 21st, although over 700 on the 20th.  A EURASIAN WIGEON was at Baie Noire on the 21st, where there were 275 birds of 6 species.

A RED-THROATED LOON was near Constance Bay on the 21st.

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was at the Giroux Road Ponds on the 22nd and 25th, and at the Richmond CA on the 23rd. A ROSSES GOOSE was near Carp on the 18th, which makes 6 species of GOOSE seen in the region this week.

SHOREBIRDS have put in their best showing for some time, with 14 species seen in the region this week. Most significantly, the exposed flats along the Rideau Canal, as well as on the Rideau River (at least between Black Rapids and Chapman Mills CA) have resulted in large numbers of SHOREBIRDS.   PECTORAL SANDPIPERS are the most common, with numbers as high as 162 at Chapman Mills CA on the 22nd, possibly the largest ever regional count.  2 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS were seen near Black Rapids on the 23rd, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER was at the Crysler Dam on the 24th, and 4 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS were near Constance Bay on the 18th.

Surf Scoter photographed at Shirley’s Bay by Keith Wickens

The winds during the week were good for HAWK movement.  A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was flying over the west end on the 23rd. A GOLDEN EAGLE was flying over the west end on the 21st, and another at the Giroux Road Ponds on the 22nd. A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was near Manotick on the 23rd. There have been a few sightings of ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK as this species arrives for the winter.

Red-breasted Nuthatch photographed at Britannia by Deborah Mosher

A GREEN HERON was at Britannia on the 19th, and the RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER continues at Shirley’s bay as of the 21st.

There were developments with the WINTER FINCHES. The big news was that COMMON REDPOLLS arrived and have suddenly been seen everywhere in the region in small flocks. EVENING GROSBEAKS are at feeders in a number of locations including Larose forest, as well as a few flyovers.  PINE SISKINS are being seen in only scattered locations.

LAPLAND LONGSPUR was at Shirley’s Bay on the 19-20th, and there was a flock of 20 near Mountain on the 20th. SNOW BUNTINGS have arrived but are still being seen in small numbers.

A few late to somewhat late SONGBIRDS were seen:

  • BLUE-HEADED VIREO at Rockcliffe Airport on the 24th
  • GRAY CATBIRD at Shirley’s bay on the 24th
  • BROWN THRASHER at Baie Simard on the 20th

SPARROWS numbers are really thinning out, with the exception of AMERICAN TREE SPARROW, which is settling in now for the winter.

Finally, although 8 species of WARBLER have been seen, you are now lucky to even seen YELLOW-RUMPED. The oddest of the late ones has been a YELLOW-WARBLER at Britannia on the 19-20th. Others are:

  • TENNESSEE WARBLER in Gatineau on the 19th
  • MAGNOLIA WARBLER on the 23rd near Westboro
  • ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER at the Rockcliffe Airport on the 22nd
  • PALM WARBLER at Lincoln Fields on the 21st
  • NASHVILLE WARBLER at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden on the 19th
  • AMERICAN REDSTART in Carleton Place on the 23rd

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 18 October 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

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

A probable NORTHERN GANNET was seen at Britannia on the 12th, but unfortunately was not found again/confirmed.  However, this is the time of year when such rarities have been seen. So keep checking the Ottawa river, especially on the days with miserable weather. In more positive news, the RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was seen again at Shirley’s bay on the 13th, and has been seen often, but not always, until the 16th.  Another was at baie Noire on the 12th.

There were some pleasant days but generally it tended to cool and windy, with frost, a bit of snow and the coldest day of the season so far. So the birding was that of a typical mid-fall. That is, there were lots of DUCKS and SPARROWS are holding steady. Most of the SONGBIRDS that are left are few in number if not actually rare.

The first RED-THROATED LOON of the season was at Britannia on the 13th and one was at Shirley’s Bay on the 17th.  The main concentration of WATERBIRDS, as usual, is from Andrew Haydon Park to Shirley’s bay. Recent visits to Shirley’s Bay have observed 700-900 DUCKS of up to 17 species, but they are sometimes hard to see depending on the winds and other variables.  All 3 species of SCOTER and LONG-TAILED DUCK are fairly regular now. Both HORNED and RED-NECKED GREBES are also seen.  By contrast, the most recent visit to baie Noire on the 12th had only about 150 DUCKS of 6 species.

Hooded Merganser hen eating a bullhead at Britannia. Photo by Deborah Mosher

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was at the Bruce Pit on the 14th.  Many small flocks of BRANT are being seen around Andrew Haydon Park. Some of them land on the lawns and ponds there and are extremely photogenic.

About 8 species of SHOREBIRDS have been seen this week, but like last week, there are not many anywhere.  There were 16 birds of 5 species at Emerald Meadows on the 18th, 3 birds of 3 species at the Bruce pit on the 18th, and 25 birds of 4 species near Marionville. The only surprise were 4 very late BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS near Wakefield on the 18th.

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was seen at the Rockcliffe Airport on the 12th.

An EMPIDONAX FLYCATCHER was on Dolman Ridge Road on the 14th, but the specific species could not be identified.  A very late YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was at the Richmond Conservation area on the 14th, and a late PHILADELPHIA VIREO was at Remic rapids on the 13th.

The first of the season BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS and TREE SPARROWS were seen at multiple locations this week. A somewhat late FIELD SPARROW was at Britannia on the 18th, a very late ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK was at Britannia on the 16th, and a very late EASTERN TOWHEE was at Rockcliffe Airport on the 16th.

9 species of WARBLER were seen this week, but aside from YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, all the others were late and seen in very low numbers. Some of the recent sightings included:

  1. MAGNOLIA WARBLER at Britannia on the 12th,
  2. TENNESSEE WARBLER in Aylmer on the 16th, i
  3. NORTHERN PARULA at Britannia on the 16th.
  4. NASHVILLE WARBLER at Rockcliffe Airport on the 17th.
  5. ORANGE CROWNED WARBLER in Alta Vista on the 18th, at Rockcliffe Airport on the 17th, 2 were at Chapman Mills on the 14 and 18th, and one was at ferme Moore on the 14th.
  6. AMERICAN REDSTART at Rockcliffe Airport on the 15th and at Richmond Landing on the 16th.
  7. PALM WARBLER on the 16th at Rockcliffe Airport and on the 18th at the Bruce pit.
  8. BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER in Gatineau Park on the 17th.

Finally, 10 EVENING GROBEAKS were at Shirley’s Bay on the 16th, and one was in Almonte on the 13th.

Brant, photographed at Andrew Haydon Park by Gregory Zbitnew


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 11 October 2018

Ruby-crowned Kinglet photographed by Trudy Lothian.

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The weather was an odd mix of unseasonably warm with cool and dreary, but SONGBIRDS were not fooled by hints of summer and continue to rapidly vacate the region. Meanwhile, WATERFOWL numbers continue to rise.

WATERFOWL are probably near the peak now. BRANT are moving through in some numbers, and a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was in Richmond on the 6th.  Regionally, 23 species of DUCK have been seen this week. Nearly 2000 DUCKS of 20 species were seen at Shirley’s Bay on the 5th. Numbers were similar but there were fewer species on the 15th. Among these are small numbers of all 3 species of SCOTER and REDHEAD. At Baie Noire on the 7th, there was a EURASIAN WIGEON among the over 500 AMERICAN WIGEON. All told, about 800 DUCKS of 12 species were there on the 7th.

GULLS are increasing, but still have a ways to go. An ICELAND GULL was at Britannia Point on the 5th and also on the on the 8th.  2 BONAPARTES GULLS were at Deschênes on the 10th.  A late COMMON TERN was at Baie Simard on the 5th.

There were 44 birds of 6 species of SHOREBIRD at Embrun on the 10th and 30 birds of 6 species in Winchester on the 6th.  All of these were the common ones, and aside from at those places, there are only scattered sightings of them.

We are getting into the season for hawk migration. A RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were seen at Dick Bell park on the 5th, Baie Simard on the 6th, and at Britannia on the 8th. A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was at Dick Bell park on the 5th.

A late GREEN HERON was in Stittsville on the 11th and a late TREE SWALLOW at Constance bay on the 5th.

Song Sparrow photographed by Robin Collins at Shirley’s Bay

A RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD was in Constance Bay until the 7th but unfortunately it is now confirmed dead. In better news, a RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER was at Shirley’s bay on the 8th and was seen again on the 10th.

Continued sightings of CAROLINA WREN at Lac McGregor on the 6th, and Britannia on the 7th were augmented by a new one in Navan from the 6th to at least the 8th.

Late sightings included PHILADELPHIA VIREO at Britannia on the 7the, and a VEERY there on the 8th.

WARBLER migration is now at the tail end. The vast majority are now YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, and there are fewer of them. All other species are here in very few numbers. Only 9 species were seen in the last week.  Some of the later ones included CAPE MAY WARBLER on the 7th in Almonte and BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER there on the 8th. A MAGNOLIA WARBLER was in the Glebe on the 11th and an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at the Fletcher on the 10th.

EVENING GROSBEAKS were at Val des Monts on the 6th, and scattered sightings of PINE SISKIN continue.

Gadwall photographed by Deborah Mosher at Britannia.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 4 October 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Swainson’s Thrush photographed at Britannia by Eric Leger

The highlight of the week was (possibly) our latest ever OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, seen in Britannia on the 28-1st.  Of interest but expected, were the first NELSON’S SPARROWS of the year, in their usual spot at the mouth of Constance Creek, starting the 28th. On was also present at Andrew Haydon Park West on the 2nd.

Typical fall weather prevailed, with near to below seasonal temperatures, with a fair bit of cloud and some rain.  Although the majority of summer birds have vacated the region, there are still quite a few somewhat late ones around. In addition, there have been a few early arrivals to liven things up a bit.

The first GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE of the season was at Britannia on the 28th, and 4 BRANT WERE at Andrew Haydon Park on the 30th. Numbers and variety of DUCKS at Shirley’s Bay are building up to respectable levels. There were 500 birds of 11 species there on the 1st, with RING-NECKED DUCKS and AMERICAN WIGEON being the top 2.  There have been no recent sightings from Baie Noire, but regionally 17 species were seen this week, including a REDHEAD at Britannia on the 28th and a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER at Andrew Haydon Park on the 4th.  55 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS WERE at Andrew Haydon on the 2nd, and birds seemed to be moving through that day.

Common Mergansers photographed at Strathcona Park by Judith Gustafsson

SHOREBIRDS are pretty much a bust. A few notable exceptions were a WILSON’S PHALAROPE and 14 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER at Winchester. Embrun had 41 birds of 6 species on the 29th. 16 birds of 4 species were at Emerald Meadows on the 28th. Aside from this the sightings have been a few scattered common species or flyovers.

SANDHILL CRANES have returned to their traditional fall feeding grounds in the Navan area. There were 16 near Trim and Mc Fadden on the 28th.  Both RED-SHOULDERED and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS were at Constance Bay on the 1st.  10 GRAY PARTRIDGE were on Cope Drive on the 29th.

There have been other sightings of late FLYCATCHERS:

  1. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER in Gatineau on the 2nd.
  2. An EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE near Parkdale Ave on the 2nd and 1 in Russell on the 1st.
  3. A LEAST FLYCATCHER in the Richmond Conservation area on the 29th.
  4. 2 TREE SWALLOWS at Shirley’s Bay on the 1st.

Late RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS were in Russell and Constance Bay on the 2nd.

A CAROLINA WREN continues in Britannia on the 30th and Lac McGregor on the 1st.

Among the SONGBIRDS, SPARROWS and both species of KINGLET have risen to the abundant level at times.

19 species of WARBLER have been seen since the start of the month. Some trips have seen 8+ species, but the numbers and variety are dropping daily.  A WILSON’S WARBLER at Lac McGregor on the 1st was among the more unusual of the late ones. As always, there have been scattered sightings of ORANGE CROWNED WARBLERS: Britannia, Rockcliffe Airport and Lac Fortune among others.

There is little sign of WINTER FINCHES. An EVENING GROSBEAK was flying near the Giroux Road ponds on the 1st, and there have been a few scattered sightings of PINE SISKIN.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 27 September 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

White-throated Sparrow photographed at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden by Judith Gustafsson

Summer ended with a bang, literally, with 2 tornadoes on the 21st as a major cold front passed through the region.  Unfortunately, the weather change has not benefited man or beast. The much cooler,  damp and often dreary weather has not ushered in anything out of the ordinary yet. While there is still a reasonable variety of birds around, it is dropping and the mix is changing quite rapidly.

Skeins of CANADA GEESE are being seen almost everywhere now, but the numbers are still modest.  There were continued scattered sightings of SNOW GEESE, but the 18 BRANT in the Deschênes Rapids on the 25th were early.  Numbers of WATERBIRDS are rising very slowly, with RING-NECKED DUCKS and LESSER SCAUP being the most common overall. The most recent trip to Baie Noire had about 130 DUCKS of 9 species, AMERICAN WIGEON being the most common.  There have been few recent visits to Shirley’s Bay, and the most recent one on the 27th did not show any buildup of DIVING DUCKS.  Still, there was the first SURF SCOTER of the season at Shirley’s bay on the 23rd.

Poor SHOREBIRD habitat continues on the river.  The best spot remains EMBRUN.  There were 56 SHOREBIRDS of 9 species there on the 22nd, including 2 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS.  13 birds of 5 species were at the water treatment plant in Masson on the 23rd.  A few were in Constance Bay, and there were 12 birds of 5 species at the Giroux Road ponds. Aside from this, a few SHOREBIRDS seem to be scattered at random in many tiny bits of habitat.

Belted Kingfisher photographed at Strathcona Park by Judith Gustafsson

HORNED LARKS and AMERICAN PIPITS were at the Central Experimental Farm (between Merivale and Prince of Wales) on the 22nd.  In the same area that day there were 25 (probably) AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS.

There have been some late large SWALLOW sightings. There were 20 TREE SWALLOWS at Baie Noire on the 22nd, and 150 in Russell on the 24th. On the 27th in Crysler, there were 15 BANK, 1 BARN and 2 CLIFF SWALLOWS.  A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was in Aylmer on the 23rd.

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was at Masson on the 21st.  A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was at Dick Bell Park on the 21st.

A few SONGBIRDS are becoming more common, such as RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET and BLUE-HEADED VIREO. SPARROW numbers are high, with a major influx of WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS.  A late GRASSHOPPER SPARROW was on Upper Dwyer Hill Road on the 27th.  The CAROLINA WREN continued in Britannia as of the 24th.   The first RUSTY BLACKBIRDS sightings of the season started the 23rd.

While there were 22 species of WARBLER seen this week, Overall numbers and variety is decreasing, with the exception that there are hordes of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS in Britannia, as usual.  WARBLER tallies in the better areas are now less than 10.  A Late YELLOW WARBLER was in Russell on the 22nd.   ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, as usual, just has had scattered reports and is usually not relocated.  Next week will probably be the last for any significant WARBLER variety.

Ring-necked Ducks photographed at Britannia by Deborah Mosher


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 20 September 2018

Red-eyed Vireo photographed in the Arboretum by Judith Gustafsson

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The highlight of the week was 2 CAROLINA WRENS, often but not always visible/audible at Britannia as late as the 19th.

It was very warm and dry most of the week, and not particularly good for migration; many days were very quiet. Despite the fact that more and more species have left for the season, there is still a good variety of WARBLERS, and the number and variety of SPARROWS is rising.

SHOREBIRD supply continues to be poor.  River levels are high, and the last visit to Shirley’s Bay on the 20th produced no SHOREBIRDS.  Embrun is still the best spot. On the 14th there were 90 birds of 8 species including 2 RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, an early DUNLIN and 2 WHITE-RUMPED sandpipers as well. Almonte had 3 birds of 3 species on the 19th.  The Giroux Road Ponds have had a few birds, including a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER.  There were 4 species including BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER at the water treatment plant at Masson, and 25 birds of 4 species were at Emerald Meadows on the 19th.

Yellow-rumped Warbler photographed at Strathcona Park by Judith Gustafsson

SNOW GEESE are popping up all over the region in very small numbers, clearly a sign of fall.  The first CACKLING GOOSE of the season was flying over the Dovercourt area on the 16th.

On the nights of the 18th and 19th, favourable conditions produced a good movement of SWAINSON’S and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSHES (44 were heard flying over Barrhaven on the 18th).

A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was in Britannia on the 15th, and 2 RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS persist in Constance Bay as of the 15th.

The first RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS of the season were seen this week in several places.

In addition to an increasing number of LINCOLN’S SPARROWS, small numbers of DARK-EYED JUNCOS are being seen, and the first WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW of the season was in Britannia on the 19th.

PURPLE FINCHES are around in good numbers, but aside from a few scattered PINE SISKINS, there is nothing else, not even on an extended trip to (western) Gatineau Park on the 20th.

Visits to Britannia and other migrant traps are still producing 10-15 species of WARBLER per trip. A GOLDEN/ BLUE-WINGED WARBER was reported in Alta Vista on the 19th.  This week, 23 species were seen, although about 6 of those are here in very small number. Of the scarcer ones, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER has been in Britannia regularly until the 16th, but it is easy to miss. Another was in the Birch Manor area of Gatineau on the 19th. A CANADA WARBLER was at Lac McGregor on the 16th, and on the 19th a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH was in Britannia, and at Shirley’s Bay on the 20th.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 13 September 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird photographed at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden by Judith Gustafsson

The highlight of the week was a CANVASBACK found in Baie Noire on the 10th but not relocated.

There was a big change in the weather this week, with the coolest temperatures of the season but only modest amounts of rainfall.  Warmth returned on the 12th. There were noticeable shifts in the bird population, primarily a slight rise in WATERBIRDS, an increase of SPARROWS, and a decrease of FLYCATCHERS.  WARBLERS have been steady, but the mix is changing.  SHOREBIRDS have not been particularly plentiful.

We are in the very early stages of WATERFOWL migration. About 15 LESSER SCAUP were at Shirley’s Bay on the 12th, the tiny beginning of the huge fall rafts. Baie Noire had about 150 AMERICAN WIGEON and a few LESSER SCAUP, also the beginning of the fall build up. A few of the more notable early sightings included:

  • A SNOW GOOSE in Dunrobin on the 9th.
  • 2 REDHEAD at Shirley’s Bay on the 8th.
  • 2 GREATER SCAUP at Dick Bell Park on the 7th.
  • A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER at Shirley’s bay on the 7th, and 2 were there on the 8th.
  • 2 RED-NECKED GREBES also at Shirley’s Bay on the 7th. Another was at Britannia on the 11-12th.

SHOREBIRDS have been problematic this week. The main problem was continued high water levels on the Ottawa River. Shirley’s Bay has been quite poor, with no habitat on the 12th.  Embrun has been the best but there have not been a lot of birds.  There were 30 birds of 8 species there  on the 9th, including  a RUDDY TURNSTONE and 4 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS. 6 species were there on the 11th including a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER. Emerald meadows had a STILT SANDPIPER on the 10-12th, with about 20 birds of up to 6 other species there as well. 2 Birds of 2 common species were at Almonte on the 12th, and a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was on Nolan Road on the 12th.

Northern Flicker photographed at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden by Robert Lachaine.

Among the FLYCATCHERS, there was an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at Bell Arena on the 11th, and another was at Petrie Island on the 12th. An EASTERN KINGBIRD in Kanata on the 13th is getting late. There are still some sizeable SWALLOW flocks where there are insect concentrations, most notably there were 200 TREE SWALLOWS in Russell on the 12th.  2 COMMON NIGHTHAWKS were at Britannia on the 12th.

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was at Chelsea on the 9th, and one was at Shirley’s bay on the same day.  3 GRAY PARTRIDGE were in Goulbourn on the 8th.

A  YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was at Britannia on the 7th.  A CAROLINA WREN at Lac McGregor on the 11th, and another was at Britannia on the 13th. Both PHILADELPHIA and BLUE-HEADED VIREOS are becoming more common.

WARBLER supply has been good. Still 10-15 species can be expected in the better migrant traps. A few species, like NORTHERN PARULA, PALM and BLACKPOLL WARBLERS, were more common this week. 24 were seen in the region, including an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER at Britannia on the 12th.

Finally, a few signs of fall:

  • The first RUSTY BLACKBIRD of the season was at Shirley’s bay on the 7th.
  • 14 PINE SISKINS were at Lac McGregor on the 11th.
  • An EVENING GROSBEAK was at Chelsea on the 9th.

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 6 September 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Green Heron photographed by Eric Leger at Britannia

The highlight of the week was an elusive CONNECTICUT WARBLER, seen near Luskville on the 3rd, but not seen since.

Like last week, there was a steady but not a heavy stream of migrants.  Summer-like weather continued all week, until a wind shift on the 6th.  We haven’t seen any sign of a big change yet, but with the unsettled cooler weather forecast for the next few days, we can reasonable expect some push of different birds. Variety has been good, but some birds, noticeably the flycatchers, have been quietly disappearing.

The first EURASIAN WIGEON was found at Baie Noire on the 4th with 50+ AMERICAN WIGEON and other WATERFOWL.   Likely 1 or 2 will be there for a number of weeks, if the last years’ pattern is followed.  A GREATER SCAUP was at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 1st.

Cape May Warbler photographed by Eric Leger at Britannia

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was at Masson on the 1st, Shirley’s Bay on the 5th and on Stonecrest on the 6th.

SHOREBIRD supply has not been particularly good, but there have been some good sightings. A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was at Embrun from the 30th to at least the 3rd.  70 birds were there on the 3rd including an unusual number of BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS (22).

Up to 10 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS have been at a field on Trim and Wall Road from the 2 to at least the 5th.

In other SHOREBIRD news, there were:

  1. 35 birds of 5 species at Winchester on the 2nd.
  2. 34 birds of 6 species at Shirley’s Bay on the 5th, and
  3. 18 birds of 5 species at Masson on the 4th, although earlier there was an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER

A BLACK TERN at Giroux Road on the 2nd, and a LEAST BITTERN was at Petrie Island on the 5th.

An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was on Nolan Road on the 31st and at the Rockcliffe Airport on the 6th.  One YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was at Constance Bay on the 31st. 11 GRAY PARTRIDGE were at Cope Drive on the 5th.

A CAROLINA WREN continues at Lac Mcgregor as of the 5th, and one was at Britannia on the 4th. A GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH heard at Britannia on the 31st and one was at the Rockcliffe Airport on the 4th.

Late/ migrant CLAY-COLOURED SPARROWS were at Remic Rapids on the 3rd and in Beacon Hill on the 5th.

24 species of the regular WARBLERS were seen this week, including the first of the season (2) ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS at Eccolands park on the 5th.  10-15 species of WARBLER per visit can be expected in the better areas.

Double-crested Cormorant photographed at Brewer Park by Judith Gustafsson


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 30 August 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

A “very active” juvenile Gray Catbird photographed by Judith Gustafsson at the Arboretum.

The highlight this week was a GOLDEN EAGLE sighting at Petrie Island on the 23rd, one of very few summer records in the province.  A lesser highlight was a BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER at Britannia on the 30th.

Other than that there was a steady but not a heavy stream of migrants.  With any luck it will stay the same or improve in the next week.

The OFNC seedathon was on the 26th. Preliminary results indicated 7 participants and a collective tally of 123 species. Of interest is that there were at least 140 species present that day in the 50K.

Temperatures were generally above seasonal with scattered rain but the winds were not particularly favourable to any heavy migration or fallouts. A wind shift on Thursday didn’t produce anything special either, as was hoped. Noticeable this week were the decline of some species like SWALLOWS.

A few early/ lingering WATERBIRDS were of interest. A SNOW GOOSE was in Winchester on the 26th. Also on the 26th were BUFFLEHEAD and LESSER SCAUP at Embrun, and another LESSER SCAUP at Andrew Haydon Park east on the 26th. A RED-NECKED GREBE was at Lac McGregor on the 29th.

A LEAST BITTERN at Constance Creek on the 29th is getting late for this species.

For SHOREBIRDS, on the 26th Constance Bay had a RUDDY TURNSTONE, still there on the 29th, and Andrew Haydon Park West had a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER on and off at least until the 26th. A SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER has been in Masson for a few days as late as the 28th. Up to 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVERS WERE at Embrun on the 26-27th. A BAIRD’S SANDPIPER was in Embrun on the 25-26th, and up to 3 have been at Andrew Haydon Park most of the week, with one still at the east end as of the 30th. 5 were at Constance Bay on the 29th. Close to 100 birds have been at Embrun with sometimes good variety, but with the exception noted above they have been common.

Greater Yellowlegs photographed at the Crysler dam by Gregory Zbitnew.

There is good habitat and 20 birds or so at the Crysler Dam, but so far only rather common species were seen. Winchester had good habitat but but few birds on the 26th. The Petrie Island causeway has poor habitat.  Shirley’s bay and the river in general has lately been quite poor due to unfavourable water levels.

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was at Constance Bay on the 26th, and near Dunrobin on the 28th. 2 RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were at Constance Bay on the 29th.

There have been a few sightings each of YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Brewer park, Fletcher Wildlife garden and Rockcliffe Airport), and OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER (one in Orleans and a few in Dunrobin/Constance Bay).

A CAROLINA WREN persists in Lac McGregor on the 27th, and a SEDGE WREN was on Torbolton Ridge Road on the 28th.

Ring-billed Gull “with a just-caught crustacean in his beak” photographed by Judith Gustafsson at Strathcona Park.

Britannia is still the best spot for WARBLERS. The huge numbers of CAPE MAY WARBLERS continue, and trips there are getting 10+ species of WARBLER.  In the region, 22 WARBLERS were seen this week.

In FINCH and SPARROW news, an EVENING GROSBEAK was at the Fletcher Wildlife garden on the 23rd and Britannia on the 25th.   2 RED CROSSBILLS were flying over a golf course in Stittsville on the 25th. Somewhat early DARK-EYED JUNCOS were on Sparks St. on the 24th and at Burnt lands Provincial Park on the 28th.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 23 August 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Osprey photographed near Kars by Trudy Lothian

The bird of the week was a WHIMBREL at Andrew Haydon Park (east) on the 22nd.  Unusually “cooperative” for this species, it was around from morning to late afternoon.

Fairly seasonal weather prevailed most of the week.  The rain and blustery conditions on the 21-22nd did not produce any fallouts as was hoped, but SONGBIRD migration was on the whole fairly good.

We are now in the peak period for migration, especially SONGBIRDS and SHOREBIRDS, and the next 2 weeks merit special attention. Although outside the region, a PROTHONOTARY WARBLER in Montebello, and some goodies in southern Ontario are signs that we are in a very active migration period. So watch the skies!

A female RED-BREASTED MERGANSER has often been seen from Britannia Point, and a LESSER SCAUP was at Embrun on the 22nd.   Other than that WATERFOWL have been quite ordinary.

Spotted Sandpiper (right) and Short-billed Dowitcher (right) photographed by Keith Wickens at Andrew Haydon Park

Aside from the rarity noted above, there have been some decent spots but none of the sought-after species seem to be sticking around. Shirley’s Bay (before the rain) had up to 100 birds, including RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, BAIRD’S SANDPIPER, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, and RUDDY TURNSTONE.  There were very few birds there on the evening of the 22nd and even fewer on the 23rd. There is still limited habitat along the river, and a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER was briefly at Andrew Haydon Park on the, as were 2 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS .  The other good spot has been Embrun, which had 80 birds of 8 species on the 22nd including a long-staying SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER.  A few common SHOREBIRDS were at Almonte lagooons on the 20th along with a BLACK TERN.  Petrie Island had a few common species on the 20th before the water levels rose.  16 birds of 5 species were at the Masson Filtration plant on the 18th.

CASPIAN TERNS were noted at Petrie Island as well as their usual spot at Shirley’s Bay.  Petrie Island had a few common species before the water levels rose.  Over 70 COMMON TERNS were at Shirley’s Bay on the 22nd. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL has been seen at Britannia.

The first sightings of the migrant FLYCATCHERS have been noted. An OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was reported in Elmvale Acres on the 20th, while a YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was at Lac Fortune on the 16th, and another was at the Old Quarry trail on the 20th.

Finally some WARBLERS are appearing other than Britannia. This spot still had a surfeit of CAPE MAY WARBLERS, and the first WILSON’S WARBLERS were here this week. Both Petrie island and The Greenbelt off Walkley had 10+ WARBLER species on a trip. PHILADELPHIA VIREOS have been seen in a number of places, from the east to the west. This species will become more common fairly soon.

Green Heron photographed at Britannia by Deborah Mosher

In other odds and ends:

  • COMMON NIGHTHAWKS are around in some numbers, mostly along rivers in the evening
  • A BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER was at Petrie Island on the 20th;
  • PINE SISKIN flyovers were noted at Shirley’s bay and Britannia this week
  • A CAROLINA WREN was at Lac McGregor on the 21nd-23rd, but on private property. Another was in Carp 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 16 August 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Cooper’s Hawk, photographed at Strathcona Park by Judith Gustafsson

It was a rather quiet week, threatening rain most days but very little actually fell.  Migration proceeded steadily but slowly, and there was not a huge change from the week before.

A COMMON GOLDENEYE at Shirley’s bay on the 14th was the only thing noteworthy among the WATERFOWL.

The lack of rain has exposed more habitat in places like Shirley’s Bay.  90 birds of 10 species were there on the 15th, and 15 birds of 5 species were at Andrew Haydon Park on the same. In both cases, only the more common species were seen. At Embrun, nearly 100 birds of 8 species were also present on the 15th; a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER was the only notable species.

COMMON NIGHTHAWKS have started migrating south. Up to 30 were in Carleton Place on the 13th, and smaller numbers were seen on the 15th. 43 were also seen at Deschênes on the 15th. Expect to see them regularly for the next few weeks.

This was a good week for VIREOS. A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO was in Riverton Park on the 15th.  PHILADELPHIA VIREOS at were seen in a number of places, and there were 2 BLUE-HEADED VIREOS at Britannia on the 12th.

The first BLACKPOLL WARBLER of the season was at Shirley’s Bay on the 10th. Another was in Britannia on the 12th.  Only 2 of the 25 regular WARBLERS have not yet been seen this fall. Speaking of WARBLERS, Britannia remains the hotspot, with CAPE MAY WARBLER still the most common. On the 15th there were also good numbers at Shirley’s Bay, but so far there are rather few anywhere else.

8 VESPER SPARROWS were at Burnt Lands Provincial Park on the 15th, and the other specialties there will likely be around for a few more weeks.

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.

Lesser Yellowlegs photographed at Petrie Island by Keith Wickens

 

Wilson’s Snipe photographed at Petrie Island by Keith Wickens

 


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 9 August 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Cape May Warbler photographed by Judith Gustafsson at Strathcona Park.

The highlight of the week was an EARED GREBE, seen on the 7th from Shirley’s Bay going downriver. Unfortunately it was not relocated.

Weather continued with above seasonal temperatures and continued damp conditions, which did nothing to improve the SHOREBIRD situation. Some spots, though, had a good variety of migrant SONGBIRDS, although song activity is now minimal.

CASPIAN TERNS are around in modest numbers from Shirley’s Bay to Gatineau, and a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 4th.

The best spot for SHOREBIRDS is Embrun with nearly 100 birds of 7 species on the 7th, mostly LESSER YELLOWLEGS but including a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE. The PEEP flock of a few days earlier has cleared out.

About 25 birds of 7 species were at Constance Bay (2 different spots) on the 7th, including a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER and SANDERLING.  This spot is worth checking if the water levels ever drop.

On the 8th Shirley’s Bay had 7 birds of 3 species, but there were quite a few more a few days earlier. We are still waiting for good water levels and the return of some of the numbers of a few weeks ago.

In Gatineau, A BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER was at Deschênes on the 3rd and a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER was at Parc Brébeuf on the 3rd.

A PECTORAL SANDPIPER was among a few other common species north of Russell on the 7th, and on the 5th there were 27 birds of 4 species in Russell, all common.

Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk photographed by Tony Beck near Navan.

There were no SHOREBIRDS at St. Albert or Crysler on the 7th, but 18 birds of 5 species at the Crysler Waterfall on the 4th.

At Petrie Island on the 8th there were small number of common species, with very little habitat.

There were at times astounding numbers of CAPE MAY WARBLERS in Britannia, up to 50, have been seen, enjoying the delicious bounty of Chironomids (a fancy name for a kind of midge).  The numbers were much lower on the 9th. Up to 12 species on WARBLER have been seen there on trips, and at times the Shirley’s Bay woods have variety, but there is still very little migrant variety elsewhere.

In other odds and ends:

  1. A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was at Britannia on the 8th
  2. 2 RED-HEADED WOODPECKERS were in Constance Bay on the 2nd
  3. A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO at Constance Bay on 7th
  4. An EVENING GROSBEAK was in Parkway Park on the 6th
  5. 2 SEDGE WRENS were in the Richmond fen on the 5th

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 2 August 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Rose-breasted Grosbeak photographed on the south side of Mud Lake by Deborah Mosher.

There have been a surprising number of migrant SONGBIRDS, and some SHOREBIRD habitat is returning after the heavy rains of the previous week, although it still remains damp.

Some other signs of fall migration are evident. Bird song is now at a very low level. Some birds, especially SWALLOWS, are flocking. There were 800 TREE SWALLOWS noted in Russell on the 1st.

Shirley’s Bay is regaining some of the lost SHOREBIRD habitat, but recently only a small number of SHOREBIRDS of common species have been there.  On the 2nd, there were about 20 birds of 5 species. Embrun on the 1st was good with about 60 birds of 11 species, including AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER and STILT SANDPIPER. In Crysler on the 28th, there were 25 birds of 7 species.  Petrie Island had minimal habitat on the 30th.  Other notable sightings included a SANDERLING at Deschênes on the 28th, and a RUDDY TURNSTONE at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 28th and on the 1st.

CASPIAN TERN numbers are building up.  23 were at Deschênes on the 1st, and 17 at Shirley’s bay on the 31st.  A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was at Deschênes on the 28th.   A LEAST BITTERN was at Stony Swamp on the 29th.

A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO and YELLOW-THROATED VIREO were at Shirley’s bay on the 31st.

One of two Turkey Vultures photographed in Vanier by Eric Leger.

Of interest this week were a fairly large number, this early in the season, of migrant SONGBIRDS at Britannia, Shirley’s Bay, and Aylmer (near the river), with up to 12 species being seen in a trip. The most surprising was a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER at Britannia on the 1st.  There were a few TENNESSEE WARBLERS, many YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, higher than expected numbers of CAPE MAY WARBLERS.  It is worth noting that this variety was not seen in other large migrant traps like Petrie Island.  At any rate, we are now in the season where checking migrant traps regularly is beneficial, if not essential.

Finally, 3 PINE SISKINS touched down briefly at a park in the west end on the 26th.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 26 July 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Red Knot photographed by Adolf Kendall at Shirley’s Bay.

A major rarity ended, at least temporarily, the summer doldrums. A RED KNOT, not seen in the region for 10 years, was flying along the Ottawa River on the 22nd and it landed at Shirley’s Bay, where it was seen for most of the day. If that were not enough, 2 WHIMBRELS and a RUDDY TURNSTONE were also there, although the WHIMBRELS touched down for less than an hour.

Whimbrels photographed by Vincent Fyson at Shirley’s Bay.

This week there was major enhancement of the quantities and variety of SHOREBIRDS, until the rains came. Shirley’s Bay habitat was still ideal as of the 22nd, when there were nearly 200 birds of up to 10 species, over 130 of which were a flock of SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS.  On the 23rd there were nearly 400 birds of 8 species, with nearly 300 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS.  Other uncommon species there this week included BAIRD’S SANDPIPER on the 23rd and 4 STILT SANDPIPERS on the 24th. For the next several weeks, this spot will merit regular inspection, as the water levels decline (we hope).

A weather change on the 22nd brought blustery winds and some rain. It was likely this that brought the SHOREBIRD fallout at Shirley’s Bay on the 22nd.  Heavy rain on the 23rd and especially the 25th has eliminated most of the river habitat for a little while.

Other areas with SHOREBIRDS included:

  • Crysler has good habitat as of the 25th, but only 35 birds of 4 species, mostly a flock of unidentified PEEPS.
  • Embrun has some good habitat. On the 21st there were about 60 birds of 7 species. On the 25th there were 200 birds of 10 species including WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER.
  • Petrie Island (west of the causeway) had good habitat with up to 40 birds of 5 species on the 22nd. Of course the rains have eliminated this habitat.
  • A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was reported at the Giroux Road ponds on the 24th.
  • The Ottawa River shore (in Ontario) has a lot of really good habitat.There were about 50 birds of 7 species at Ottawa Beach on the 25th.  Also there was a RUDDY TURNSTONE on the 22nd and 3 on the 25th. A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was there on the 24th. Up to 4 SANDERLINGS have been seen from here to Shirley’s Bay until the 25th.   SANDERLINGS have been seen elsewhere, including Constance Bay, Embrun and Barnsdale Road.
  • Parc Brébeuf had 30 birds of 4 species on the 24th. Finally a few SHOREBIRDS in Gatineau!
  • Almonte had 35 birds of 6 species on the 24th.

The low water on the Ottawa River had also resulted in good sightings of marsh birds when they make forays to the shallow water/ mud flats near the edge of the marsh. Both Shirley’s bay and Petrie Island have been good for RAILS and COMMON GALLINULE. 2 LEAST BITTERNS were showing well at Petrie Island until the 21st.  2 LEAST BITTERNS were at Baie McLaurin on the 20th.

Aside from SHOREBIRDS, there has been little to report. Some noteworthy sightings included:

  • A female NORTHERN PINTAIL was at Shirley’s bay on the 21st-22nd.
  • A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at Deschê
  • nes on the 21st.
  • Small numbers of CASPIAN TERNS are at Shirley’s Bay almost every day.
  • 1 BLACK TERN at Petrie Island on the 24th.
  • 3 continuing SANDHILL CRANES were on March Road as late as the 23rd.
  • On the 25th, 2 UPLAND SANDPIPERS were in Constance Bay along with 120 BOBOLINKS, a very high number.

There are some significant signs of migration.  SWALLOWS have started to flock, and SONGBIRDS have started to disperse from their nesting grounds.  Now is a good time to start checking the migrant traps.

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 July 2018

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Newly fledged Northern Cardinal having a vigorous bath. Photographed in Orleans by Sherry Nigro.

The highlight this week was a WHIMBREL, seen briefly below the Deschênes rapids on the evening on the 14th.

Heat and dryness continued, and birder activity is low, but there are interesting developments on the SHOREBIRD front.

Green Heron photographed at Mud Lake by Deborah Mosher.

Shirley’s Bay now has a lot of excellent SHOREBIRD habitat.  While there have been no reports from along the river west of Britannia, it is likely getting good there too. At Shirley’s Bay, over 90% of the birds are LESSER YELLOWLEGS and KILLDEER, but this week 8 other species have been seen (but not all at the same time).  WILSON’S PHALAROPE, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER and an early PECTORAL SANDPIPER were the most interesting.

There is developing habitat west of the causeway to Petrie Island, but so far just 4 species have been seen including SOLITARY SANDPIPER.

This is now a good time to start looking for SHOREBIRDS and suitable habitat, although it is still rather early in the season.

Other areas with SHOREBIRDS this week have included:

  • Only the nesting species at Almonte on the 15th.
  • 3 species including 1 LESSER YELLOWLEGS in Russell on the 15th.
  • 20 birds of 4 species in Winchester on the 12th.

Three of seven juvenile Hooded Mergansers photographed at Strathcona Park by Judith Gustafsson.

A few other notable sightings included:

  • 2 lingering SNOW GEESE were at Winchester on the 12th.
  • A LESSER SCAUP was at Shirley’s Bay on the 17th.
  • 3 SANDHILL CRANES have been on a field south of Carp for nearly the last week.
  • 1 LEAST BITTERN was at Baie McLaurin this week, and 2 were at Petrie Island on the 16th. 1 is also seen sometimes at Shirley’s Bay.
  • Up to 3 CASPIAN TERNS have been between Shirley’s Bay and Deschênes as late as the 17th.
  • A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was in Carp on the 17-18th.
  • A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL continues at the Moodie Drive ponds as of the 13th.

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.


Earlier sightings are available on request ofnc@ofnc.ca