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Ottawa and area bird sightings to 15 April 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Not many new species since last week, but a stunning number of birds have arrived early this year.  Vesper Sparrows are the latest species to join the sparrow invasion.  Brown Thrashers and Great Egrets are suddenly everywhere.

Adult male Lesser Scaup – Andrew Haydon Park – Tony Beck. Tony says this individual reveals its diagnostic head shape with the peak on the head toward the back, behind the eye.

Pied-billed Grebe – Brewer Park – Judith Gustafsson. These small duck-like waterfowl have a haunting call that is frequently misidentified, and frequently used in movies.

Purple Finch – Hammond – Bree Tucker. Take a House Finch, dip it in Raspberry Juice, and make it live in the forest. Instant Purple Finch!

Vesper Sparrow – Russell – Erik Pohanka. Easily confused with Song Sparrows, Vespers are grayer, and that small and rarely seen rufous spot is a dead giveaway.

Pine Warbler – Mud Lake – Arlene Harrold. A small bird trilling from the top of a huge pine tree is usually either a Pine Warbler or a Chipping Sparrow. If you can see the songster, a bright yellow Pine Warbler is easy to identify. Even the underside of the tail is enough to id it, as those black slashes at the base of the tail are unique locally.

Rough-legged Hawk – Vances Side Road – Arlene Harrold.

Immature Red-shouldered Hawk – Galetta – Tony Beck. Tony says the clear, loud, “Kee-ahh” call of the Red-shouldered Hawk brought this youngster to our attention.

Ross’s Goose – Two hiding in a field of 4000 Snow Geese on Dunning Road (Sarsfield), Ottawa.

Redhead – A pair off Machardy Road, Arnprior, Ottawa.

Ruddy Duck – Giroux Road Ponds, Ottawa, on April 10-11.

White-winged Scoter – Shirley’s Bay, Andrew Hayden Park, and Britannia Point, Ottawa.

Trumpeter Swan – Constance Creek (at Thomas Dolan), Ottawa.  Heaphy Road, North Gower, Ottawa.

Tundra Swan – Parc de Plaisance (Tête de la Baie), Papineau.

Greater Yellowlegs – Highway 17, Kinburn, Ottawa.

Lesser Yellowlegs – With more Greater Yellowlegs at the Fourth Line Rd and Callendor Road flooded fields, Ottawa.

Iceland Gull – Trail Road Landfill, Ottawa.

Glaucous Gull – Trail Road Landfill, Ottawa.  Quigley Hill Rd, Ottawa.

Bonaparte’s Gull – Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.  Baie Simard, Gatineau. Parc de Plaisance, Tête de la Baie, Papineau.

American Pipit – A flock of five birds on chemin Crossloop, Chelsea, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Red Crossbill – A flock of 15, Big Rideau Lake, Lanark.  Ten in Hammond, Prescott and Russell.

Palm Warbler –  Beaver Pond Trail, Ottawa.  Strathcona Park, Ottawa.

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Chapman Mills Conservation Area, Hurdman Bridge, Petrie Island, Britannia Conservation Area (Ridge), all Ottawa.

The DND property at Shirley’s Bay is now restricted to official business only.  If this changes in the future, there will be an announcement.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 8 April 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Adult male Wood Duck, Britannia, by Tony Beck. A beautiful photo and the image we tend to imagine in our minds of when thinking of Wood Ducks – a male in breeding plumage, moving gracefully in perfect light.

Red-Bellied Sapsucker, Hammond, by Bree Tucker. It’s fun to see a sapsucker on a tree with only three freshly dug holes so far. True to thier name, sapsuckers make wells in live trees to collect sap and any insects that get caught in the sticky liquid. When migrating Ruby-throated Hummingbirds arrive before there are enough flowers to feed off, they rely on such sapsucker wells.

Common Redpolls and Hermit Thrush, North River Road, by Emilia Michaud. Thrushes are rare at feeders, but this early Hermit is taking advantage of a ready food source.

Hoary Redpoll, Billings Bridge, by Peter Hall. Among the many redpolls still here lurk a few frosty white Hoary redpolls.

Male Dark-eyed Junco, Metcalfe, by Erik Pohanka. Although many juncos overwintered in Ottawa, many more flew south of us. Last weekend there were suddenly big flocks of male juncos migrating back through. In many species, the males pass the winter closer to the breeding grounds than the females. The males need to rush early to claim breeding territory, so they risk hasher winters and the possibility of arriving too soon.

Adult Tree Swallow, Richmond lagoons, by Arlene Harrold. The risk of a dangerously premature arrival is even higher for insectivores such as this swallow. If they time it correctly, they arrive to food flying around and suitable breeding cavities. A late spring or a prolonged cold spell is very challenging for swallows.

Female and male Wood Ducks, Davidson road, by Derek Dunnett. The other side of the Wood duck, and how it gets its name, is that not only do they spend time 40 feet up a tree like this pair, but the female will lay her eggs and brood them in a tree cavity.

Last weekend brought many early returnees.  There was a big push of Brown Creepers and Golden-crowned Kinglets, so walking in the woods was a constant game of “What’s that high-pitched call?”  Expect new birds this weekend.

Greater White-fronted Goose – Reported Apr 06,  Holland’s Marsh (April 06), Cobb Lake Creek flood plain (April 04), and Embrum, Prescott and Russell.

Ross’s Goose – Andrew Hayden Park (April 02), Ottawa.  Cobb Lake Creek flood plain (April 04), Prescott and Russell.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Strathcona Park, Ottawa.

Redhead – Frank Kenny Road and area, Ottawa.

American Coot – Marais des Laîches, Gatineau.

Tundra Swan – April 05, Heritage Drive, Merrickville, Lanark.  April 03, Cobb Lake Creek flood Plain, Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail (Curran), Prescott and Russell.

Greater Yellowlegs – Holland’s Marsh, Ottawa.

Iceland Gull – Moodie Drive Quarry on April 6, Ottawa.

Glaucous Gull – Moodie Drive Quarry, and Trail Road, Ottawa.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.

Tufted Titmouse – Flood Road (Marlborough Forest), Ottawa, on April 6.

Barn Swallow – Britannia Conservation Area (Filtration Plant/Point), as well as Fine Estate, Ottawa.

New sparrows are flooding in – Savannah, Chipping, and Field.

Eastern towhee – At Fletcher, singing south of the ravine on April 6, Ottawa.

Palm Warbler – Deschenes Rapids Lookout, Ottawa.

Pine Warbler –  Crazy Horse Trail, Monty Drive,  Britannia CA (forest and ridge), Deschenes Rapids Lookout, Petrie Island Park, Ottawa.

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Woodkilton Road, Britannia Conservation Area (Ridge), as well as Nepean Street, Ottawa.  Domaine de la ferme Moore, and Sentier des Voyageurs, Gatineau.

Black-throated Blue Warbler  – In addition to the three expected warblers above, a male Black-throated Blue was reported singing in Larose forest, Prescott and Russell.

Special note about Shirley’s Bay.  The DND property is now restricted to official business only.  If this changes in the future, there will be an announcement.

Did you know that your observations are valuable to the Third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas?  It’s a province-wide volunteer-based project to map the distribution and abundance of Ontario’s approximately 300 breeding birds. Data from the previous two Ontario Atlases have provided enormous contributions to bird and environmental conservation over the last 40 years.

For more information and to register for this important citizen science effort, please visit: https://www.birdsontario.org/


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 1 April 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Drake Hooded Merganser displaying – Mud Lake, Britannia, by Tony Beck.

Greater White-fronted Goose – Russell Road, by Arlene Harrold.

Cooper’s Hawk – Britannia, by Alan Short. Why do you think the accipiter family (Goshawk, Sharp-shinned, and Cooper’s) have a middle toe that is significantly longer than the others? The long toe is visible in this shot.

Sandhill Cranes – Smith Road, by Janice Stewart.

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Mud Lake, by Sanam Goudarzi.

Drake Wood Duck, Billings Bridge, by Judith Gustafsson.

Eastern Bluebird, Hammond, by Bree Tucker.

Spring continues with the return of ducks, herons, egrets and cranes.  A surprising number of swallows showed up for the last days of March.

Greater White-fronted Goose – Moodie Drive Quarry,  Frank Kenny, Milton Road, Richmond Lagoon, Wall Road, all Ottawa.

Pink-footed Goose – Milton Road on the 27th and 30th.  Where was it on the 28-29th?

The flood plain at Milton Road has been very generous with waterfowl this week:  Northern Shoveler, Redhead, Gadwall,  Green and Blue-winged Teal, both Trumpeter and Tundra Swans, and even a singing Vesper Sparrow, as well as the aforementioned rare geese.   Frank Kenny has been good as well.

Long-tailed Duck – A pair in breeding plumage east of the Rapides Deschênes.

Trumpeter Swan – In Prescott and Russell at Cobb Creek flood plain, Lalonde Road, and Clarence Creek.  In Ottawa at Vances Side Road (Dunrobin), Roger’s Pond, and Dilworth Road (Kemptville), Ottawa.

Tundra Swan – Usually rarer than Trumpeters in the region, but many sightings this week:
Lalonde Road, Clarence Creek, Riceville Floodplain, all Prescott and Russell

Red-necked Grebe – Britannia Point, Ottawa, on the 31st.

Golden Eagle – Eagles continue migrating through the region.  Cobb Lake Creek flood plain, Prescott and Russell.   Moodie Drive, Kars, and Frank Kenny, Ottawa.

Glaucous Gull – Moodie Drive Quarry, and the Trail Road landfill, Ottawa.

Black-crowned Night Heron – Pair photographed in the Hunt Club area on the 29th-30th.

Red-headed Woodpecker – Continues on Bayview and/or Goodin Street, Ottawa.

Tree Swallow – Rideau Trail between Scotch Line and Wild Life Road, Lanark.  Constance Creek, Andrew Hayden Park, Britannia Conservation Area, Shirley Avenue, Richmond Lagoons, Kars, in Ottawa.

Barn Swallow – Andrew Hayden Park, Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa.

Red Crossbill – Larose Forest, Prescott and Russell.

Lark Sparrow –  McCaffrey Trail, Ottawa, near Ashton.

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Britannia Conservation Area (Woods), Ottawa.

Special note about Shirley’s Bay.  The DND property is now restricted to official business only. If this changes in the future, there will be an announcement.

Did you know that your observations are valuable to the Third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas?  It’s a province-wide volunteer-based project to map the distribution and abundance of Ontario’s approximately 300 breeding birds. Data from the previous two Ontario Atlases have provided enormous contributions to bird and environmental conservation over the last 40 years.

For more information and to register for this important citizen science effort, please visit: https://www.birdsontario.org/


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 25 March 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Spring roared into town, and the dawn chorus rings with drama!  The first warbler and hummingbird of the season were photographed this week.  Suddenly Woodcock skydance nightly, Eastern Phoebes bob away, and Fox Sparrows kick the leaves.  Six species of geese reported on the 25th.  Too many early FOY to list.

Pine Warbler, Monaghan Forest, by Catherine Lawrence. Usually one of the first warblers to arrive, these tough birds eat more seeds than most warblers, and are very flexible in their cold-weather diet.

Two Richardson’s Cackling Geese, Emerald Meadows, by Tony Beck. Tony says these are likely a bonded pair travelling north with the Canada Geese – note smaller size, shorter neck, stubby bill and squarish head.

Eastern Meadowlark, Navan, by Tony Beck. One of our most striking breeding birds, with a beautiful song as well. This rural bird can be found overgrown fields.

European Starling, Brewer Park, by Judith Gustafsson. Derek says the first Meadowlark he hears in Ottawa every single year turns out to be a starling. Starlings are skilled mimics and total jerks. If you hear a warbler, meadowlark or phoebe in a heavily urban area, look for a starling.

Ring-necked Ducks, Milton Road, by Janice Stewart. Unlike most of our diving ducks, Ring-necked Ducks eat a mostly plant-based diet.

The Third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas is a valuable citizen-science project that we can all participate in.

Ross’s Goose – Cobb Lake Creek flood plain, Prescott and Russell (along with 45,000 Snow Geese) on the 25th.

Greater White-fronted Goose – Frank Kenny, Milton Road, and Thomas Dolan at Carp River, Ottawa.

Barnacle Goose – Sorry about mixing up my Aylmers last time, but this week there really is a Barnacle Goose on the Carp flood plain, March 22-25.  Honestly.  Check  John Shaw / Grant Side Road.

Trumpeter Swan – Dunrobin (Constance Creek), Greenland Road Hawkwatch, and Heaphy Road (Marlborough Forest), Ottawa.

Tundra Swan – (5) Cobb Lake Creek flood plain, March 23, Prescott and Russell.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Anywhere from Strathcona Park to Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Redhead – Britannia Yacht Club, and Milton Road (Vars), both Ottawa.

Many other duck species hit town, including Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Long-tailed Duck, and Gadwell, all seen from the Britannia Yacht Club, Ottawa.  Pintails and Shovelers seen from Milton Road as well.

White-winged Scoter  – Britannia Point, Ottawa.

Golden Eagle – Migrating through now.  Reported this week over the Cobb Lake Creek flood plain, Prescott and Russell, as well as Milton Road, Preston Street, Perrault  Road, Brophy Drive, Ottawa.

Sandhill Crane –  Heritage Drive (Montague), Lanark.  Chemin Therien, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – As many as 4, seen from Parc Moussette, to the Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird  – Milton Road, Ottawa, March 22.

Red-headed Woodpecker – Continue on Bayview and/or Goodin Street, Ottawa.

Lark Sparrow – After a mysterious two week absence, the Lark Sparrow is back on McCaffrey Trail, Ottawa, near Ashton.

Pine Warbler – Well photographed in Monaghan Forest, Ottawa, March 20.  Look for other early warblers.

With the arrival of spring, you have probably enjoyed our local birds beginning to breed.  Many more species will be arriving in the weeks ahead.

Did you know that your observations are valuable to the Third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas?  It’s a province-wide volunteer-based project to map the distribution and abundance of Ontario’s approximately 300 breeding birds. Data from the previous two Ontario Atlases have provided enormous contributions to bird and environmental conservation over the last 40 years.

For more information and to register for this important citizen science effort, please visit: https://www.birdsontario.org/


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 18 March 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

This week brought new geese and blackbirds to town!  Check flocks of both for rarities and other new arrivals.  The big flocks are still south of us, but at least five species of geese are here now. Killdeer are back and Woodcock will soon follow.

Female Pine Grosbeak, Shirley’s Bay , by Tony Beck. Tony says that although most Pine Grosbeaks have left, there are still small numbers present in the Ottawa District.

Small goose, Billings Bridge, by Judith Gustafsson. Cackling Goose or small Canada? Not much bigger than a mallard, and one of the three small geese there that day, smaller than the other Canadas. Short neck. Forehead not steep enough, bill not short enough to make it easy. A small Canada holding its head low? It’s worth studying every bird, but it’s not always worth driving yourself crazy identifying every bird. But since Derek is going to anyway, let’s call it a small Canada Goose.

Bohemian Waxwings, Billings Bridge, by Maureen Mark. Maureen found a flock of 50 Bohemians polishing off the last of the berries. Bohemian will soon be much rarer locally.

Cedar Waxwing, Trail at Birchgrove, by Bree Tucker. As the Bohemians wane, the Cedars will … uh, wax? The Cedars will breed locally, and soon be the dominant waxwings until next winter.

Hermit Thrush, Mud Lake, by Ed Hodgins. At least one tough little Hermit Thrush managed to over-winter at Britannia. It must be very sick of buckthorn berries by now, especially since given its purgative properties.

Incoming songbird of death! Northern Shrike, Vance’s Side Road, by Janet McCullough.

Greater White-fronted Goose  –  Eagleson storm water ponds, Mar 17, and the Jock River at  Eagleson Road on the 14th, both Ottawa.

Trumpeter Swan – Rideau Creek at Rideau River, Ottawa.  Donnelly Drive (Merrickville), Ottawa.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Anywhere from Strathcona Park to Hurdman Bridge, Ottawa. Time is running out to list this bird.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Parc Moussette, Gatineau.

Golden Eagle – Eagles are migrating through now.  Look for tiny dots migrating high up, or swirling panicked masses of geese.   Sightings from Emerald Meadows, Milton Road, and Vance’s Side Road Ottawa, or anywhere along the escarpment in Quebec.

Red-shouldered Hawk –  Richardson Road, (Merrickville), Lanark.   Greenland Road Hawkwatch, Ottawa.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker – Kanata Lakes, Shirley’s Bay (Hilda Feeders), Britannia CA.   Parc du Lac-Leamy, Gatineau.   Chemin Fer- à-Cheval/sentier des Libellules, Gatineau.   Rue de Saint-Malo, Gatineau.

Red-headed Woodpecker – Continues on Bayview and/or Goodin Street, Ottawa.

Tree Swallow  – March 11 at the Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.

Carolina Wren – Everywhere.

Eastern Bluebird – Greenland Road Hawkwatch, Ottawa.

Hermit Thrush – Britannia CA, Ottawa, and Lime Kiln Trail, Ottawa.

Winter finches seem to be winding down.

Pine Grosbeak – One on March Valley Road, one at the Hilda Road feeders, Ottawa.  6 on Winding Lane, Ottawa.

Red Crossbill –  Three over Clarence Cambridge, Limoges, Prescott and Russell.  25 in Larose Forest, Prescott and Russell.  These birds are showing breeding behavior including males feeding females and lots of singing.  And of course, Crazy Horse Trail, Ottawa.

White-winged Crossbill – Eight in Larose Forest, Prescott and Russell, loosely associated with the Red Crossbills.

Swamp Sparrow – Stony Swamp (Chipmunk Trail), Ottawa


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 11 March 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Thursday evening as I type there is a glorious southwest wind that is surely bringing back the migrants, and maybe even some vagrants to the region. And now a storm to drop the birds down into our laps. Get out and bird Friday and this weekend.

Trumpeter Swan, Carleton Place, by Tony Beck. From a distance, few sights are as graceful and peaceful as a pair of bonded swans. Trumpeters however are great believers in personal space, and the peaceful illusion is quickly shattered when the wrong bird gets too close to another, and suddenly you have a 12-kg hissing, striking, and biting dinosaur with great reach.

Common Goldeneye, Deschenes Rapids, by Arlene Harrold. Courting activity is increasing among the ducks, as these males try their best to impress the female.

Northern Pintail, Mud lake, by Kevin Baldelli. This presumably bonded pair arrived together this week.

Female and male Red Crossbill, Larose Forest, by Bree tucker. In Red Crossbills the bills cross equally often to each direction. In White-winged crossbills the lower bill crosses to the right 75% of the time. What the heck, evolution? What could be the advantage that makes a trait 3 times more likely, but only for one of the two similar species.

Lark Sparrow, Ashton, by Tony Beck. One of the three local celebrity birds to successfully make it to March. Like the Kars Titmouse and the Fernbank Boreal Chickadee who are also wintering out of range, this bird sticks close to a human source of seed.

Large Black birds, Ottawa, by Janet McCullough. Blackbirds? Crows? Nope, a rafter of Wild Turkeys.

Female Wood Duck, Billings Bridge, by Judith Gustafsson. The appearance of the feathers of a wood duck varies by sex, season, health, light, and angle of view, resulting in what feels like an infinite array of plumages.

Green-winged Teal – Nepean Creek, and Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Long-tailed Duck – Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Ring-necked Duck – Britannia Conservation Area (CA), Ottawa.

Lesser Scaup  – Bate Island, Ottawa.

Pied-billed Grebe – Britannia CA, Ottawa.

Sandhill Crane  (2) – Murphys Point Provincial Park-Lally Homestead & Trail, Lanark.

Turkey Vulture –  Lismer Crescent (Kanata), Shirley’s Bay (Hilda Road feeders), Tewin Circle (Orléans), Ottawa.

Golden Eagle – Veterans Memorial Hwy (Richmond), Britannia CA, and Gossamer St., Ottawa.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker – Kanata Lakes, Shirley’s Bay (Hilda Feeders), Britannia CA.   Parc du Lac-Leamy, Gatineau.  Corner of Castor and Gregoire, and Plantagenet, Prescott and Russell.

Red-headed Woodpecker – Continues on Bayview and/or Goodin Street, Ottawa.

Boreal Chickadee – Fernbank, Ottawa.

Tufted Titmouse – Kars.

Winter Wren – Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau,

Eastern Bluebird – Sentier des Voyageurs, Gatineau.

Hermit Thrush – Merivale Gardens, and Britannia CA, Ottawa.

Red Crossbill – Many reports:  Highway 7 (Maberly), Lanark.   Crazy Horse trail, Chipmunk Trail, Jack Pine Trail, and Central Riverside South, Ottawa.  Larose Forest, Prescott and Russell.

White-winged Crossbill – Parc de la Gatineau – Chemin Eardley Masham, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.  Britannia CA, Ottawa.  Domaine de la ferme Moore,  Gatineau.  Larose Forest, Prescott and Russell.

Northern Mockingbird – Lac Leamy, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee – Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Lark Sparrow – Ashton.

Swamp Sparrow – Stony Swamp (Chipmunk Trail), Ottawa

Ovenbird – Reported from Britannia CA .  Did the early winter bird manage to survive here?


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 4 March 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Forget robins.  They overwinter here.  The return this week of the beloved Ring-billed Gull heralds the true change of the seasons!  Get your shrikes and redpolls now before they are gone.

Lapland Longspur (and photobomb by Horned Lark), north of Crysler, by Bree Tucker. Never common in Ottawa, longspurs breed in the far north, and mostly winter well south of Ottawa. But every year a few pass the winter here among flocks of Snow Buntings. Like the larks and buntings, they are easiest to see on quiet farm roads, and with patience they may come quite close to a photographer who holds still and/or uses their car as a blind.

Hairy Woodpecker, Mud Lake, by Arlene Harrold. This unusual perspective nicely shows how these birds hold themselves away from the tree using their stiff tail. The extra point of contact may also help support the bird’s weight.

American Goldfinch, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, by Judith Gustafsson. Primarily seen as seed eaters, goldfinches will also eat fruit (as seen here), some small insects, and even spring buds and bark.

Hooded Merganser, Rideau river, by Kevin Baldelli. Another week, another happy hoodie with a presumably less happy crayfish. If anyone is curious about Ontario’s ten species of crayfish, here is a link.

Green-winged Teal – Nepean Creek, Ottawa.

Long-tailed Duck – Rapides Deschênes, and Parc Moussette, Gatineau.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Strathcona Park, Ottawa.

Ring-necked Duck – Riverain Park, Ottawa.

Wood Duck – Sentier du Ruisseau-de-la-Brasserie, Gatineau.  Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Gray Partridge – Magladry-Heuvelmans Road, Ottawa.  Last reported on the 27th.  Deep snow in this location may have forced them to seek better foraging.

Northern Flicker – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker – Kanata Lakes, Shirley’s Bay (Hilda Feeders), Britannia CA .   Parc du Lac-Leamy, Gatineau.  Corner Castor and Gregoire, Prescott and Russell.

Red-headed Woodpecker – Continues on Bayview and/or Goodin Street, Ottawa.

Boreal Chickadee – Fernbank, Ottawa.

Carolina Wren – Britannia CA, Island Park Drive, du Bois Ave., Delong/Combermere,

Eastern Bluebird – Sentier des Voyageurs, Gatineau.

Fewer reports of crossbills, but both species still present in some places such as Larose Forest Grant Road trails, Prescott and Russell, and Red Crossbills have been consistent all winter on the Crazy Horse trail.

Northern Mockingbird – Continues at Lac Leamy, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee – The female towhee in Fine Estate, Ottawa, is very close to successfully overwintering.

Lark Sparrow – Ashton.  Last reported Feb. 28.

Red-winged Blackbird – Rue Rémi, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, CA-QC. Caprihani Way, Ottawa.

Common Grackle – Maberly, Lanark.

Rusty Blackbird – Continues in Quyon, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 25 February 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

New for the year, a Northern Mockingbird singing in Gatineau is a sign of Spring, or perhaps misplaced optimism.

Black-back Woodpecker – Loch Garry Trail, by Janet McCullough. Outside the OFNC circle, but a great find this winter at Loch Garry Trail, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, on the 20th.

Red-Headed Woodpecker, Constance Bay, by Janet McCullough. At least one of the Red-Headed Woodpeckers is over-wintering in Constance Bay.

Female Hooded Merganser, Billings Bridge, by Kevin Baldelli. Diet varies by region and season, but crayfish make up a significant food source for these mergs. Bonus points if you can id the species of crayfish.

Green-winged Teal, Billings Bridge, by Kevin Baldelli. Just a hint of the namesake green patch on the wing, but no question about id.

Mallard, Strathcona Park, by Judith Gustafsson. Speaking of id features, this is more challenging. At first glance it might look like a hybrid. Male-like plumage, but a female from the dark patch atop the bill. These are often older females experiencing a hormonal change. This happens in many species, but locally we notice it most often in mallards. If it happened in a species where the male and female bill are not significantly different, would we even notice?

Carolina Wrens, Frank Ryan Park, by Gillian Boyd. What’s better than a Carolina Wren? Two Carolina Wrens! And hopefully a sign of breeding.

Green-winged Teal – Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Long-tailed Duck – Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.

Turkey Vulture –  Trans-Canada Highway near Walkey Road, Ottawa

Northern Goshawk –  Lodore Road, Lanark.

Black-backed Woodpecker – Outside the OFNC circle, but a great find this winter at Loch Garry Trail, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, on the 20th.

Northern Flicker – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Red-headed Woodpecker – Continues on Bayview and or Goodin Street, Ottawa.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Photographed in Metcalfe, Ottawa.

Canada Jay – Continues on Lavant, Lanark.

Boreal Chickadee – Fernbank, Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird – Sentier des Voyageurs, between Parc Moussette and

golf Château Cartier, Gatineau.   Quigley Hill Road (Cumberland),

Ottawa.

Northern Mockingbird – Reported several times at the Marais nord, Lac Leamy, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee – Fine Estate, Ottawa.

White-throated Sparrow – Raftsman Lane, Ottawa.

Song Sparrow – Wolf Grove Road, Lanark.

Lark Sparrow – Ashton bird continues.

Red-winged Blackbird – Caprihani Way,  Ottawa.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 18 February 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

The Great backyard Bird Count and perhaps the lifting of lockdown led to a huge number of reports this week.  Some of the irruptive species that went south for the winter seem to be dispersing round the region as well.

Northern Horned Larks – Vernon, by Tony Beck. Tony says: “For me, the first sign of spring is when I see increased numbers of Horned Larks in our local farm fields. Although a small number might stick around for the winter, many Horned Larks begin their return through Eastern Ontario’s open country by mid to late February.”

Common Redpoll and Evening Grosbeak, Metcalfe, by Erik Pohanka. Appreciated by species as diverse as tiny redpolls and huge grosbeaks, black oil sunflower seeds pack a very high caloric payload. Mammals as varied as mice, black bears, and certain primates enjoy them too.

Cooper’s Hawk, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, by Judith Gustafsson. Juvenile Cooper’s (and Sharpie’s) chase agile squirrels into and even through trees, but usually give up in frustration. Every once is a while though.

Carolina Wren, Kars, by Bill Buchanan. Our largest wren continues to be reported in amazing numbers this winter. If they all survive the winter – the obstacle that restrains their range expansion – we can expect even more next year.

Red-tailed Hawks, Eagleson Road, by Janet McCullough. A pair of Red-tails hanging out together in February is probably a breeding pair.

Wood Duck  – Sentier du Ruisseau-de-la-Brasserie, Gatineau.  Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Green-winged Teal – Nepean Creek Park, Ottawa.  A Gadwall x Mallard hybrid at the same location.

Long-tailed Duck – Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Between Hurdman Bridge and Adawe Crossing Bridge, Ottawa.

Great Blue Heron – Parc de la Gatineau–Lac-des-Fées, Gatineau.

Turkey Vulture – Five gathered at road kill in Cumberland Village, Ottawa.

Golden Eagle – Reported from Ridgetop road, Ottawa.

Gray Partridge – Latest reports from Beckwith Park, Lanark,  and Dunning Road,  Navan.

Belted Kingfisher – Kanata Lakes, and at March Valley Road, Ottawa.

Northern Flicker – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Dozens of reports this week from all over the region.

Red-headed Woodpecker – Continues on Goodin Street, Ottawa.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – A big surprise, continuing at Van Rens Street, Metcalfe, Ottawa.

Canada Jay – Continues on Lavant, Lanark.

Boreal Chickadee – Fernbank, Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird – A pair continues in Gatineau on the Sentier des Voyageurs, between Parc Moussette and golf Château Cartier.

Hermit Thrush – South West corner of Britannia.  Stoney Swamp South West of the intersection of NCC 24 and the Trans Canada Trail.
Another near Rideau Hall.

Gray Catbird – reported overwintering in Bel-Air Heights, Ottawa.

Evening Grosbeak – After a few quiet weeks, suddenly flocks everywhere.  Dozens of flocks reported from all over the circle.  A spot that continues to be reliable is the Dewberry Trail Parking Feeder, Ottawa.

Pine Grosbeak – Everywhere, but small flocks and single birds, smaller numbers than Evening.

Eastern Towhee – Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Lark Sparrow – Continues near Ashton.

White-throated Sparrow – A flock of five in hurdman Woods, and then several single birds:  Sherbrooke St. E., Perth, Lanark.   In Ottawa
at: Monty Drive, Shirley’s Bay (Hilda Road feeders), Britannia Road, Nepean creek,  Mandor Cres., (Metcalfe), and Raftsman Lane.

A surprising number of blackbirds this week:

Red-winged Blackbird – The overwintering male continues near Caprihani Way,  Ottawa.

Brown-headed Cowbird  –  A male on Aikens, Ottawa,  present for a week. Another reported from Manotick.

Rusty Blackbird  – A continuing bird on Chemin Stanley, Quyon, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Common Grackle – River Road, Ottawa.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 11 February 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Northern Shrike, Prescott/Russell recreation trail, by Janice Stewart. Janice identified this as a first-year or immature bird, based on the incomplete gray band behind the eye, pale base of the bill, and brown cheek. An adult bird presents more starkly: dark areas blacker, pale areas whiter.

Female Common Goldeneye, Adawe Bridge, by Kevin Baldelli. From the shore, the female plumage seems drab compared to the male, but up close the colours are beautiful and the eye is stunning.

Male Common Goldeneye, Adawe Bridge, by Kevin Baldelli. That powerful bill excels at prying mussels off the bottom of the river. Compare it to a flat Mallard bill, built mostly for eating vegetation, or a merganser, designed to catch and grip fast-moving fish. Much of the grinding of the mollusc shells occurs in the muscular crop, not the bill.

Male Hooded Mergansers, Adawe Bridge, by Judith Gustafsson. Judith shot these two males dancing, throwing their heads back and calling. Normally there would be a female pretending to ignore them, until she makes her choice. Adawe Bridge, and the stretch of river south of it, is a winter birding treasure for Ottawa. In February, walk south from the bridge and away from the rapids, and you can actually hear the strange calls of the males as they attempt to impress the females.

Common Goldeneye males, photographed by Judith Gustafsson at Strathacona Park. Insert your own joke about lining up your ducks. The young male at the end makes this an especially arresting image.

Snow Buntings, Akins Road, by Janet McCullough. Akins, Rushmore, and Brownlee are excellent roads to cruise looking for winter visitors such as huge flocks of Snow Buntings, small flocks of Horned Harks, and the occasional Lapland Longspur. The buntings are easy to see in their large flocks. The Longspurs are harder to find, but sometimes can be found as “that dark bird” in the bunting flock. The small flocks of larks move less, and so are less visible than the buntings, but can often be found by the unique – almost electric – quality of their calls.

Wood Duck  – Sentier du Ruisseau-de-la-Brasserie, Gatineau.  Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Northern Pintail – Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.

Green-winged Teal – Nepean Creek Park, Ottawa.

Long-tailed Duck – Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Between Hurdman Bridge and Adawe Crossing Bridge, Ottawa.  This is a great spot to watch and listen to the mating dances of diving ducks in February.

Gray Partridge  – Heuvelmans Road / Magladry Road (Navan), Ottawa.

Golden Eagle  – Adult seen from Kilmaurs Side Road, Ottawa.

Belted Kingfisher – Kanata Lakes, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Parc du Lac-Leamy,  and Rue de Saint-Malo, Gatineau, Britannia Conservation Area, the Hilda Road Feeders, and in Kanata Lakes, Ottawa.

Boreal Chickadee – Fernbank, Ottawa.

Carolina Wren – In Ottawa at du Bois Avenue, Britannia Conservation Area, Frank Ryn & Elmhurst Parks, Revol Road, and Lismer Crescent.

Eastern Bluebird – Still a couple in Gatineau on the Sentier des Voyageurs, between parc Moussette and golf Château Cartier.  A flock of 8 on Stonecrest Road, Ottawa.

Pine Grosbeak– Three in Carp, ten on Saint Laurent Boulevard, and 3 in Rockcliffe, all Ottawa.

Red Crossbills – Woodkilton Road, Monty Drive, Crazy Horse Trail, South March Highlands, Larose Forest, Ottawa.  North of the river at Rivermead Club de Golf, and Sentier du corridor Champlain, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee – Fine Estate, Ottawa.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 4 February 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Lark Sparrow, near Ashton, by Paul Lagasi. Western birds, they came east as the eastern forests were cleared for agriculture, to the point they were even breeding in the Atlantic states. Now eastern farmland is all turning back into forest, or being replaced by urbanization, and these sparrows are retreating back to their historical range.

Lark sparrow, near Ashton, by Bree Tucker.

Grey Partridge, Magladry Road, by Janice Stewart. How hard can it be to see orange birds on white snow? Much harder than it might seem. Notice how hard it is to see two of these three birds, almost completely under the snow as they search for seeds. If the third was down, it would be easy to drive by.

Grey Partridge, Magladry Road, by Janice Stewart. Another trick they use is super slow motion if they notice you noticing them. It’s like watching stone flow imperceptibly.

Canada Goose, Billings Bridge, by Judith Gustafsson. The geese stayed late this year, but now that we have complete snow cover, they should all be gone. A single goose, all alone, is usually in trouble. The ducks (and goose) at Billings are fed daily, and it might make it through the winter.

Bohemian Waxwing, Shirley’s Bay, by Janet McCullough. This photo shows how the namesake waxy wingtips aren’t just colorful feathers, but actual 3-dimensional nubs. These increase in number and size with age, and correlate with breeding success.

Greater Scaup –  One bird reported at various locations in Val des monts, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Continues between Hurdman Bridge and Adawe Crossing Bridge, Ottawa.

Wood Duck  – Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Long-tailed Duck – Rapides Deschênes.

Gray Partridge  – Flocks continue on Magladry Road (Navan),  and off Hazeldean, Ottawa, and perhaps a new flock was photographed this week as well, on private land.  Months with no sightings of these non-migratory birds, and now three flocks.

Belted Kingfisher – A female still catching fish in an open pond in Kanata lakes, another along March Valley Road, Ottawa, one at Chemin Latulippe, Chénéville, Papineau, and a fourth in Gatineau Park, Chelsea, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.  These birds are tough!

Red-bellied Woodpecker –  Britannia Conservation Area, the Hilda Road Feeders, near the Chapman Mills Conservation Area, and in Kanata Lakes, Ottawa. Parc du Lac-Leamy, and a new one on Chemin Fer-à-Cheval, Gatineau.

Canada Jay – Continues on Lavant, Lanark, just tantalizingly outside the circle.

Boreal Chickadee – Fernbank, Ottawa.

Carolina Wren – Continuing at Merivale Gardens,  du Bois Avenue, and Britannia Conservation Area.  And yet another previously unreported Carolina Wren has been coming to a feeder on Island Park Drive for weeks.

Eastern Bluebird –  Continuing on Sentier des Voyageurs, between Parc Brébeuf and Pont Champlain, Gatineau, and on Quigley Hill Road, Ottawa.

All the winter finches have been reported in various locations across the OFNC circle in the first 4 days of February, (except the ever so difficult Purple Finch).

Eastern Towhee – Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Lark Sparrow – After years with no sightings, the third Lark Sparrow of 2020 showed up on Dec. 30 near Ashton on private land, and stayed well into January.  It hasn’t been seen for about a week now.

White-crowned Sparrow – Continuing birds in Richmond,  on Shirley Avenue, and a new one on Kathleen Crescent (Stittsville), Ottawa.

Red-winged Blackbird – The Cardinal Creek Karst Trail, Ottawa, male continues to defy winter and common sense.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 28 January 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Several late birds went unreported this week.  Did they  succumb to the cold, flee, or were they simply not reported?

Brown Creeper, Hammond, by Bree Tucker. This is Brown Creeper camouflage at maximum effectiveness. The feathers have all the same colors as the old birch bark. Creepers look like bark, hunt in the crevasses of bark, and even roost overnight behind loose bark. In winter they may even roost communally. That must be a sight in the morning, as bird after bird magically emerges from the bark of tree.

Female Ring-necked Pheasant, Metcalfe, by Erik Pohanka. There are four species of wild (or at least feral) Galliformes (pheasants, grouse, allies) in Ottawa: Ruffed grouse, Wild Turkey, Gray Partridge, and Ring-necked Pheasant. Only Ruffed Grouse are native. The other three are deliberate introductions, although of them only the Wild Turkey is doing great now. There used to be hundreds of Gray Partridge in Ottawa when the county was more agricultural. Now there are about 15 known birds? And just a handful of free pheasants which may not even be feral, but just recent releases.

Mourning Dove, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, by Judith Gustafsson. Some days its just nice to puff out your feathers, close your eyes and nap in the sun. Feathers evolved before birds did, probably for body insulation, and that is the use this dove is putting them to.

American Tree Sparrow, Russell, by Karine Scott. Sparrows can be tough, but that bi-colour bill, dark on top, bright yellow underneath, is an amazing field mark, visible at a distance and in poor light. The other common field mark – the black smudge on the breast – is almost absent in this bird.

_______ Woodpecker, Beaver Trail, by Janet McCullough. This is a fun image. The beak is at a weird angle and there is nothing for size comparison. So which local woodpecker is this?

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Continues between Hurdman Bridge and Adawe Crossing Bridge, Ottawa.

Wood Duck  – Sentier du Ruisseau-de-la-Brasserie, Gatineau, and Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Long-tailed Duck – Rapides Deschênes.

Gray Partridge  – Flocks at Magladry Road (Navan),  and off Hazeldean, Ottawa.

Great Blue Heron – Really pushing its luck at Leitrim and Albion, Ottawa.

Turkey Vulture –  Larose Forest, Prescott and Russell.

Northern Harrier  –  Akins Road, and off Hazeldean in the Gray Partridge fields.

Belted Kingfisher – Only one report this week in Kanata North.

Red-bellied Woodpecker –  Britannia Conservation Area, the Hilda Road Feeders, near the Chapman Mills Conservation Area, and in Kanata Lakes, Ottawa. Parc du Lac-Leamy, Gatineau.

Boreal Chickadee – Fernbank, Ottawa.

Tufted Titmouse  – Kars, Ottawa.

Carolina Wren – The winter of the wren continues at du Bois Avenue, as well as Shirley’s Brook Park (Kanata),  Avonmore Crescent, Britannia Conservation Area,  and with new reports from the Cardinal Creek Trail ( in Orleans),  and Marlborough Avenue, near Strathcona Park, Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird –  Small flocks near Pont Champlain, Gatineau, and Merrifield Farm, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Hermit Thrush – In the woods behind the Musée canadien de la nature, Gatineau.

Wood Thrush – Continued to at least the 22nd near Dale park, Ottawa.

Pine Siskin – Not eBird rare, but tough enough to find this winter, there were a few more reports this week, including a flock at Jack Pine Trail, Ottawa.

White-winged Crossbill – A small flock Larose Forest, Prescott and Russell.

Red Crossbill – Another small flock in Larose Forest, Prescott and Russell.

Eastern Towhee – Fine Estate, Ottawa.

White-crowned Sparrow – Aylmer (secteur Lakeview), Gatineau, and in Ottawa in New Edinburgh, and at the Trail Road Landfill.

Swamp Sparrow – Chemin Freeman, Gatineau.

Red-winged Blackbird – One male desperately trying to hang onto territory at Cardinal Creek Karst Trail, Ottawa, and two more on Concession Rd 4, (White Lake ), Lanark.

Baltimore Oriole – Photographed on Jan. 20 on Rue Du Duche, Gatineau.  No reports since then.

Ovenbird – Britannia Conservation Area, near the bridge.  Last photographed on the 21st.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 21 January 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Lockdown leads to fewer reports, but people still see great birds in their yards or while walking dogs, etc.

American Goldfinch, Bells Corners, by Janet McCullough. Ever wonder what those birds are doing hanging off the brickwork? Sometimes they are collecting grit to help grind seeds in thier crop, sometimes trying to eat calcium, and sometimes just grabbing a snack of spiders and insect larvae.

Rock Pigeon, Strathcona Park, by Judith Gustafsson. The plumage of this Rock Pigeon is a far cry from the blue-gray that most closely matches the original wild populations of this species. Unusual white in pigeons (and mallards) is often a sign of the influence of human breeding attempts. The white nails do imply a lack of pigment. So leucism? Domestic ancestry? Or both?

Female Evening Grosbeak, Dewberry Trail parking lot, by Vladimir Branicki. Much more subtle than the gaudy, bickering males. Ever wonder why males and female of some species are so different? This comes about in species where the selective pressures for successful breeding are different in males and females. The main criteria for breeding success for a vibrant male like a grosbeak is sexual selection, i.e., the females choose which males get to breed based on their appearance. So females control male appearance. On the other hand, the main criteria for breeding success for the female of the same species may be predators, so subtly helps.

Immature Cooper’s Hawk, Kars, by Bill Buchanan. As feeder birds go, this is both exciting and terrifying. Please don’t eat the titmouse, please don’t eat the titmouse. At least until after the lockdown.

Female White-winged Crossbill, Larose forest, by Bree Tucker. This is the rare case of a bird whose common name makes sense. That bill is super crossed, and those wings have white wing bars. Must have been an off-day for the ornithologist who named it.

First year male White-winged Crossbill, Larose forest, by Bree Tucker. The messy orange plumage tells us the age and sex of this bird, and look how he puts that crossed bill to work removing spruce seeds from deep in the cone.

Lockdown bonus photos

Adult male White-winged Crossbill, Orleans, by Janice Stewart.

Pine Grosbeak, Stittsville, by Vladimir Branicki.

Snow Goose – MacLaren’s Landing, Ottawa.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Hurdman Bridge, Ottawa.

Wood Duck – Sentier du Ruisseau-de-la-Brasserie, Gatineau, and Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Long-tailed Duck – Rapides Deschênes.

Northern Harrier – Barnsdale, Ottawa.

Black Vulture – Continued until at least the 15th on Chemin de la Rivière, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Belted Kingfisher – Hendrick Farm trail, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Britannia Conservation Area, the Hilda Road Feeders, and in Kanata Lakes, Ottawa. Parc du Lac-Leamy, and Chemin Champlain, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Canada Jay – Continues (outside the circle) on Levant Mill Road, Lanark.

Boreal Chickadee – Fernbank, Ottawa.

Carolina Wren – du Bois Avenue, as well as Shirley’s Brook Park, Kanata, Ottawa. Avonmore Crescent, Ottawa. Orleans Park and Ride, Ottawa

Eastern Bluebird – Pont Champlain, Gatineau.

Hermit Thrush – Sentier des Voyageurs, between Parc Brébeuf and Pont Champlain, Gatineau. Another further west in Aylmer, Gatineau.

Wood Thrush – A third thrush species is trying to over-winter near Hurdman, Ottawa.

White-crowned Sparrow – Shirley Ave, Ottawa. Forest creek Drive, Ottawa. Quartier Lakeview-Terrasse, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee – Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Ovenbird – Continued in the Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa, until at least the 16th.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 14 January 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Some snow and falling temperatures in the next week should drive more birds to feeders, improving the view for some birders stuck at home during lockdown.

Snow Buntings, Akins Road, by Vladimir Branicki. A close-up revealing details of the amazing camouflage that makes all or part of the bird disappear against a dirty snowy background. Watching the back of a flock continually fly to the front of the flock as it moves over a good source of food is one of the most mesmerizing sights in winter birding.

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Hurdman Bridge, Ottawa.

Wood Duck  – Sentier du Ruisseau-de-la-Brasserie, Gatineau, and Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Long-tailed Duck – Rapides Deschênes.

Red-breasted Merganser – Remic Rapids Park, Ottawa.

Gray Partridge – Continue on Hazeldean.  If you are wondering why these birds go unreported for months, try spending a cold hour not finding these bright orange birds.  Wait until the lockdown is over though.  Explaining to by-law that you are there to not see a bird would be awkward. A flock was also reported from Huisman Road, Ottawa.

Northern Harrier  – Terry Fox at Fernbank, Ramsayville Road, and Mer Bleue Road, all Ottawa.

Belted Kingfisher – Continues near the Chapman Mills Conservation Area, and another reported from Stony Swamp (Chipmunk Trail), Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker –  Reports continue from Relais Shilly-Shallly, Parc de la Gatineau, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, as well as Britannia Conservation Area, at the Hilda Road Feeders, and in Kanata Lakes, Ottawa. Continues in Parc du Lac-Leamy, and on Rue de Saint-Milo, Gatineau.

Red-headed Woodpecker – Continues in Constance Bay, Ottawa.  New reports from Chemin Link, Chelsea, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Northern Flicker – Photographed at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.  Another on Shirley Avenue.

Canada Jay – Continues (outside the circle) on Levant Mill Road, Lanark.

Boreal Chickadee – Fernbank, Ottawa.

Tufted Titmouse – Kars, Ottawa.

Carolina Wren – du Bois Avenue, as well as Shirley’s Brook Park, Kanata, Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird –  Pinhey’s Point Park, Ottawa.

Hermit Thrush – Sentier des Pionniers, Parc de la Gatineau, and along the Sentier des Voyageurs, between Parc Brébeuf and Pont Champlain, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee – Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Ovenbird – The most surprising bird of the week was a very late Ovenbird reported at various locations in Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa.  Well photographed on the 8th, it was also reported on the 9th and 13th.

Common Goldeneye, Strathcona Park, by Judith Gustafsson. Two female ducks? Nope, those developing face patches show that the bird behind is a first-winter male, developing into adult plumage for the first time.

Bohemian Waxwing, Rockcliffe Rockeries, by Gregory Zbitnew. That weird triangle sitting on the tongue is still the tongue. Possibly driven by the lack of forelimbs to manipulate food, birds have evolved an impressive variety of useful tongue shapes. Do not google ‘goose tongues’ if you wish to sleep well tonight.

Pine Siskin, Barrhaven, by Arlene Harrold. The second hardest to find of the winter finches this year in the OFNC region, after the nearly impossible Purple Finch. A low colour individual like this one could go unremarked in the many redpoll flocks around, but a close look shows the un-redpoll like thin dark beak, and the faintest hint of yellow in the wings and tail.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 7 January 2021

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Barrow’s Goldeneye – Continues at Hurdman Bridge, Ottawa.

Barrow’s Goldeneye, Hurdman Bridge, by Janet McCullough. Barrow’s are rare in Eastern Ontario, but we are lucky to have one or more over-winter on the Rideau most winters.

Wood Duck – The duck at Sentier du Ruisseau-de-la-Brasserie, Gatineau, continues, as does the pair at Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Long-tailed Duck – One in Rapides Deschênes.

Northern Harrier – Hunting the undeveloped land around Huntmar and the 417, Ottawa. Possibly the same bird along Terry Fox / Fernbank. Another South-west of the airport. One on Saint Rose Road (Fournier), Prescott and Russell.

Red-shouldered Hawk – Kerwin Rd trail, Ottawa.

Belted Kingfisher- Proving their dominance over the polar bear dip at Shirley’s Brook, along March Valley Road, on Dunrobin Snowmobile Trail, and near the Chapman Mills Conservation Area, all Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – The invasion grows: new reports from Wilhaven Drive in Cumberland, Ottawa, Relais Shilly-Shallly, Parc de la Gatineau, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, and Plantagenet, Prescott & Russell. Continuing at Britannia Conservation Area, at the Hilda Road Feeders, in Kanata lakes, and on Manotick Island, all Ottawa. Continues to be reliable in Gatineau at Parc du Lac-Leamy.

Red-headed Woodpecker – Constance Bay, Ottawa.

Black Vulture – Continues on Chemin de la Rivière, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Canada Jay – Continues (outside the circle) on Levant Mill Road, Lanark.

Boreal Chickadee – Still visiting Fernbank, Ottawa.

Tufted Titmouse – Flying around Kars in a mixed flock.

Tufted Titmouse, Kars, by Bill Buchanan. This bird is hanging around with a mixed flock of chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers. It’s assumed these mixed flocks form for mutual protection, but maybe the birds just like to party.

Winter Wren – Chemin Vanier, Gatineau, and on the Chipmunk Trail, Ottawa.

Carolina Wren – Continues on du Bois Avenue, as well as Frank Ryn & Elmhurst Parks, Ottawa. New birds reported from Shirley’s Brook Park, Kanata, Ottawa, and Allbirch / Shady Lane, Constance Bay, Ottawa, as well as Marathon Village, Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird – The birds on Quigley Hill Rd, and Pinhey’s Point Park, Ottawa, and the flock on Chemin d’Aylmer, Gatineau, all stuck around another week. New birds were reported from Torbolton Ridge, Ottawa, and Blakeney Park, Lanark.

Eastern Bluebirds at Piney’s Point, by Tony Beck. Thrushes are tough, and both bluebirds and robins can handle Ottawa winters if they have enough food.

Hermit Thrush – Prescott Russell Rec. Trail at Magladry & Belvedere Road, Ottawa.

Red Crossbill – Larose Forest, Prescott and Russell. Along Chemin Eardley Masham, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, Constance Bay and around Dunrobin, Ottawa.

White-winged Crossbill – Larose Forest, Prescott and Russell. In Lanark at Carleton Place, at the Almonte Lagoons, and on Wolf Grove Road. Everywhere in Gatineau and Ottawa in small flocks. Check every spruce tree with decent cones. Even showing up in very urban parks this year.

White-winged Crossbill, Riverain Park, by anonymous photographer. Birds of the Boreal Forest, this winter small flocks of these birds are showing up in any urban park big enough to host a few spruce trees.

White-crowned Sparrow – First winter birds continue on Trail road, and on Shirley Avenue, Ottawa.

Eastern Towhee – Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Song Sparrow – Wolf Grove Road Lanark, Lanark, and at Hurdman Bridge, Ottawa.

Swamp Sparrow – Hurdman Bridge, Ottawa.

Red-winged Blackbird – Birds at Cardinal Creek Trail, Grasshopper Lane (Dunrobin), Thomas Argue Road (Carp) , and March Valley Road, all Ottawa.


A note on COVID and birding in the National Capital Region: Crossing health unit boundaries or provincial borders for non-essential reasons could lead to big fines, as could a spontaneous gathering of birders around a rarity.

Bald eagle, Rockdale, by Weldon Flemming. Let’s call this a second winter or 1.5 year old bird based on eye colour and the white mottling. Or not. Bald eagles take at least 4 years to reach full adult plumage. Most Golden Eagles that are reported to Sightings@OFNC.ca are actually immature Bald Eagles. That’s not surprising, since even John James Audubon had trouble with immature Bald eagles, famously inventing an imaginary species based on a sighting.

Redpoll, Brownlee Road, by Catherine Lawrence. After reading 8 articles on separating Hoary Redpolls from Common Redpolls, Derek has determined that this is, in fact, a redpoll.

American Black Ducks, Billings Bridge, by Judith Gustafsson. The bright all yellow beaks mean the two front ducks are male, and the complete lack of white in the wing patch suggests that the very front duck has little or no mallard genetic material.


Sightings from 2020