For a better look at the wonderful photos submitted by OFNC birders, please click on images.

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

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


COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all Ontario birders should be taking extra precautions and following local, provincial, and federal regulations regarding physical distancing and non-essential travel.


The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas

The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas website is now up-to-date and offers a great deal of information including the simple registration process.

You must register to participate. Please visit: https://www.birdsontario.org/

Everyone in the Ottawa Region who is interested in participating is asked to complete a short questionnaire available at https://forms.gle/6FuZohkLnLLMSv7i8. This will help the Ottawa Regional Coordinator to assess skill and interests, and to identify and assign “principal atlassers” for each 10km x 10km atlas square within our Region.


Shirley’s Bay reminder

OFNC members on the access list must call Range Control (613-991-5740) to provide their names, how long they intend to be out on the causeway, and a mobile number where they can be reached.

There is a 5-person limit on the causeway and this will be strictly enforced. As well, members must comply with any applicable COVID related municipal/provincial regulations. At the time of departure, you must phone and advise Range Control that you are clear of the property. DND also requests that you inform them of any trespassing on the causeway.


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.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 31 December 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Dawn of January 1, 2021 beckons birders with blank year lists and so many great birds to see in this new year.  Happy birding!

Highlights

Boreal Chickadee – The Boreal Chickadee continues on Fernbank, Ottawa.

Other sightings

Wood Duck  – The pair at Billings Bridge continues.

Green-winged Teal – Carleton Place RONA, Lanark.

Pied-billed Grebe – Strathcona Park, Ottawa.

Glaucous Gull – Reported between Deschenes Rapids Lookout and Kitchissippi Lookout, and another was reported from the Ottawa River in Rockcliffe, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Hilda Road Feeders, by Vladimir Branicki.

Red-bellied Woodpecker –  Birds continuing at the Britannia Conservation Area, at the Hilda Road Feeders, and on Manotick Island, Ottawa.  Also reliable in Gatineau at Parc du Lac-Leamy.

Black-backed Woodpecker – Reported from the Baxter Conservation Area, Ottawa, on Dec. 29 but not found again.

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

Ring-necked Pheasant- Not countable–but interesting–a few pheasants are collecting gravel and dodging death near the intersection of  Snake Island Road / Bank Street, Ottawa.

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

Winter Wren – Continues on Wolf Grove Road, Lanark.

Carolina Wren – Seen on from Barnwell Crescent (Navan), and du Bois Avenue, Ottawa.  Heard in the Frank Ryn and Elmhurst Parks, Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird – A bird on Quigley Hill Rd, Ottawa.  A flock on Chemin d’Aylmer, Gatineau.  And a new report of 3 from Pinhey’s Point Park, Dunrobin, Ottawa.

White-crowned Sparrow – The First year bird continues on Shirley Avenue, Ottawa.

Eastern Towhee – The female continues in Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Red-winged Blackbird  – Cardinal Creek Trail behind Caprihani, Ottawa.  Richmond Sewage Lagoons, Ottawa.  Pakenham–South of bridge; east of Co. Rd 29, Lanark, Ontario.


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.

Pine Grosbeak, Richmond, by Tony Beck. Close up revealing female plumage mixed with russet.

Adult male White-winged Crossbills, Carp Ridge, by Tony Beck. Tony says: “Although I’ve seen WWCR feeding on a variety of conifer seeds, this is the first time I’ve observed them feeding on the cones of Eastern White Pine.”

Female and male Common Goldeneye, Strathcona Park, by Judith Gustafsson. The eyes!

Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gull, Strathcona Park, by Judith Gustafsson. Can you ID the juvenile gull on the ice?

Adult male Northern Flicker, Hunt Club, by Amanda Brockington. Another bird that should have gone south, but hung around, probably for the peanuts.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 24 December 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlights

Boreal Chickadee – A new Boreal chickadee in the west end of Ottawa, on Fernbank.  This one has been around for several weeks, so not the Cumberland bird.  The Fieldown Street chickadee was last reported on the 18th.

Boreal Chickadee – Stittsville, by Aaron Hywarren. This is the Fernbank bird. No Boreals for years, and suddenly two this year. Is this part of the finch super flight that is bringing northern birds south this winter?

Notable sightings

Cackling Goose – Continues with the Canada Geese on Akins road, Ottawa.

Wood Duck  – The pair at Billings Bridge continues,  and another male appeared in the Eagleson stormwater ponds, Ottawa.

Green-winged Teal – Deschenes Rapids Lookout, with Mallards.

Double-crested Cormorant – Rockcliff parkway, Ottawa.

Glaucous Gull – One continues at  Deschenes Rapids Lookout, and another was reported from Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Great Blue Heron – Lac-des-Fées, Gatineau.

Belted Kingfisher –  One on Ogilvie Road, Ottawa, and another at the Carleton campus on the Rideau.

Red-bellied Woodpecker –  Birds continuing in Ottawa at the western edge of the Britannia Conservation Area, at the Hilda Road Feeders, and coming to a feeder at Kanata Lakes. New reports in the West on Harbour Street (near Fitzroy PP), and the East on Newton Lane, Ottawa.  Continuing in Gatineau at Parc du Lac-Leamy.

Winter Wren – Continues on Old Quarry Trail (in the marsh), Ottawa, and another on Wolf Grove Road, Lanark.

Carolina Wren – The only report this week was on Villa Crescent, but others are probably still around.

Gray Catbird – Cumberland Village, Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird – Continues on Quigley Hill Rd, Ottawa.  A flock of six in the vacant lot next to the Golf du château Cartier in Gatineau.

Hermit Thrush  – A few individuals at:  Parc du Lac-Beauchamp, Gatineau, and at Britannia Conservation Area, Merivale Gardens, Vincent Massey Park, and South March Highlands Conservation Forest, Ottawa.

Two Christmas bird counts were held in the OFNC Circle over the weekend, and the winter finch super flight was well represented.  Both counts had all the winter finches except Purple Finch.  The 102nd Ottawa-Gatineau count found 5,700 Bohemian Waxwing, more than ten times the ten-year average.  The 5th Richmond CBC had 1800 Common Repolls.

Bohemian Waxwing, Arboretum, by Judith Gustafsson. One of the 6,500 Bohemians reported in Christmas Bird Counts in Ottawa this weekend.

Purple Finch – One reported singing on Lisgar Road, Ottawa.

Hoary Redpoll – One at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, another at Soldiers Line, Richmond, Ottawa, 5 on the Jock Trail, Richmond, Ottawa, and 5 more in The Nation, Prescott and Russell, all reported in flocks of Common Redpolls.

White-crowned Sparrow – A First year bird continues on Shirley Avenue, and an adult on Flewellyn, Ottawa.

Swamp Sparrow – Parc du Lac-Beauchamp, Gatineau.

Eastern Towhee  – The female continues in Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Field Sparrow & Song Sparrow – On Rideau Garden Drive, Ottawa.

Red-winged Blackbird  – The male continues on Cardinal Creek Trail behind Caprihani, Ottawa.

White-throated Sparrow – Shirley’s Bay, by Tony Beck.

American Robin – Arboretum, Central Experimental Farm, by Tony Beck. It’s easy to take the robin for granted, but as thrushes go, this is a striking bird.

Leucistic American Robin, Arboretum, by Judith Gustafsson. It’s always interesting to see which feathers are affected by leucism. Notice the white eye arcs and black eyeline are the same on these robins.

Leucistic European Starling, Orleans, by Sherry Nigro. The white tips of the breast are normal; they wear off by the spring because white feathers are weaker than black feathers. Will the head feathers on this individual wear off as well?


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 17 December 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

A quiet week, but Christmas Bird Counts this coming weekend may flush out some interesting birds.

Waxwings – Britannia, by Tony Beck. Tony says: “Although Bohemian Waxwings are fairly common this winter, there are many reports of Cedar Waxwings, typically in mixed flocks that include both species. Although they’re both fairly similar, telling them apart is straightforward provided you get a good look. Cedar Waxwing is noticeably smaller than Bohemian. Cedar has white undertail and a yellow belly. Bohemian has a cinnamon brown undertail and gray belly. Unlike Cedar, Bohemian has thin white tips to their wing feathers. When they spend winter in the Ottawa area, they normally enjoy feeding on berries and fruit like crabapple, buckthorn, mountain ash and juniper. Note in this photo that the Cedar Waxwing has reddish orange tail tips (rather than the typical yellow). This can occur when the bird feeds on non-native ornamental honeysuckle berries.”

Bohemian Waxwing – Strathcona Park, by Judith Gustafsson. Compare this waxwing. With the cinnamon undertail clearly visible, there is no question as to identity. How many of the identification marks that Tony mentions above can you see from this angle?

Notable sightings

Cackling Goose – One at Brownlee/Akins roads, Ottawa.

Wood Duck  – The pair at Billings Bridge continues, Ottawa.

Wood Ducks – Billings Bridge, by Judith Gustafsson. This photo doesn’t just demonstrate the contrast of male and female breeding plumages, there is also a mystery here. Why, when thousands of Wood Ducks flee Ottawa each winter, does one pair remain at Billings Bridge? Is it the same pair each year?

Northern Pintail – A female-type hanging out with the mallards at Long Island Lock, Ottawa.

White-winged Scoter- Another late duck at Baie Simard, Gatineau.

Horned Grebe  – One reported from Parc des Cèdres, Gatineau.

Double-crested Cormorant – One late-staying bird at Deschenes Rapids Lookout, Ottawa.

Glaucous Gull – One continues at  Deschenes Rapids Lookout, Ottawa.

Belted Kingfisher  – Still hunting the open shoreline along Greenbelt Trail 10, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker –  Continuing in Ottawa at the western edge of the Britannia Conservation Area, and now at the Hilda Road Feeders, and coming to a feeder at Kanata Lakes, Ottawa. Continuing in Gatineau at Parc du Lac-Leamy.

Red-headed woodpecker – At least three continue at Constance Bay, Ottawa.

Canada Jay – Outside the OFNC circle, but much closer than Algonquin, a Canada Jay has been coming to a feeder in Lavant, Lanark, since early November.

Winter Wren – Continuing on Old Quarry Trail (in the marsh), Ottawa, and another on Wolf Grove Road, Lanark.

Carolina Wren – Continuing at Mud Lake, on Villa Crescent, and Au bois Avenue., all in Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird – Continuing on Quigley Hill Rd, Ottawa.

Hermit Thrush – On Bon Echo, Ottawa.

Red Crossbills – A few reports, most consistently from Chemin Eardley-Masham, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Red Crossbill – In Ottawa on the Crazy Horse Trail in Dunrobin, and on the Lime Kiln Trail.  On Marcil Road, Clarence-Rockland, Prescott and Russell.   Consistent on Chemin Eardley Masham, Les

Collines-de-l’Outaouais. At Parc de la Gatineau at Lac Kingsmere, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, and in the woods at the Musée canadien de la nature, Gatineau.

White-winged Crossbill – More widely reported than Red Crossbills at the moment.  Small flocks and/or individuals at Murphys Point Provincial Park – Upper Ski Lot as well as at Staff House, and Wolf Grove Road, Lanark.  All over Ottawa.  In Prescott and Russell on Grant Rd, Limoges and on Sentier Gagnon Trail, Clarence-Rockland.

Evening Grosbeaks – Scattered over the region in small numbers.  Seem to be somewhat consistent on the Crazy Horse Trail, at the Dewberry trail Feeder,  and on Dolman Ridge road.  There is an inaccessible flock of over 100 on Belvedere Road, Prescott and Russell, so there are definitely birds around.

Pine Grosbeaks – Again, scattered reports of small flocks.  Fairly consistent on the Crazy Horse Trail, Ottawa.

White-crowned Sparrow – One on Shirley Avenue, Ottawa.

White-throated Sparrow – Belvedere Road, Clarence-Rockland, Prescott and Russell.

Swamp Sparrow – Continues at Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa.

Song Sparrow – Ottawa Valley Rail Recreational Trail, South of Almonte, Lanark.

Eastern Towhee  – A female continues in Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Red-winged Blackbird  – A male continues to hang tough on Cardinal Creek Trail behind Caprihani, Ottawa.

Adult male Pine Grosbeak – Richmond, by Tony Beck. Tony says: Most of the Pine Grosbeaks currently in the Ottawa area are female or immature male plumages. However, keep your eyes out for the rosy-red adult males.

Female Pine Grosbeak – Richmond, by Tony Beck. Pine Grosbeaks are contortionists, and can often be found hanging upside down to feed.

Russet variant Pine Grosbeak – Richmond, by Tony Beck. Some females and immature males can appear russet brown.

 


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 10 December 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlight

Boreal Chickadee – Last reported Dec 6. on Fieldown St., Ottawa. Seems to have a pattern of flying briefly from the spruce to the suet feeder and back to the spruce, then disappearing for long periods.

Blue morph Snow Goose, Eagleson storm-water ponds, by Janet McCullough. North American Snow Goose population: around 15,000,000. Bridlewood-Emerald Meadows population: 1

Other notable sightings

Green-winged Teal – 4 continue at Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.

Another reported with Mallards at Lake Park, Lanark.

Northern Pintail  – One at  Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau and another on the Jock River by the Richmond Lagoons, Ottawa.

Wood Duck  – A pair between Billings Bridge and Hurdman bridge, on the Rideau River, Ottawa.  Three on D’Aoust Avenue, Ottawa.

Sandhill Crane – A group of 4 continues at the Halte routière, Lochaber, Papineau.

Belted Kingfisher – A male hanging tough on the Rideau River near the Vimy Memorial Bridge, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – The year of  the Red-bellied Woodpecker continues.  Continuing in Ottawa at the western edge of the Britannia Conservation Area, near the Chapman Mills Conservation Area, and at the Shirley’s Bay Dyke.  Also in Gatineau at  Chemin Fer-à-Cheval/Sentier des Libellules, at Parc du Lac-Leamy (at the first feeder), and on Rue Leblanc, Gatineau.  Other birds at Larose forest, Prescott and Russell, and on Indian Creek Rd, The Nation, Prescott and Russell.

Red-headed woodpecker – Continues at Constance Bay, Ottawa.

Winter Wren – Old Quarry Trail, Ottawa.

Carolina Wren – Continuing at Mud Lake, on Fieldown St.,  Villa Crescent, and Au bois Ave., all in Ottawa.

Eastern Bluebird – Quigley Hill Rd, Ottawa.

Hermit Thrush –  Fletcher Wildlife Garden, and Alta Vista Dr., Ottawa.

Eastern Towhee  – Continues in Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Bohemian Waxwings  – Flocks reported in many locations.  A 100-bird flock has been consistently hanging around Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa.

Purple Finch – Common north of the Ottawa  river, there are finally lots of reports on the South side this week.

Red Crossbills – a few reports, most consistently from Chemin Eardley-Masham, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

White-winged Crossbills – reported in small numbers from Fieldown Street, Pine Grove Forestry Trail,  Metcalfe, Old Quarry Trail, and Crazy horse Trail this week.

Evening Grosbeaks – A smattering of recent reports.  There seems to be a small consistent flock on the Crazy Horse Trail, Ottawa.

Pine Grosbeaks – again, scattered reports of small flocks.  There have been a few around the Fletcher Wildlife Garden this week, Ottawa, this week.

White-crowned Sparrow – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Chipping Sparrow – Richmond.

White-crowned Sparrow –  Shirley Avenue, Trail Road Landfill, and Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Swamp Sparrow – Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa.

Red-winged Blackbird  – A couple of males, one on Caprihani Way, another at Cardinal Creek, Ottawa.

Female Pine Grosbeak, Stittsville, by Deanna Wright. Every bit as pretty as the male, if a little more subtle.

Immature White-crowned Sparrow, Fletcher Wildlife garden, by Judith Gustafsson.

Mourning Dove in the fresh-fallen snow, Dewberry Trail, by Tony Beck.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 3 December 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlights

  • King Eider – A female spent Dec. 01 at Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.
  • Black Vulture – Continuing until at least Dec. 03, Chemin de la Rivière, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais. Bird has been there for weeks now.
  • Boreal Chickadee – Showed up on Fieldown St, Ottawa on Dec. 01, and still there Thursday. The suet feeder and spruce used by the bird are visible from the street. Patience may be required as it shows up daily, but not often and not for long.

Boreal Chickadee, Fieldown St., Cumberland, by Richard Yank. Boreal Chickadees are non-migratory northern birds, so what is this bird doing in Cumberland? Like many birds that tough-out winters without fleeing, they cache (or store) food. Boreal Chickadees tend to cache their food in crevices on the underside of dead branches, where the cache remains visible in winter even if the top of the branch is covered in snow.

Other notable sightings

  • Green-winged Teal – At least 4 at Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.
  • Northern Shoveler – A single bird at Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.
  • Wood Duck – A pair at the Billings Bridge, Ottawa.
  • American Coot – At the Shirley’s Bay Dyke, Ottawa.
  • Ross’s Goose – One bird at Chapman Mills Conservation Area, Ottawa.
  • Glaucous Gull – Immature at Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron – A pair of juveniles have been hanging out at the Eagleson stormwater ponds, Ottawa.
  • Sandhill Crane – A group of 4 at the Halte routière, Lochaber, Papineau.
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – Continuing in Ottawa near the Chapman Mills Conservation Area, and at the Shirley’s Bay Dyke. Also in Gatineau at Chemin Fer-à-Cheval/Sentier des Libellules, at Parc du Lac-Leamy (at the first feeder), and at Baie Simard. Probably unreported at more locations.
  • American Pipit – At the Shirley’s Bay Dyke, Ottawa.
  • Winter Wren – Wolf Grove Road, Lanark, as well at the South-east corner of Mud Lake, Ottawa.
  • Carolina Wren – Continuing at Mud Lake, on Fieldown Street, Cumberland, Villa Crescent, and Au bois Ave., all in Ottawa.
  • Eastern Bluebird – Quigley Hill Rd, Ottawa.
  • Eastern Towhee – Continues in Fine Estate, Ottawa.
  • Winter birds seem to be everywhere, at least in small numbers.
  • Bohemian Waxwings – 100 have been hanging around Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa. A huge flock (500+) was reported at Samuel-Eddy/Chemin Alymer, Gatineau on Dec. 01.
  • White-winged Crossbill – At many places in the circle this week, including a flock of 20 at Carleton Place, a pair at Murphys Point Provincial Park, some at High Lonesome Nature Reserve, all in Lanark.
  • Hoary Redpoll – Many in the circle including on Chemin Findlay, and the Brebeuf parking lot, Vanier Street, Gatineau. Really – just check any flock of commons.
  • White-crowned Sparrow – Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.
  • Rusty Blackbird – Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa.
  • Ovenbird – Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa.

White-throated Sparrow, Hilda Road, by Tony Beck. Hilda road is a fantastic place to practice photography. A variety of beautiful birds will drop by, no matter what season you go. And if you are quiet and patient, a Snowshoe hare or Ruffed grouse may wander in.

Bohemian Waxwings, Beechwood Cemetery, by Eric Leger. Gregarious in winter, Bohemians can aggregate in large flocks, and a 100-bird flock has been hanging around Beechwood cemetery. Individually their calls are soft but listening to a large flock is an impressive experience. Subtly colored, but beautiful, these birds breed in the Boreal forests of North America, Europe, and Asia.

Common Redpolls, Berry Side Road, by Brendan Kelly. Another bird that comes together in great flocks in winter is the Common Redpoll. Right now, there are flocks of hundreds of birds in many places around the OFNC Circle.

Cedar Waxwing, Dow’s Lake, by Judith Gustafsson. Cedar Waxwings breed in Ottawa, and so are easier to find in Ottawa most of the time. Unlike their Bohemian cousins, Cedar Waxwings are restricted to North America. Watching a flock flycatching in late summer is an unforgettable sight, yet these hardy birds are perfectly adapted to an Ottawa winter.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 26 November 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlights

Black Vulture – Apparently lurking around the Ferrellton area for a couple of weeks now.  Photographed on Chemin de la Rivière, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, on the 26th.

Possible Pacific Loon reported at Shirley Bay Boat Launch, Ottawa, on the 26th.

Tundra Bean Goose – Regular sightings stopped after the 19th, although it was seen Trim Road, Ottawa, on the 22nd.

Black Vulture, Chemin de la Rivière, by Aaron Hywarren. Well north of its usual range, there have been several sightings in the region over 2020. Unlike our regular Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures do not have an amazing sense of smell to find food. Instead they forage visually, which includes following Turkey Vultures to carcasses.

Overview

Time may have run out to see most of the rare geese in 2020.  The first real snow of the season coated the feeding fields.  Lots of great birds remain, including a ridiculous number of Red-bellied woodpeckers.  There is probably one on your feeder right now.  And look for a Hoary Redpoll or two in every big flock of commons.

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Kars, by Bill Buchanan. These woodpeckers are as gorgeous as they are poorly named. They seem to be having a good year in the region as well.

Hoary Redpoll, Trail Road Landfill, by Tony Beck. Tony says: “Currently, almost every large flock of redpolls has at least one Hoary Redpoll accompanying them. The differences are subtle at best. Note on the Hoary Redpoll that the bill is typically smaller/shorter. Hoary also has an overall brighter/frostier appearance that includes a much whiter ground colour and fewer streaks. On Hoary, the streaks are especially reduced or completely absent, especially on the undertail and rump.”

Other notable sightings

  • Northern Shoveler – A pair at Giroux Road Ponds, Ottawa.
  • Ross’s Goose – Moodie Quarry on the 24th.  Reported daily at Nolan Quarry until the 22nd.
  • Barnacle Goose –  Reported from Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa, on the 22nd.
  • Iceland Gull – Moodie Drive Quarry.
  • Glaucous Gull –  Moodie Drive Quarry.
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – Continue at several locations:  Britannia Conservation Area along the western edge, in Kars,  and near the Chapman Mills Conservation Area, all Ottawa, and at Ch Fer-à-Cheval/Sentier des Libellules, and at Parc du Lac-Leamy (at the first feeder), Gatineau.  Another was spotted this week at Baie Simard, Gatineau.
  • Red-headed Woodpecker continues in Constance Bay, Ottawa.
  • Carolina Wren –  A new pair visited a feeder in Cumberland, Ottawa, today.  Others continue at feeders in Kanata,  Au Bois Ave, Villa Crescent, Du Bois Avenue, and the Britannia Conservation Area, all in Ottawa.
  • Eastern Bluebird  – A flock along Chemin Cook, Gatineau.
  • Eastern Towhee  – Continues in Fine Estate, Ottawa.
  • At this point none of the winter finches are really rare in the circle.
  • Of particular note, a flock of 200-250 Bohemian Waxwings was seen in the Lookout Drive/Fieldown Street area, Ottawa, on the 20th.
  • Cape May Warbler – Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau, on the 19th.
  • Wilson Warbler – Rideau Tennis Club, Ottawa, regular as late as the 24th.

Carolina Wren, Britannia Conservation Area, by Richard Rowlee. Although field guide maps don’t show them in Ottawa, they are here in small numbers and seem to be having a good year. This species has been expanding North for more than a century, but really cold winters push the expansion back temporarily.

Pine Grosbeak, Dunrobin, by Janet McCullough. These birds spend too few winters in Ottawa to not post lots of photos of these beautiful birds when they are here.

Great Black-backed Gulls, Billings Bridge, by Judith Gustafsson. Weighing in at over thee Ring-billed gulls, and with 3.5 times the attitude, these gulls aren’t just scavengers, but willing to hunt prey as big as waterfowl.

Special Note about Owl Woods

The privately-owned Owl Woods on Amherst Island will be closed for the annual hunt from 16th Nov to 6th December inclusive. Please respect this long-standing agreement and stay out of the woods. If visiting at other times and you do see owls, the owners insist that these must not be reported until the season is over, or birders risk losing access.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 19 November 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlights

Tundra Bean Goose – Reported in many locations around the Sarsfield area, most reliably at  Nolan Quarry, Prescott and Russell.

Overview

Yet another awesome week of birding in the OFNC circle.   All the birder attention on the area around Sarsfield might give the impression that most of the good birds are there, but it would be more accurate to say that a lot of great birders from all over Ontario spent a lot of time there this week.  On the other hand, that is definitely where to go looking for rare geese.

Cackling Goose, Andrew Haydon Park, by Tony Beck. Tony says to note the unusual white wing line on the left-most Cackling Goose. This plumage aberration is called “Fault Barring”. It is likely caused by diet changes or stress issues.

Other notable sightings

  • Ross’s Goose – Birchgrove Road, Ottawa, as well as Nolan Road, and Embrun, Prescott and Russell.
  • Greater White-fronted Goose  – Avalon storm water ponds, Milton Rd, and Dunning Road, Ottawa.
  • Barnacle Goose –  Birchgrove Road, Ottawa and Nolan road, Prescott and Russell.
  • Cackling Goose  – Almonte Lagoons, Lanark, and at various locations around Ottawa and Prescott-Russell.
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – Continues at the Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa and at Ch Fer-à-Cheval, Gatineau.  Another one was spotted at Lac Leamy, Gatineau.
  • Carolina Wren –  Villa Crescent, as well as Du Bois Avenue, and the Britannia Conservation Area, all in Ottawa.
  • Red Crossbills – A pair along Bellamy Road, Mississippi Mills, Lanark.
  • White-winged Crossbill  – Reported from Nolan Quarry, and nearby on Belvedere Road, Prescott and Russel.
  • Hoary Redpoll  – Small numbers continue to be reported widely, including Lake Park Rd, Beckwith, Lanark, Casselman, Prescott and Russell, and Grioux and Frank Kenny roads, Ottawa.
  • Pine Grosbeak –  Nolan Quarry, Prescott and Russell.   In Ottawa at
  • Charlies Lane, as well as on the Crazy Horse Trail, Ottawa.
  • Some really tough warblers persisted this week, despite the cold:
  • Orange-Crowned Warbler – In Sandy Hill, Ottawa.
  • Nashville Warbler – Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa.
  • Wilson Warbler – Rideau Tennis Club, Ottawa.
  • Northern Parula  – Rideau Tennis Club, Ottawa.

Redpolls, Casselman, by Arlene Harold. What’s the most fun thing about redpolls? These tough little birds can drop out of trees into snow and make tunnel roosts under the snow to stay warm. How many species do you see in this photo? Derek sees two. Got a different answer? That’s OK, taxonomists are debating whether there are 1, 3, or 6 species of redpoll. Any answer will be correct at some point in the future.

Female Northern Cardinal, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, by Judith Gustafsson. Female bird song is understudied for the most part, but cardinals are one species where female song is well documented.

American Crows, Huisman road, by Janet McCullough. Ever wonder how many crows there are in Ottawa? About 100,000, according to Birds Studies Ottawa. In winter crows form large communal roosts, sometimes with thousands of birds.

House Finch, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, by Judith Gustafsson. Looking at this perfectly adapted bird on a cold November Ottawa day, it’s hard to believe that this was a desert dweller of the American South West until a handful of birds were released in New York City in 1939. Since then it has become one of the most common songbirds of the North East.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 12 November 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlights

Bean Goose – First seen Nov. 8 at the Masson Angers sewage lagoon in Gatineau, it crossed the Ottawa River to Cumberland with birders in hot pursuit.  It has appeared on and off in and over the fields and water bodies in the Sarsfield Area ever since.  No official word on which species–Tundra or Taiga–yet.  Reported as recently as Nov. 12.

Prothonotary Warbler – A late and lost bird was photographed in Beacon Hill on Nov. 9.

Tundra/Taiga Bean Goose, Sarsfield, by Tony Beck. This Eurasian visitor is so rare that birders from near and far are scouring every field and accessible waterbody in the Sarsfield area multiple times daily. This photo demonstrates how hard it would be to pick out this mega rarity if it were sleeping or feeding in a field of hundreds of Canada Geese, which it most certainly is, most of the time.

Tundra/Taiga Bean Goose, Sarsfield, by Bree Tucker. This zoomed photo shows the extend of orange on the bill, a key id feature to separate the species of Bean Goose.

Prothonotary Warbler, Beacon Hill, by Carol Vellan Cameron.
Gorgeous in any circumstances, the unique yellow of the Prothonotary Warbler really glows against the dark waters and shady woods of the swamps it normally breeds in. This bird looks than a little out of place, foraging in sedum and hanging out with Juncos in Ottawa in November.

Other notable sightings

  • Ross’s Goose – A pair of geese, possibly hybrids, seen south of Carling Road at Riffle Road, Ottawa. Nov. 08.  A clear Ross’s Goose showed up the same day at the Eagleson storm water ponds, Ottawa.  Two more in Embrun on the 9th. One off Nolan on the 12th.
  • Greater White-fronted Goose  – Reported from Russell, Prescott-Russell,  the Almonte Lagoons, Lanark, and Milton Road, Wall Road, and Trim Road, Ottawa.
  • Barnacle Goose- Reported Nov. 6, off Nolan Road, Prescott-Russell, and Nov. 12 off Sarsfield Rd, Ottawa
  • Throw in Brant, Canada, Snow and Cackling Geese, and there have been eight species of geese reported from the circle this week.
  • Bonaparte’s Gull – One reported Nov. 6, Lac Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Papineau.
  • Iceland Gull  – One reported at Bate Island, Ottawa, on Nov. 6, one at PN de Plaisance, Papineau, Nov. 7, and one –  Carleton Place pond, Lanark, Nov. 7.
  • Golden Eagle – One each reported from Fitzroy Provincial Park,, Nov. 7, Berry Side Rd, Nov. 7, and French Hill/Dunning road, Ottawa, Nov. 10.
  • White-rumped Sandpiper- up to 14 reported from Embrun,  and another from Nolan Road, Prescott and Russell.  Seven reported from Black Rapids, Ottawa.
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – Continues at the Britannia Conservation Area. Others were seen along the Shirley’s Bay Dyke (restricted access), and in Kars, Ottawa, as well as Chemin du fer a cheval, Gatineau.
  • Tufted Titmouse – One individual has been visiting a feeder in Kars for a couple of weeks now.

Tufted Titmouse, Kars, by Bill Buchanan. These charming little gray birds have been expanding Northward into Southern Canada for decades. Maybe one day it will be as common as Northern Cardinals in Ottawa. In the meantime, Derek has chased this “don’t worry, it’s there everyday” bird from Niagara to Point Pelee, and all the way to Montreal to no avail.

  • Red Crossbills – A flock continues at High Lonesome Nature Reserve, Lanark.  Others have been seen at Indian Creek Road, The Nation, Prescott and Russell, Canaan Road, Prescott and Russell, and Wolf Grove Road, Lanark.
  • White-winged Crossbill  – Canaan Road, Prescott and Russell.
  • Hoary Redpoll  – Surprisingly common at the moment, usually single birds reported from Sixth Line Road, Vance’s Side Road,  Berry Side Road, and the Prescott-Russell Trail Link, all Ottawa, plus Catherine St, The Nation, and Canaan Road, Prescott and Russell.
  • Pine Grosbeak  – A flock of 5 seen at Voyageur Provincial Park, Prescott and Russell.

Special Note about Owl Woods

The privately-owned Owl Woods on Amherst Island will be closed for the annual hunt from 16th Nov to 6th December inclusive. Please respect this long-standing agreement and stay out of the woods. If visiting at other times and you do see owls, the owners insist that these must not be reported until the season is over, or birders risk losing access.

Long-tailed Duck, Andrew Hayden Park, by Natalie Feldman. These sometimes spectacular but sometimes just weird looking diving ducks migrate through the area each Spring and Fall.

Northern Mockingbird, Perrault Road, by Tony Beck. Every Mockingbird creates it own unique song from sounds copied from other species, but the mocker is still easy to identify by song alone. This the only local mimic to string phrases of three identical sounds in a row in the middle of it’s long and varied song.

Evening Grosbeak, Hammond, by Janet McCullough. Is there a more beautiful, or more grumpy looking, winter visitor to our area?


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 5 November 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlights

Lark Sparrow –  The sparrow spent Halloween afternoon hanging with juncos at Tunney’s Pasture, Ottawa.

Lark Sparrow, Tunney’s Pasture, by Tony Beck. This pretty sparrow drew a fash mob of birders to an empty parking lot on Halloween, much to the amusement of the local dog walkers. The sparrow itself was unimpressed.

Black-legged Kittiwake – a kittiwake was photographed flying around Bate Island, Ottawa, on Nov. 2.

Neither bird has been refound.

White-breasted Nuthatch, Fletcher wildlife garden, by Judith Gustafsson. This is a very characteristic pose for this species, as it uses one eye to evaluate the situation before flying in.

Other notable sightings

Barrow’s Goldeneye  – A male continues with a flock of Common Goldeneye on the Rideau River between the Hurdman Bridge and St. Patrick’s St, Ottawa.  A female was seen at Andrew Hayden Park, Ottawa.

Red-throated Loon – Single birds were seen on the river off Clarence-Rockland, Prescott and Russell, and in Baie Simard, Gatineau.

Ross’s Goose – There have been a few in the region: one Nov. 3 off Dick Bell Park, Ottawa, one Nov. 1 at Embrun Sewage Lagoons, Prescott and Russell, and a small flock at the St. Isidore Sewage Lagoons, Prescott and Russell, the same day.

Just east of the OFNC circle, flocks of thousands of Snow Geese are staging, and well worth the drive for the inspiring sight and sound.

Iceland Gull – A first year bird was seen at the Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau, and at the Trail Road Landfill, Ottawa.

White-rumped Sandpipers – Winter birds may have arrived, but some shorebirds are still passing through, and this late in the season, peeps often turn out to be White-rumped Sandpipers, including  one at the Eagleson storm water ponds, and another at Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.

White-rumped Sandpiper, Richmond Conservation Area, by Vladimir Branicki. Check out the flattened tip of the beak. Different shorebird species have a wide variety of bill shapes and sizes to match different feeding strategies.

American Golden-Plover – A single bird on Wall Road, Ottawa.

Golden Eagle – Eagles continue to migrate through the area, with sightings from Dick Bell Park, Shirley’s Bay (boat launch), both Ottawa, and Mississippi Mills, Lanark.

Red-headed Woodpecker  – At least one adult continues in Constance Bay, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Surprisingly common this week with migrating birds seen on the Shirley’s Bay Dyke, Weatherly Drive, Britannia Conservation Area and a long-staying and wide-ranging bird (or birds) near the Chapman Mills Conservation area, all on the Ottawa side, as well as visiting a feeder in the Ch Fer-à-Cheval/Sentier des Libellules area, Gatineau.

Red-bellied Woodpecker, near Johnson’s Corner, by Pam Laprise. Pam carefully observed the bird’s habits, then figured out where to set up a trail-cam to catch the bird on its regular route. That observe and predict approach is a really great tool for birders and photographers. Figure out how the bird interacts with its environment, and position yourself or your camera to capture the image you want.

Northern Mockingbird – A long staying bird on Perrault Rd, Ottawa, and a second bird seen at the Moodie Drive Ponds, Ottawa.

All the winter finches were reported in the circle this week.

Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa, has consistent (but never guaranteed) grosbeak sightings.

White-winged Crossbill  – Four on the Prescott-Russell Rec Trail east of Canaan Rd, and a pair at Clarence Creek,  Prescott and Russell.

White-winged Crossbill, Prescott-Russell Rec Trail , by Bree Tucker. It would be very easy to overlook this nondescript female finch unless you notice the enormous upper mandible, and how the lower bill crosses it. This unusual bill configuration is perfect for prying tasty pine nuts and other conifer seeds from cones.

Hoary Redpoll  – Multiple sightings of single birds reported on Galetta Side Rd, Ottawa, Berry Side Rd, Ottawa, as well as Beechgrove, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Eastern Towhee  – One bird in Parc du Lac-Leamy, Gatineau (at the feeder between the lake and the bike path).  Another long staying bird in Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Late warblers:  Wilson’s Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler have been seen for a couple of days near the Rideau Tennis Club, Ottawa.

Bay-breasted Warbler, Rideau sports Centre, by Gregory Zbitnew. Unlike most harder-to-identify late fall warblers, this Bay-breasted still has a hint of namesake color on its flank.

Female plumage Red-breasted Merganser, Andrew Haydon Park, by Tony Beck. Note the serrated edge to the long narrow bill, perfect for catching slippery fish.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 29 October 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlights

Little Gull  – a Little Gull showed briefly at the Shirley’s Bay boat launch, Ottawa, on the 29th.  Hopefully it will be found again.

Little Gull, Shirley’s Bay, by Aaron Hywarren. The easiest way to spot a rare Little Gull is to notice that too-dark-to-be-a-shadow underwing. This well-named gull is even smaller than the Bonnaparte’s Gulls it often associates with.

Notable sightings

Barrow’s Goldeneye  – a female over the Carleton Place boat launch, Lanark, and a male spotted at various locations on the Rideau River between the Hurdman Bridge and St. Patrick’s St, Ottawa.

Red-throated Loon  – one in Baie Fraser, Gatineau, another in Clarence-Rockland,  Prescott and Russell, and a pair in Baie Simard, Gatineau.

Seven species of geese this week, including:

  • Barnacle Goose – the continuing bird put in a brief appearance at Andrew Haydon Park East, Ottawa.
  • Ross’s Goose – photographed near Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.
  • Greater White-fronted Goose – one at Parc des Cèdres, Gatineau on the 25th.
  • Cackling Goose  – a flock at Parc des Cèdres, Gatineau, also on the 25th.

Glaucous Gull  – 1 confirmed off the Sentier des Voyageurs, Gatineau.

Golden Eagles – reported migrating over Dunrobin and over the Ottawa River east of the Deschenes rapids on the 24th.  Many other raptors migrated that day as well.

Red-headed Woodpecker  – at least one adult continues in Constance Bay, Ottawa.

Red-bellied Woodpecker – at least one reported at the Chapman Mills Conservation area, Ottawa, and coming to a feeder nearby.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – a somewhat late but extremely cooperative and well studied individual, photographed at Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Ottawa.

Northern Mockingbird  – seen briefly at Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa.

Bohemians – the flock or flocks continued along Vance’s Side Road, Dunrobin, Ottawa, at least until Sunday.

All the winter finches were reported in the circle this week, but Evening Grosbeaks were suddenly everywhere in small flocks.

Hoary Redpoll – one in the Rockcliffe Airport Woods, Ottawa.

Non-breeding Snow Bunting, Andrew Haydon Park, by Tony Beck. A single bunting is always impressive, but a flock in blowing snow becomes mesmerizing as the back of the flock continually overflies the front and their plumage makes parts of the birds flicker or disappear as they move past each other.

Common redpoll, Palladium Drive, by Arlene harold. A poor crop of some species of birch has brought few south this winter.

Male Ring-necked Duck, Dow’s Lake, by Judith Gustafsson. This fall migrant is easily identified by the almost invisible brown ring around the neck… No, no, it isn’t. Surely this is one of the least useful names for a duck, and persists from the days when the only way to identify a bird was to shoot it and examine it in the hand. Maybe there is a ring – most birders will never get close enough to see it. The white edging around the bill, or the white spur on the side, does allow an easy id from a distance.

Evening Grosbeaks, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, by Judith Gustafsson. Unlike many of the winter birds that seek out fruit, the grosbeak uses its huge bill to scrape off the fruit and cush the hard seeds hidden within.

Bohemian Waxwings, Vance’s Side Road, by Janet McCullough. Another species that has been absent from the area for months, and a welcome visitor.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 22 October 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Overview

The birds of fall replace the last lingering summer birds.  Almost all the ducks of fall are represented this week,  including Long-tailed Duck and Northern Shovelers.  Northern shrikes arrived, and Rusty Blackbirds are all over.  Thrushes are rushing south, and warblers are few and far between, except for the Yellow-rumped Warblers.

 

Male Wood Duck, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, by Judith Gustafsson. Male Wood Ducks are showing the full range of appearances this week. This duck, still mostly in eclipse, demonstrates how well the plumage camouflages them in the summer. Other males in the area appear to be in full breeding plumage.

Notable sightings

  • American coot –  one at Dow’s Lake, Ottawa.
  • Scoters – all three species reported from Lac Deschenes this week. Look for them anywhere from Shirley’s Bay to Britannia Pier.
  • Greater White-fronted Goose – one reported with Canada Geese east of Chrysler.
  • Trumpeter Swan – one with Canada Geese at Central Park Blvd, Prescott and Russell.
  • Golden Eagle – one at Shirley’s Bay and one at Borrisokane and Barnsdale, Ottawa, on the 17th.
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – one photographed on Chemin de la Baie Lochaber, Gatineau on the 17th.
  • Bohemian Waxwing – as many as 56 at Constance Creek at Vances Side Road, Ottawa.
  • Evening Grosbeak – small numbers from Jack Pine Trail, Manotick, and Richmond.
  • Common Redpoll – all on the north side this week:  three flying over the Sentier de la sucrerie, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, two in Hull, and three over Rue de Ganymède, Gatineau.

Adult winter Bonaparte’s Gull, Shirley’s Bay, by Tony Beck. These small, graceful, and beautiful gulls are easily ignored, but always worth a closer look.

Juvenile Pied-billed Grebe, Britannia, by Tony Beck. If birds didn’t already have enough breeding strategies, grebes build floating platforms for nests.

Fox Sparrow, Britannia, by Tony Beck. A real sparrow-lover’s sparrow. Huge, sneaky, and very musical in the spring. In the fall, just huge and sneaky.

Young tom Wild Turkey, Britannia, by Tony Beck. Despite the dogs and people, there have been Wild Turkeys at Britannia for a few years now.

Young Cooper’s Hawk, Central Park neighbourhood, by Anonymous. Juvenile accipiters can be tough to tell apart, but this bird’s enormous legs and talons separate it from the smaller Sharp-shinned hawk. Some predators kill with their beaks, but accipiters squeeze their prey to death, and the strong hunting gear of this bird enables
it to take large prey such as morning doves.

Northern Parula – Britannia, by Tony Beck. Enjoy the final warblers of 2020 while you can.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 15 October 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Hooded Mergansers, Brewer Park, by Judith Gustafsson. Notice how different the males’ heads look depending on how much they erect their crest.

Fall birding as ducks, geese and grebes increase, and all of the winter finches have been reported recently, at least in small numbers.

Any remaining warblers should be checked carefully as possible rarities.  Lots of not-eBird-rare but only-seen-on-migration birds such as Brant and Rusty Blackbirds are passing through.

Notable sightings

Barnacle Goose –  led a (probably) wild goose chase, appearing at Andrew Haydon Park several times, with flights to Wesley Clover Park and Mud Lake,  Ottawa, from the 10th to the 12th, always accompanying Canada Geese.

Barnacle Goose, Andrew Hayden Park, by Martha Burchat. Rare geese like this are often found in flocks of Canada Geese. Scanning a big flock is like playing a game of one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others for adults. Or birders pretending to adult.

Canvasback – 3 on the 11th at Dick Bell Park, Ottawa.

Scoters – all three species have been seen in the area this week.

Glaucous Gull – 1 huge all-white gull digiscoped at Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.

Hudsonian Godwit – 1 reported on the 12th at Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.

Rough-legged Hawk  – a dark morph on the 14th at the Rockcliffe Airport Woods, Ottawa, and a light morph over the fields leading to Constance Bay, Ottawa, on the 11th.

Bohemian Waxwing – absent for months, 3 were seen on the 14th in Dunrobin (Constance Creek), Ottawa.

Common Redpoll  – a flock of 6 in the Rockcliffe Airport Woods, Ottawa, and a single bird at the Richmond Sewage Lagoons, Ottawa, both on the 9th.

White-winged Crossbill – a pair overhead at the Chapman Mills Conservation Area, Ottawa, on the 9th, and 3 at Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa, on the 11th.

Evening Grosbeak  – on the 9th and the 12th on Wolf Grove Road, Lanark.

Pine Grosbeak – a single bird at Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa, on the 11th.

Snow Bunting – a small flock heard Wolf Grove Road, Lanark, on the 9th, and a single bird calling overhead at Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa, Ontario.

Nelson’s Sparrow  – continues at Constance Creek, Ottawa.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Britannia Conservation Area, by Tony Beck. The ruby crown is often hidden, but this preening bird is showing off its namesake.

Pine Siskin, Rockcliffe Airport woods, by Gregory Zbitnew. Feeding on asters.

Red-winged Blackbird, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, by Judith Gustafsson. Even though the breeding season is long over, this male is still singing away.

Mystery bird, South Keys/Greenboro, by David Allen. A leucistic sparrow-like bird. If you think you know what it is, suggest an answer in the comments. I’ll give the correct answer by Saturday, unless someone comes up with a better answer than me, then I’ll pretend that was my answer all along.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 8 October 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlights

  • Townsend’s Solitaire – seen on the 4th and 5th at Parc du Lac-Beauchamp, Gatineau.
  • Hudsonian Godwit – reported at the Giroux ponds, Ottawa, on the 4th.
  • Redpolls  – a Hoary Redpoll (and 3 Common Redpolls) seen in Constance Bay, Ottawa, on the 8th.
  • Tufted Titmouse – one in Orleans, Ottawa, on the 8th.  Add that to the sighting in Kars last week, and the one in Hawkesbury, and maybe titmice are on the move?

Tennessee Warbler – One week into October, and there are still migratory warblers staging through the Britannia Conservation Area. By Tony Beck.

Orange-crowned warbler, Britannia Conservation Area, by Deborah Mosher. This is a true fall migrant, hard to find, challenging to ID, and nearly impossible to photograph. The first hint that you’ve found an Orange-crowned is how faint all the field marks are, and a general sense of a very low contrast bird. Notice how the colour on this bird blends gradually, making the closely related Tennessee Warbler suddenly more colourful and contrasting.

Hermit thrush, Fletcher Wildlife Garden, by Judith Gustafsson.
Several species of thrushes are migrating through the area this week, making them easier to see than usual. This bird is showing off its reddish tail, in contrast to the cool brown body, making it one of the easiest thrushes to ID.

Overview

While there are still many warblers and thrushes passing through, and a few shorebirds migrating, this week someone flipped the switch to Fall birding.  Impossibly distant Golden Eagles soar high overhead; juvenile White-crowned Sparrows fill every bush, and rarer sparrows hide in the scrub and marshes, while snow buntings and redpolls call overhead.

Other notable sightings

Red-throated Loon – an immature seen from both the dyke and the boat launch at Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa.

White-winged Scoter – more than 60 in a flock off Dock Bell park, Ottawa, with a few Redhead.

Ross’s Goose –  at the RA Centre, Ottawa, on the 4th, and another at the Moodie Quarry, Ottawa, on the same day.

Barnacle Goose  – one at Nolan Quarry, Prescott and Russell, from the 4th to the 6th.

Trumpeter Swan – a pair flying over Fine Estate, Ottawa.

Pomarine Jaeger – this bird very generously stayed until at least the 6th.

Snow Bunting – A single bird was heard calling as it flew over Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa, on the 6th.

Nelson’s Sparrow  – continuing at Constance Creek, Ottawa, and photographed at other marshes along the Ottawa River.

White-winged Crossbill – for variety this week,  White-winged replaced the lingering Red Crossbills at Murphys Point Provincial Park, Lanark.

Orange-crowned warblers – passing through with sightings at Bate Island, Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa, and elsewhere this week.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo – photographed at Baie Simard, Gatineu, on Oct. 8.

The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas

The Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas website is now up-to-date and offers a great deal of information including the simple registration process.

You must register to participate. Please visit: https://www.birdsontario.org/

Everyone in the Ottawa Region who is interested in participating is asked to complete a short questionnaire available at https://forms.gle/6FuZohkLnLLMSv7i8. This will help the Ottawa Regional Coordinator to assess skill and interests, and to identify and assign “principal atlassers” for each 10km x 10km atlas square within our Region.

American Crows, including one individual with white wing patches – a rare but regular plumage variation. Britannia Conservation Area, by Tony Beck. Tony says this is the fifth time he has seen this American Crow plumage within the Ottawa District.

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow, Hilda Road, by Derek Dunnett. This crisp plumage surprises me each fall, when suddenly there are flocks everywhere of these juveniles on their first migration south from the breeding grounds.

Hooded Merganser, Billings Bridge, by Judith Gustafsson. Just a really striking intermediate plumage for this male.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 1 October 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlights

Pomarine Jaeger – It’s been a week of exciting chases between Andrew Hayden Park and Britannia Pier, Ottawa.  Well, exciting for the birders and the jaeger.  More terrifying for the Ring-billed Gulls.

Juvenile Pomarine Jaeger, Lac Deschênes, by Paul Lagasi. To a gull, this is the avatar of fear and hunger. Jaegers’ main hunting strategy is to harass gulls until they drop their catch or regurgitate their last meal.

Juvenile Pomarine Jaeger, Lac Deschênes, by Aaron Hywarren. Although the jaeger is barely an inch longer than a Ring-billed Gull, it’s 40% heavier, and yet somehow faster and more acrobatic than a terrified gull. And because the bird is so dark, those white flashes under the wing can be seen from a great distance.

Tufted Titmouse – A Tufted Titmouse has been photographed in Kars this week.

Nelson’s Sparrow  – Constance Creek, Ottawa. Several birders have pointed out that this individual can be seen at the edge of the marsh with a little patience, and does not require the use of playback or trampling over sensitive habitat.

Nelson’s Sparrow, Constance Bay, by Aaron Hywarren. Annual fall visitors to the marshes along the Ottawa river, Nelson’s Sparrow’s are secretive, colourful, and experts at aerial yoga.

American Coot – annual but not always easy to see, this bird spent a couple of days at the mouth of the western creek  in Andrew Hayden Park.

Overview

Summer sparrows are being replaced by fall and winter versions.

Warbler variety is falling. Some that were common two weeks ago now appear as rare on eBird. There are scattered reports of pipits and siskins.  Duck numbers and species are increasing.

Juvenile Chipping Sparrow, Brewer Park, by Judith Gustafsson. Fall is the season of the mystery bird. This first winter bird is confusing if you are expecting the smooth rufus cap of an adult, or the striped breast of a juvenile.

Other notable sightings

Snow Goose – a flock of 6 continues at the Halte routière, Lochaber, Papineau.  One bird was seen over Baie McLaurin, Gatineau, another at Billings Bridge, Ottawa, and a small flock in Baie Noire, PN de Plaisance, Papineau.

Adult Snow Goose, Andrew Haydon Park east, by Tony Beck. Waterfowl migration has begun with the first Snow Geese arriving. Zoom in on its serial killer grin, and you’ll never trust a goose again.

Cackling Goose – reported from Andrew Hayden park and Billings Bridge, Ottawa.

Black Scoter – a flock of six flew past Petrie Island on the 25th, Ottawa.

Trumpeter Swan –  a pair observed flying alongside Highway 7 near Ashton might be the pair reported earlier in the year.

Glaucous Gull – one report from Andrew Hayden Park.

Red-headed Woodpecker  – some continue in Constance Bay, while a juvenile, probably from this family, has dispersed into Dunrobin, Ottawa.

Least Flycatcher  –  Rockcliffe Airport Woods and Richmond Sewage Lagoons, Ottawa.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher – single birds were reported from Britannia Conservation Area, and Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa.

Northern Mockingbird  –  a frustratingly brief appearance on Sep 27, Andrew Haydon Park East, Ottawa.

American Tree Sparrows  – arriving in small numbers in Dunrobin, and at Andrew Hayden Park, Ottawa.

Fox Sparrow – single birds at Chapel Hill and Richmond sewage lagoons,  Ottawa and in Montague, Lanark.

Evening Grosbeak  – a pair in Montague, Lanark.

Coming next week:  info about the next Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas.

Female plumage Indigo Bunting, Britannia Filtration Plant, by Tony Beck. It’s a sparrow! No, warbler? Finch? …, it’s a Little Brown Bird? Always double-check the little brown birds for unexpected treasure. As Tony says – it’s not just warblers and vireos migrating along the Ottawa River’s riparian growth.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 24 September 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Highlights

Pomarine Jaeger – for the first time in years, the local gulls feel the terror of the Pomarine Jaeger.  Reports started on the 22nd and continue to the 24th.  Apparently giving great views between Andrew Haydon Park and Britannia pier, Ottawa.  This is the first eBird record in the circle since 1973.

Juvenile Pine Warbler – Britannia Conservation Area, by Tony Beck. According to Tony: this is one of the most confusing fall warblers. Note the uniform gray colour, the subtle darkish auricular, the pale neck patch and the relatively thick bill. According to Derek: I would definitely misidentify this bird!

Other notable sightings

Great Blue Heron – The Arboretum, by Judith Gustafsson. Great Blues are opportunistic feeders and will take mammal prey as large as gophers.

Snow Goose – A single bird east of Quyon, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, another pair flying near the Rona, Gatineau, and another single at the Mississippi Lake Bird Sanctuary, Lanark.

Cackling Goose – Bell High School, Ottawa, Ontario.

Brant – A pair flying over Kanata, Ottawa, Ontario.

Redhead – A pair, also at the Mississippi Lake Bird Sanctuary,  Lanark.

White-winged Scoter –  A pair at Dick Bell Park, Ottawa, and a single bird at Shirley’s Bay Dyke, Ottawa.

Red Knot – Three still in partial breeding plumage reported from the Richmond Sewage Lagoons, Ottawa, on the 19th.

Red-bellied Woodpecker  – Hendrick Farm trail, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais, Quebec.

Parasitic Jaeger – Deschenes rapids.

Yellow-throated Vireo – Sentier du Ruisseau-de-la-Brasserie, Gatineau. That trail has provided rarities in the past.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – On the 20th at Parc Brebeuf, Gatineau.

Bohemian Waxwing  – 1 confirmed at the domaine de la ferme Moore, Gatineau.

Gray-cheeked Thrush – Reported from Gatineau, and  Chemin Eardley Masham, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

Red Crossbills – The flock continues at the High Lonesome Nature Reserve, Lanark.

Olive-sided Flycatcher – Rideau River, South of Mooney’s Bay, Ottawa.

Evening Grosbeak –  Hopefully a pair of harbingers for a finchy winter, Montague, Lanark.

Connecticut Warbler – On the 15th, and missed in last week’s report, Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa.

Canada Warbler – Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa.

Orange-crowned Warbler –  Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa.

Young male Wood Duck – Britannia Conservation Area, by Tony Beck. Tony found this bird sitting in the high scrub along the ridge at Britannia actively feeding on wild grapes.

Great Black-backed Gull – Brewer Park, by Judith Gustafsson. Much like last week’s Herring Gull, the pure white head of the breeding season has molted into something less neat and clean. The size of these enormous gulls is stunning close up.

White-throated Sparrow – Hilda Road feeders, by Janet McCullough. Although a few breed in the area, they are much more common right now as they are passing through in big flocks. If you listen for their high-pitched calls in the forest, you may realize there are dozens around you, even if only one or two are ever visible.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 17 September 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Shirley’s Bay, by Tony Beck. According to Tony: Kinglets become more visible in our region with fall migration. They normally come in as warbler numbers diminish. This individual is demonstrating the distinctive behaviour of continuously flicking their wings in a nervous manner, a character shared by both our kinglet species.

Highlights

  • A Barnacle Goose was seen at the Station d’épuration, Gatineau (Masson-Angers), on the 12th.  This bird was reported to have a more typical plumage than the individual that wandered around Ottawa this summer.
  • The Parasitic Jaeger continued hunting along the river until at least the 13th.
  • The Sabine’s Gull continued until the 11th.

Northern Parula, Britannia Ridge, by Janet McCullough. I have nothing clever to say; I just love these tiniest of warblers.

Overview

Migration continues.  Warbler diversity is still high with 19 species of warblers reported this week just on Britannia Ridge, Ottawa.  A couple of new shorebirds showed up today.

Other notable sightings

Common Goldeneye continues at Almonte Lagoons, Lanark.

Small numbers of Snow Geese (pairs and singles in flocks with Canada

Geese) appeared in Kanata, at Mud Lake, and on Barnsdale road, Ottawa.

A pair of Trumpeter Swan were reported in Ashton Station, Ottawa.

Sandhill Crane continue to be spotted here and there, in Dunrobin, Pankenham, over the Britannia Conservation Area, along Trim Rd., Frank Kenny, etc.

Both Golden Plover and Black-bellied Plover were visible at the same time in Parc Brébeuf, Gatineau, on the 17th, allowing a nice comparison study.

Least Bittern continue along the Rideau River between Mooney’s Bay and Leitrim Rd, Ottawa. A pair was seen at Baie McLaurin, Gatineau.

Five Red-headed Woodpeckers continue in Torbolton Forest, Ottawa.

Instead of the usual small groups, a flock of 25 adult and juvenile Red Crossbills was seen at the High Lonesome Nature Reserve, Lanark.

Olive-sided flycatchers were in fashion this week, with individuals showing up at the Beechwood Cemetery, Remic Rapids, and the Rockcliffe Airport Woods.

A White-crowned Sparrow was seen at the Central Experimental Farm Arboretum, Ottawa.

Britannia Conservation Area provided both a much sought-after Canada Warbler, and a hybrid Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle x Audubon’s).

Philadelphia Vireo, Rockcliffe Airport, by Gregory Zbitnew. In the fall many vireos have a faint yellow wash, but the Philly has a vibrant yellow throat and breast that sets it apart.

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Strathcona park, by Judith Gustafsson. Judith found a flock of 8 migrating Yellow-rumps. Their plumage varies so much that in a flock that size, it’s possible that no two look alike.

Adult Ring-billed Gull, Andrew Haydon Park, Tony Beck. According to Tony: Adult Ring-billed Gulls have come into their winter plumage showing the gray streaks on their head and nape.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 10 September 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Red Phalarope, Remic Rapids, by Aaron Hywarren. The other two phalarope species show up in the circle annually, but Red Phalaropes mostly migrate from the arctic via the ocean, and are only seen here a couple of times a decade. Like many arctic birds, they are not particularly shy and will feed close to people.

Highlights

  • A Red Phalarope Thursday evening at Remic Rapids, feeding along the Ottawa shoreline at dusk.
  • An adult Parasitic Jaeger hunting and sitting at Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.
  • A juvenile Sabine’s Gull flying with the Bonaparte’s at Rapides Deschênes, Gatineau.
  • Both the jaeger  and gull were seen by many birders from both shores of the river on Sept. 10.

Canvasback, Andrew Hayden Park, by Janet McCullough. These shockingly red-eyed ducks dive to the bottom to pick up aquatic plants and clams. They rarely come close enough to shore to be well photographed.

Overview

With a couple of nights of solid migration, the region had a great week.  Birders found at least 23 species of warbler in the OFNC circle in September so far.

Other notable sightings

A Canvasback  fed very close to shore at Andrew Haydon Park, Ottawa, offering unusually good views of a usually distant bird.

A male Surf Scoter in partial eclipse off the Shirley’s Bay Dyke, Ottawa.

Common Goldeneye continues at Almonte Lagoons, Lanark.

Bufflehead at the Alfred Sewage Lagoons, Prescott and Russell.

Red-necked Grebe reported from Shirley’s Bay, Ottawa.

Sandhill Crane continue to be spotted here and there, along March road as usual, but also in Wesley Clover Parks, Ottawa.

Least Bittern continue along the Rideau River between Mooney’s Bay and Leitrim Rd, and Shirley’s Bay Dyke, Ottawa.

Red-necked Phalarope were seen at Moodie Quarrys and the Giroux Road Ponds, Ottawa, as well at the Alfred Sewage Lagoons, Prescott and Russell.

Two juvenile Stilt Sandpipers were seen at the Richmond Sewage lagoons,  another at Shirley’s Bay Dyke, and a fourth at Giroux Road Ponds, Ottawa.  A Peregrine Falcon took one of the Richmond birds in front of surprised birders.

Grioux also provided a White-rumped Sandpiper.

A pair of Black Terns made a brief appearance at Andrew Hayden Park, Ottawa.

A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was reported in the Glebe, Ottawa.

Five Red-headed Woodpeckers continue in Torbolton Forest, Ottawa.

With a big thrush movement this week, Gray-checked and Swainson thrushes were reported all over the circle.

A Northern Mockingbird in Russell, Prescott and Russell.

A Rusty Blackbird in Stony Swamp behind Bell Arena, Ottawa.

European Starling, Billings Bridge, by Judith Gustafsson. There is beauty and mystery in the common birds too. Most birds change their appearance by molting, but the Starling goes from spotted to dark in time fro mating season because the white feather tips are weaker than the dark parts of the feather, and wear away faster.

Stilt Sandpipers, Richmond Lagoons, by Janet McCullough. Although easily confused with Yellowlegs at a distance, in this photo the white eyebrow and the not yellow legs make the identification easy. Far off Stilts can still be id’ed by the rapid sewing machine motions they make deep in the water as they feed.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 3 September 2020

by Derek Dunnett at sightings@ofnc.ca

Juvenile male Northern Flicker. Fletcher wildlife Garden, by Judith Gustafsson. There a hint of the male mustache is just visible, as is the yellow shaft on the outermost primary, which gives our eastern subspecies its name.

Highlights

  • An adult Long-Tailed Jager thrilled long-time area birders with brief glimpses from the 27th to the 29th around the Deschênes Rapids.
  • A Western Kingbird just east of Perth was seen by many on the last two days of August.

Common Nighthawk, Craig Henry, by Ken Wagstaff. Although easy to see on the wing in migration, nighthawks are very well camouflaged and usually very difficult to find at roost, often blending perfectly with
branches. Unless they decide to sit in the open on your clothesline, that is.

Overview

Storm weather to the South and weird winds resulted in interesting birds all over Eastern Ontario, and the OFNC circle got its share.

Canada Warbler, Britannia Conservation Area Ridge, by Brendan Kelly. Despite the vibrant yellow of it’s throat and breast, the Canada warbler can be surprisingly hard to see as it flits through the shadows.

Other notable sightings

Juvenile male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, helping the buckthorn spread its seeds. Britannia conservation Area, by Janet McCullough.

New ducks continue to appear such as a Bufflehead at the Alfred Sewage Lagoons, Prescott and Russell.

Small numbers of Sandhill Cranes continue to be reported in the region, often a pair with a colt.

A Black Vulture was seen in La Pêche, Les Collines-de-l’Outaouais.

There was lots of shorebird action this week:

Nine Black-bellied Plovers were seen at Parc Brébeuf, Gatineau.

A juvenile Red-necked Phalarope was seen for three days at the Moodie Drive Quarry, Ottawa.

Two Baird’s Sandpipers continue since the 31st at Shirley’s Bay Dyke), Ottawa.

A Whimbrel was seen briefly at Shirley’s Bay Dyke, Ottawa, before a hungry harrier chased it off.

There were two juvenile Stilt Sandpipers at the Richmond Sewage lagoons, Ottawa, on the 3rd.

Although a small number of Common Nighthawks breed in the OFNC circle, lucky birders enjoyed large flocks hawking insects over the past week as northern birds migrated through.

Five Red-headed Woodpeckers continue in Torbolton Forest, Ottawa.

Carolina Wrens were reported at Champlain Marsh, Britannia Conservation Area, Frank Ryn & Elmhurst Parks, Ottawa, as well as Rue de Saint-Malo, Gatineau.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher reported at the Parc des Rapides-Deschênes, Gatineau, on the 3rd, and across the river at the Britannia Conservation Area on Aug. 26 and 30th.

A Gray-cheeked Thrush was seen at Britannia Conservation Area on Sept. 3, and more were heard migrating at night on the 30th and 31st.

There were early reports of Orange-crowned Warbler at Britannia Conservation Area, Ottawa, on the 29th and 30th.

A Connecticut Warbler was reported from Parc des Rapides-Deschênes, Gatineau.

A surprise Evening Grosbeak was seen at Murphys Point Provincial Park, Lanark.

Four Rusty Blackbirds were hanging out in a large flock of blackbirds at the Richmond Sewage Lagoons, Ottawa, on the 31st.

Juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull. Petrie Island, by Tony Beck. According to Tony: First record for Canada – 1968. First record for Ottawa – 1971. So, where did this fresh juvenile come from? With no confirmed breeding records in Canada yet, research in the US suggests these old-world gulls are coming from their expanded breeding range in Western Greenland. However, it’s possible that there are undetected breeders in Nunavut or Labrador.