Recent bird sightings

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Recent bird sightings 2017-12-08T01:30:49+00:00

Ottawa and area bird sightings to 7 December 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

European Starling photographed on Trail Road by Greg Zbitnew

There were no new birds this week, but some of the previous week’s “goodies” stuck around for a little longer.  The BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER at Britannia was last seen on the 2nd, and the YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was its usual frustrating self and was last seen at Trail road on the 2nd as well.  

Unseasonably mild conditions kept major water bodies open/ flowing, and combined with the absence of snow cover got the winter birding season off to an excellent start, with about 90 species seen since December 1st. The most surprising find was a NELSON’S SPARROW near the Best Buy in Kanata on the 4th, but not relocated.

At least 100s if not 1000s of SNOW GEESE are still around east of Ottawa, most particularly near Embrun on the 3rd.  We can expect large numbers to continue as long as there is not much snow on the ground, because these geese, despite their name, do not like snow.  A ROSS’S GOOSE continued in the west end, most recently on McKenna Casey on the 6th.   2 CACKLING GEESE were at Andrew Haydon Park on the 6th. DUCK variety and numbers continue to diminish, but there were still 18 species seen this week.

Snow Geese photographed on Sarsfield Road by Janice Stewart

There were a number of other miscellaneous interesting sightings this week:

  • BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON has been regular most of the week at a storm water pond on Cope Drive just after sunset.
  • 8 GRAY PARTRIDGE near Cope Drive on the 3rd.
  • Up to 2 BELTED KINGFISHERS at Petrie Island on the 2nd, and one was at the mouth of the Jock River on the 5th.
  • A NORTHERN FLICKER at Petrie Island on the 2nd to 3rd.  
  • A YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER in Orleans on the 4th, and one in Packenham on the 7th.
  • RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET at Bay Simard on the 7th.
  • YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER continues at Britannia as of the 5th.
  • CAROLINA WREN at a feeder in Kanata on the 5th.
  • WINTER WREN in Britannia as of the 2nd.
  • GRAY CATBIRD in Britannia as late as the 2nd.

RED CROSSBILLS continue on the Eardley-Masham Road, and at the Pine Grove Trail a WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL flew over on the 7th.  Unfortunately, neither species seems to be increasing in numbers or spreading. 


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 30 November 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Female warbler in snow

Black-throated Gray Warbler photographed by Deborah Mosher in Britannia

There was a real heartbreak this week: an unidentified large ALCID was at Shirley’s bay on the 24th, but was never relocated or identified.  Otherwise, the birds of the week were 2 MUTE SWANS at the Giroux Road Ponds on the 26-28th. The origin of these birds is not positively known, but most birders are considering them wild based on circumstantial evidence.   Meanwhile, 2 of the previous rarities continue. The BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER is still at Britannia as of the 29th, and the YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD continues on and off at Trail road as late as the 29th.

Despite a bit of snow, real winter has not yet arrived in Ottawa, with bare ground and reasonable temperatures still. So there still will be quite a few late-season birds to chase when birding winter starts tomorrow, with lingering SONGBIRDS and still many WATERBIRDS around.

There was still a good variety of WATERBIRDS around, although only the wintering ones were here in larger numbers. 20 species of DUCKS were seen this week, including all 3 SCOTERS on the Ottawa, and BARROW’S GOLDENEYE on the Rideau. Both species of LOON were also seen. The Mississippi River near Carleton Place has a decent variety too.  A ROSS’S GOOSE was at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 25th.

Female warbler eating an ant

Yellow-rumped Warbler photographed by Deborah Mosher in Britannia

Getting very late, a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was on Huntmar Drive on the 26th, and 2 were on Cope Drive on the 25th.  An AMERICAN COOT was at the Giroux Road ponds on the 25th, and a PURPLE SANDPIPER was on Britannia Pier on the 26th, but neither stuck around.

A dark morph GYRFALCON flew over Britannia on the 26th, and 4 GOLDEN EAGLES were on the Eardley escarpment on the 30th.

In other miscellaneous sightings:

  • A  BELTED KINGFISHER was at Petrie Island from the 27-29th
  • A YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER was at the Arboretum on the 26th and 28th
  • As usual, Britannia near the filtration plant is a great place for late birds:
  • A WINTER WREN was in Britannia as late as the 26th
  • A YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER was in Britannia to the 29th
  • A HERMIT THRUSH was in Britannia to the 29th
  • COMMON GRACKLE on the Walkley/ Ramsayville trail on the 24th

Finally, we are still waiting for WINTER FINCHES.  There were 15 COMMON REDPOLLS at Baskin’s Beach on the 26th,  and 20 on the Eardley Masham Road on the 24th which also had 11 RED CROSSBILLS.

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


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 23 November 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Gray Catbird photographed by Deborah Mosher in Britannia

The bird of the year, a hatch-year ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD, had been present in Carleton Place since at least the 3rd, although the news did not become public until after press time on the 16th.  This is the first regional record, and the first “gettable” one in Ontario.  So it is no surprise that since then a myriad of birders, many from Southern Ontario, have descended on this sleepy town.  All have got looks as it showed up at a feeder every 5-20 minutes for a few seconds to a few minutes.  It was last seen on the 20th. Meanwhile, 2 KING EIDERS appeared at Andrew Haydon Park on the 17th, but they were not seen again.  The BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER was still present in Britannia as of the 19th, then disappeared until the 23rd. The YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD reappeared on Trail Road on the 18th, and was seen again on the 19th and after an absence yet again on the 23rd.   It was among many BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS and EUROPEAN STARLINGS when it was seen, but was usually not present.

The weather turned nasty on the 18th, with freezing rain and the first significant snowfall of the season, hampering birding and affecting the lingering PASSERINES.  Although the weather moderated a bit, essentially we are now in early winter mode. WATERBIRDS are declining but not that rapidly, but on land 99% of the birds present are the residents, with a few lingerers in areas that are sheltered or have more food.

WATERBIRDS declined in numbers, although there were still 22 species around this week, and the major rivers are still running freely.  A BARROW’S GOLDENEYE was north of the Hurdman Bridge on the 20th, and with any luck it will be a regular there for the rest of the winter.  Lake View Park in Carleton Place still has a good supply of WATERBIRDS including 2 REDHEAD and 2 AMERICAN COOTS.

A ROSS’S GOOSE was at the Moodie Drive ponds on and off between the 18th and the 23rd.  A little farther afield, the SNOW GEESE numbers were about 60,000 near the Laflèche Landfill, east of Casselman, on the 16th, although this is still quite a bit lower than some previous years.

A GOLDEN EAGLE flew over the Trail Road landfill on the 19th, and one was not far to the southwest on the 20th.  Another was on Wall Road on the 22nd.

All 6 of the regular GULLS were seen this week at the Trail Road Landfill/ Moodie Drive Ponds.

1 BOHEMIAN WAXWING was among 20 CEDAR WAXWINGS at the Experimental Farm.

Most of the rest of the week was mostly mundane with a few interesting/ lingering birds:

  • A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON was at the Emerald Meadows storm outlet on the 18th.
  • 2 WILSON’S SNIPE in a creek off Klondike, on the 17th.
  • A TURKEY VULTURE was near Carleton Place on the 18th.
  • A HERMIT THRUSH was at Parc du Lac-Leamy on the 21st.
  • A RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET was near the Rideau Tennis Club on the 20th, and another was near Rivermead in Aylmer on the 18th and on Eardley-Masham Road on the 23rd.
  • A WINTER WREN continues in Britannia as of the 18th.
  • A GRAY CATBIRD is continuing at Britannia as late as the 20th.
  • The BROWN THRASHER continues at Britannia near the Filtration Plant, as of the 22nd.
  • While not gettable, of course, possibly our latest ever PALM WARBLER was found injured in the Findlay Creek area on the 21st and was taken to the Wild Bird Care Centre.
  • A SAVANNAH SPARROW was seen as late as the 20th on Trail road.
  • A FOX SPARROW was at Britannia on the 22nd.
  • A few late WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were present: Quyon, Trail Road, and Rockcliffe, as late as the 20th.

12 RED CROSSBILLS were on the Eardley Masham Road on the 21st, likely the same group that has been there for the last 6 weeks.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 16 November 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Northern gannet photographed by Mike Tate at Andrew Haydon Park

It was yet another excellent week in the region! There were 2 major highlights, although neither was seen by many. On the 12th, a NORTHERN GANNET flew by Constance Bay headed east and was seen by a few people before it rather unfortunately disappeared just east of Andrew Haydon Park. Also on the 12th, an (immature) YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD showed up at the Trail Road landfill and was seen again on the 13th. It may well still be around. However, it was hard to pick out as it had been travelling with up to 100 COWBIRDS, which themselves were sometimes mixed with nearly 1000 EUROPEAN STARLINGS. The whole group was quite active and often either out of sight in the landfill or out of sight in a ravine. In addition, the BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER was, amazingly, still near the Filtration Plant in Britannia as late as the 16th.

Cooper’s Hawk photographed by Anna Marie Todkill in Alta Vista

The wonderful fall had a brutal end on the 10th, with temperatures well below seasonal and some light snow. It improved a bit later in the week, but all small bodies of still water are frozen. Mud Lake at Britannia was mostly frozen as of the 12th. Creeks are still running and the rivers only have a bit of ice on the edges. Consequently, most areas have been cleared of PASSERINES, and while there are still quite a few WATERBIRDS around, they are starting to disappear and concentrate. You can expect the feeders to become more active, and the remaining birds would tend to concentrate in sheltered microclimates.

There have been a number of enquiries about SNOW GEESE in Eastern Ontario. Unfortunately, the huge numbers we often see in the fall have not been reported yet. On the 9th, there were about 20,000 near the Laflèche Landfill east of Casselman, but that is a fraction of what we have seen in previous years. There is an unconfirmed report of more there in the last few days, but in any case no significant numbers have been seen any closer to the city.

White-winged Scoter at Andrew Haydon Park photographed by Eric Leger

Among the other GEESE, there was a ROSS’S GOOSE at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 10-12th and on Akins road on the 13th. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was in Kanata on the 12th and the Moodie Drive ponds on the 14th.

The variety and numbers of DUCKS has dropped in the last week, but it is still respectable. On the 14th, there were about 400 birds of 14 species of DUCK at Shirley’s bay, the best spot of course. By far the most common one there was COMMON GOLDENEYE. In the region, 22 species of DUCK were seen this week. There was a PIED-BILLED GREBE at Shirley’s Bay on the 14th and at CARLETON PLACE on the 13th, and both locations also had some AMERICAN COOTS. Both species of LOONS and the common GREBES are still present in reasonable numbers.

There was a late BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON on Cope Drive on the 14th.

SHOREBIRDS have virtually disappeared. There was a SANDERLING at Constance Bay on the 12th, 2 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS at Embrun on the 15th, a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 13th, and 7 DUNLIN at Andrew Haydon Park on the 14th.

There have been a few scattered sightings of GOLDEN EAGLE on favourable days.

There were 7 BONAPARTE’S GULLS at Embrun on the 15th, and a number of sightings of LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, but otherwise the GULL supply was quite ordinary.

Pretty much all of the summer/ migrant PASSERINES have cleared out, and the woods and fields these days are quite quiet. There were, however, quite a few lingerers, some of them decidedly unusual. The most unusual were SWAINSON’S THRUSH at Britannia on the 11th and a NASHVILLE WARBLER, also at Britannia on the 11-16th.

Other notable late sightings include:

  • SAVANNAH SPARROW at Dick Bell Park on the 14th.
  • EASTERN PHOEBE at Constance bay on the 12th
  • BROWN THRASHER on the 11th-16th, and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET until the 16th, both at Britannia.
  • WINTER WREN at Britannia on the 12th.
  • 6 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS near Hammond on the 12th.
  • 20 COMMON GRACKLES on Milton Road on the 14th
  • FOX SPARROW in Carleton Place on the 12th and one in Stony Swamp on the 15th.
  • 2 sightings of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, one at Britannia and the other in Beltown Park.

There were 2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS among the 100s of SNOW BUNTINGS on Brownlee Road on the 14th.

Finally, we are still waiting for the WINTER FINCHES. While there were RED and WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS at Pine Grove trail on the 12th, these were flyovers, not present on the 11th or the 15th. 2 COMMON REDPOLLS were on Trail Road on the 13th.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 9 November 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

It was another excellent week in the region. The highlight was a CAVE SWALLOW near the Almonte Sewage Lagoons on the 5th, where it showed well most of that afternoon and on the 6th as well. This is the first record for Lanark County and the first in the region since 2012.  Meanwhile, the BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER started showing well on the 3rd, east of the ridge at Britannia, and was still present as of the 9th.  This waif has now become one of region’s most photographed birds!

There was no major weather change. It was mostly cloudy and rainy until the 6th, then sunnier, with temperatures near to above average. However, all that will change by the 10th with unseasonably cold temperatures on tap, and the likely freezing of smaller bodies of water.  So be forewarned that many of the sightings mentioned this week will of mostly historical interest when this happens.

The heavy rain recently has left a number of flooded fields in the west end that have attracted some scarcer GEESE, notably ROSS’S and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE. Some recent spots have been John Shaw Road, near Brophy at Twin Elm, and Old Coach Road.

WATERBIRDS remained reasonably plentiful, although somewhat diminished in numbers. Variety was still good, with 26 species of DUCKS seen the region this week. Notable additions were the first BARROW’S GOLDENEYES of the fall/ winter, with 2 and a hybrid being seen at or near Shirley’s Bay on the 7th.  A BLUE-WINGED TEAL in Russell on the 8th was late.  Another sign of (impending) winter was the first HARLEQUIN DUCK of the season, a female  in Baie Simard on the 8th.

Long-tailed Duck photographed by Keith Wickens at Andrew Haydon Park.

Over 1000 ducks of 12 species were at Baie Noire on the 3rd, including 2 EURASIAN WIGEON. 13 PIED BILLED GREBES and 4 AMERICAN COOTS were also there on the 3rd.

A somewhat late PIED-BILLED GREBE was at the Moodie Drive Ponds, and both species of LOON are still regular on the Ottawa River.

The GREAT EGRET was last seen at Andre Haydon Park on the 3rd.

The same flooded fields were good for some late SHOREBIRDS.  Notable was the 12th concession north of Pakenham, with 5 species seen as late as the 6th. John Shaw road hosted some SHOREBIRDS as well.

A TURKEY VULTURE was in Pakenham and near Antrim on the 6th.   A GOLDEN EAGLE was in Constance Bay on the 3rd and at Pinhey’s Point on the 4th.  A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was at Britannia on the 3rd.

Generally the decent weather has been favourable for lingering PASSERINES.  Some other miscellaneous sightings of note this week included:

  • On the 5th, 1 LAPLAND LONGSPUR near Pakenham and 2 near Carp.
  • An EASTERN BLUEBIRD near Carleton Place on the 3rd and on 5th line road near Dunrobin on the 9th.
  • RUSTY BLACKBIRDS at Parc du Lac Beauchamp on the 4th.
  • FOX SPARROW in Carleton Place on the 8th.
  • 2 WINTER WRENS at Forêt Boucher on the 3rd.
  • BELTED KINGFISHER in Britannia on the 7th.
  • GRAY CATBIRD in Britannia on the 4th. WILSON’S SNIPE at Andrew Haydon park on the 4th.
  • CHIPPING SPARROW in Kanata on the 5th.
  • WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW in Britannia on the 3rd.
  • YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER at the Experimental Farm Arboretum

Among the FINCHES, the first COMMON REDPOLLS of the season were in Sarsfield on the 6th.  PINE SISKIN were in Britannia on the 5th and about a dozen RED CROSSBILLS continued on Eardley-Masham Road on the 7th.

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


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 2 November 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

It was an excellent week in the region, at least for those lucky enough to see the rarities. A RAZORBILL, the second record for the region, was found at Constance Bay on the 31st, and presumably the same bird was found at Dick Bell Park on the 1st where it swam/ flew east and was not relocated.  This may very well have been the unidentified ALCID seen on the 30th in the same area.

Razorbill, photographed at Britannia Pier by Mike Tate

On the 2nd, a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, again only the second record for the region, was found at Britannia and was seen for a few hours. Of lesser importance but still interesting, the first PURPLE SANDPIPERS of the year were seen flying around (but not landing) at Dick Bell Park on the 31st-1st.

Black-throated Gray Warbler photographed at Britannia by Tony Beck

There were still a few mild days this week, but starting on the 30th almost continuous rain and at times very windy conditions prevailed. This was likely the reason for at least some of the rarities to have been present.  It was again an excellent week for WATERBIRDS, and thus the Ottawa River was the place to be.

Regionally, 22 species of DUCK were seen this week.  As last week, Andrew Haydon Park to Shirley’s Bay was the best spot.  The dynamic conditions on the 31st-1st led to some large flocks of SCOTERS, LONG-TAILED DUCKS and BRANT, as well as a few RED-THROATED LOONS.  For those closer to Carleton Place, Mississippi Lake has had a good selection of WATERBIRDS too.

A late GREAT EGRET was still at Andrew Haydon Park on the 2nd.

Dynamic conditions on the 31st-1st saw a few 100 DUNLIN, mostly flying around the Lac Deschenes area, with a SANDERLING at Constance Bay on the 31st.  SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER in Russell on the 1st.  An AMERICAN WOODCOCK in Dunrobin on the 31st was getting a bit late.

Some miscellaneous sightings this week:

  • 6 GOLDEN EAGLES flew over Constance Bay on the 31st.
  • A BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER was in the Stony Swamp area on the 27th.
  • A very late TREE SWALLOW was in the Richmond Conservation area on the 28th.
  • A CAROLINA WREN was in Kanata on the 2nd.
  • 2 LAPLAND LONGSPUR were on Rushmore Road on the 30th.
  • 3 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were at the Arboretum on the 28th.

Most SPARROWS are getting harder to find, but still at Britannia were SONG SPARROW, WHITE-THROATED SPARROW and a late FOX SPARROW on the 2nd.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 26 October 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Song Sparrow photographed by Trudy Lothian at Andrew Haydon Park

The best bird of the week was a CANVASBACK, which was quite cooperative at Shirley’s Bay from the 21-24.  The HUDSONIAN GODWIT was still at the Carp River Reclamation area until the 25th, although it had recently moved to a pond closer to Terry Fox.

Persistent unseasonal warmth was enjoyed most of the week, although it had cooled to near normal by the 26th. This probably encouraged a few lingering birds to continue in the area.  Generally, though, WATERFOWL  variety and numbers were excellent but SONGBIRD numbers dropped.

Regionally, 25 species of DUCK were seen this week. The usual best spot was Shirley’s bay, with a cumulative 24 species including all 3 SCOTERS, REDHEAD and LONG-TAILED DUCK.  Most of the over 1000 birds were LESSER SCAUP. At Baie Noire on the 21st there were about 900 birds of 12 species of DUCK, mostly RING-NECKED DUCK and AMERICAN WIGEON. 3 EURASIAN WIGEON were there as well. A EURASIAN WIGEON was also seen near Cumberland on the 21st.

Brant photographed by Trudy Lothian at Andrew Haydon Park

Late AMERICAN BITTERNS were in Kanata on the 20th and Petrie Island on the 23rd.  Quite a number of GREAT EGRETS are still around as late as the 26th.  2 late COMMON GALLINULE were in Casselman on the 21st, and 4 were at Baie Noire also on the 21st.

SANDHILL CRANE numbers are now over 100 on McFadden on the 25th  A late Osprey was at Andrew Haydon park on the 21st.

SHOREBIRDS are rather ordinary, except that an AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER at Ste. Cécile de Masham on the 22nd was a bit out of the ordinary.

Other than this there were a few other notable sightings, mostly either early or late or a bit rare:

  • A CAROLINA WREN was at Andrew Haydon park on the 23rd (a bit rare).
  • A TENNESSEE WARBLER at the Rockcliffe Airport on the 21st (a bit late).
  • The last WARBLER sighting was a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER at the Bruce Pit on the 24th.
  • On the Carp Ridge on the 22nd, a late EASTERN TOWHEE and a number of somewhat late AMERICAN WOODCOCK.
  • 2 RED CROSSBILLS in Britannia on the 20th, and a small flock is continuing on Eardley-Masham Road.
  • 3 late INDIGO BUNTING continuing at Baie Noire on the 21st.
  • The first of the season SNOW BUNTING at the west end of Jamieson on the 26th.
  • 2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS on Rushmore Road on the 24th.

Sandhill Cranes photographed by Keith Wickens in the Frank Kenny area.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 19 October 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Hudsonian Godwit, photographed by Howard Morrison at the Carp River reclamation area

The best bird of the week was the HUDSONIAN GODWIT, which reappeared on the 14th and has since been glued to a pond near the Carp River at the west end of Roger Neilson way, as late as the 18th. The other bird of interest was a BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER at Stony Swamp P6 on the 14th, but it was unfortunately not relocated.

The weather was a mixed bag including rain and the first frost of the season on the 16th, followed by more unseasonal warmth. Strong north winds on the 16th sent quite a few WATERBIRDS into the area, and the summer PASSERINES continue to vacate the area. But, other than the rarities noted above, it was a fairly ordinary week.

WATERBIRDS are building up quite nicely. The best day was the 16th, on the Ottawa River between Britannia and Shirley’s Bay, as usual. All 3 SCOTERS were there, REDHEAD, as well as 2 species of GREBE and many COMMON LOONS. All told, 23 species of DUCK were in the region, and most of the species are still around. The first RED-THROATED LOONS have arrived, at Baie Simard on the 15th, and at Dick Bell Park on the 17th.

A late GREEN HERON was at one of the ponds off Roger Neilson Way on the 17th. This area has had most of the diminishing SHOREBIRD variety, with a late LEAST SANDPIPER on the 14th-15th, and a few other common species. A DUNLIN was at Andrew Haydon Park, but as last week there is only minimal habitat along the Ottawa River. A late COMMON GALLINULE was at the Richmond Conservation Area on the 12th, and another was at Shirley’s Bay from the 14th-17th.

An OSPREY at Stony Swamp on the 15th was getting late, as was a MARSH WREN at Shirley’s bay on the 17th. By contrast, the first NORTHERN SHRIKES of the season were at the Gatineau Airport on the 14th, and Milton Road on the 17th, and ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS have started to move into the area.

Aside from YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, which are themselves getting scarce, few other WARBLERS are left. TENNESSEE and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were in Gatineau on the 15th, and an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Baie Fraser on the 18th.

A very late INDIGO BUNTING was at the Nepean Tent and Trailer Campgrounds on the 14th, a LAPLAND LONGSPUR was at the Giroux Road Ponds on the 14th, and a NELSON’S SPARROW was at the Carp River Watershed Reclamation area on the 18th.

Finally, a trip to the Eardley-Masham Road on the 18th produced a few singles and a small flock of RED CROSSBILLS south of Ramsey Lake, and a few scattered PINE SISKINS. This is more than a few weeks ago, but it is far from the hoped for invasion.

Greater Yellowlegs, photographed by Tony Beck at the Carp River reclamation area.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 12 October 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, photographed by Eric Leger in his backyard near Beechwood Cemetery

The find of the week was a very late WHIMBREL flying by Andrew Haydon Park on the 8th. The next best was the first HUDSONIAN GODWIT of the year, at the Carp River Reclamation area on the 10th for a few hours, and a single sighting on the 11th.

Generally pleasant and even unseasonably warm weather prevailed early in the week, but it has turned much cooler with winds from the north. There has been a big change in the bird population, more WATERFOWL and a general decline and a much different mix of the PASSERINES. The warmer weather likely was a factor in the number of lingering PASSERINES.

WATERBIRD numbers continue to build up steadily in major spots like Shirley’s Bay and Plaisance, but nothing terribly out of the ordinary has been seen. Interesting was the first of the season, 200 BRANT at Andrew Haydon park on the 7th.

A tiny bit of SHOREBIRD habitat was at Shirley’s Bay, but the best spot was the Carp River Reclamation area, with 8 species on the 10th including SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER and the rarity noted above.

Some lingering TERNS were of interest. 2 CASPIAN TERNS were at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 5th, and there was one at Andrew Haydon a few days later. COMMON TERNS have been lingering off Britannia Point until the 10th.

The first of the fall HAWK watch took place on Greenland Road on the 11th, and they were rewarded with a GOLDEN EAGLE. Early ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was also there, as well as 2 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS. An early ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was also in the Frank Kenny area on the 10th.

There were a number of late sightings:

  • COMMON GALLINULE at the Richmond Conservation area on the 12th.
  • EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE at Petrie island on the 5th.
  • A WOOD THRUSH was at the Rockcliffe Airport on the 7th. Another was at Shirley’s bay on the 8th.
  • A MARSH WREN was at the Bruce Pit on the 9th.
  • A BLACK AND WHITE WARBLER was at Britannia on the 7th.
  • A ROSE BREASTED GROSBEAK was in Richmond on the 10th.
  • A BROWN TRHASHER was in the Westboro area on the 10th.

Red-breasted Merganser, photographed by Keith Wickens at Plaisance

SPARROW numbers were high early in the week, but numbers seem to have dropped considerably. The first AMERICAN TREE SPARROW of the season was on the Osgoode Link Trail on the 6th with 6 other species of SPARROW. Probably the last NELSON’S SPARROW of the year was at Constance Bay on the 5th. 2 LAPLAND LONGSPUR, the first of the season, were at the Carp River Reclamation area on the 6th.

 

 


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 5 October 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The find of the week was a juvenile SABINE’S GULL, found on a birding outing at Shirley’s Bay on the morning of the 29th. Unfortunately, it proved to be a flash in the pan, and 20 minutes later it was gone for good. The PARASITIC JAEGER was last seen on the 3rd. The first 2 EURASIAN WIGEONS of the year were found at Baie Noire on the 3rd, in the same spot they have occurred for years, and will likely be around for a while. The only drawback is that a 5 Km round-trip walk is required to see them.

Somewhat cooler weather prevailed this week, but it is still well above seasonal. It was dry except for the 4th, and river levels have dropped a bit. Generally the weather conditions were excellent for lingering birds and movement of PASSERINES but WATERBIRDS are just starting to build up.

The 29-30th saw a bit of WATERBIRD activity. There was some noticeable movement of flocks of SCOTERS. SURF and WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were in the west, and the first BLACK SCOTERS of the year were seen from the boat launch at the west end of Massey Lane in the east, along with some SURF SCOTERS, both on the 30th. On the 4th, there were considerable numbers of WATERFOWL at Shirley’s Bay, mostly hundreds of SCAUP, RING-NECKED DUCKS and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. The peak there is undoubtedly some weeks away. Baie Noire had about 300 AMERICAN WIGEON, but rather small numbers of other species. SNOW GEESE are being seen in a number of spots, but in very small numbers.

GULL numbers are building up a bit, with up to 15 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS at the Moodie Drive ponds. A CASPIAN TERN there on the 5th was rather late.

Mostly just the regular SHOREBIRDS have been seen, and there are no places with very many. On the 5th, 17 birds of 7 species were at the Carp River Reclamation area, including the first DUNLIN of the season. One exception was 27 GOLDEN PLOVERS at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 5th. On the 4th, slightly lower water levels meant, finally, a few SHOREBIRDS were at Shirley’s Bay, but so far they are just some common ones.

13 species of warbler have been seen since October 1st, but generally fewer than 5 species per trip are now being seen now. One notable rather late sighting was a MOURNING WARBLER at the Fletcher wildlife garden on the 4th.

Some other interesting late sightings include:

  • EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE at Petrie Island as late as the 5th
  • INDIGO BUNTINGS in Carp and at the Giroux Road Ponds on the 1st
  • BOBOLINK at Shirley’s bay on the 29th

This week was quite notable for a huge movement of SPARROWS. The most sought after were NELSON’S SPARROWS, which were seen at the mouth of Constance Creek as late as the 1st. In the woods and fields, dozens to more than a hundred SPARROWS, mostly WHITE-THROATED, WHITE-CROWNED and SONG SPARROWS, have been seen on longer trips.

Finally, a single RED CROSSBILL was seen on the Eardley Masham Road on the 4th.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 28 September 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Prothonotary Warbler photographed at Britannia by Nina Stavlund

It was the best birding week in Ottawa for some time. The highlight was a PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (photo at right), found in Britannia the morning of 24th, then refound that evening and again the next day, leaving dozens of birders well chuffed. Reminiscent of the situation in 2015, the adult PARASITIC JAEGER has been long-staying, and was still present as of the 28th, spending its time between Andrew Haydon Park and Britannia pier. A LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (photo below) was quite cooperative in a storm outlet on Strandherd Road on the 23-24th.

Long-billed Dowitcher photographed by Michelle Martin on Strandherd Road.

Extremely warm summer-like weather continued until the 27th, with the hottest day of the year on the 25th. While it may have been a factor in the appearance of the rarity noted above, generally it has only kept the next wave of birds from arriving from the north, and has maintained the supply of biting insects well beyond the norm. The winds finally shifted on the 28th, but there are too few sightings yet to determine how much change there has been.

16 species of DUCKS were seen this week, but no significant concentrations have been noted yet.

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was at the Moodie Drive ponds on the 23rd, and there have been a few sightings of CACKLING GEESE among the CANADA GEESE, now in numbers up to several thousand.

SHOREBIRDS continue to be in poor supply. LESSER YELLOWLEGS is by far the most common one around now. Desperate for a place to land, they are showing up in obscure small habitats like on Strandherd Road. Other places like the Carp River and Embrun still have a few birds but only common stuff. The Ottawa River shore is not yet exposed enough to be useful. AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER has had a few sightings, 2 being at the Moodie Drive Ponds and the Giroux Road ponds.

3 RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were on Steele Line on the 24th, and a movement of RAPTORS was noted on the 28th at Petrie Island, with 40 TURKEY VULTURES and 4 BALD EAGLES. A late RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was on the Trans Canada Trail near Abbot St. on the 22nd.

1 BARN SWALLOW was at Andrew Haydon Park on the 23rd, and 3 TREE SWALLOWS were at Dick Bell park on the 24th : these may well be the last of the season. EASTERN PHOEBES are still around in numbers, and EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES have had a few scattered reports, but it seems that the other FLYCATCHERS are gone.

22 species of WARBLER were sighted this week, and 3 of the summer regulars have probably left. Still, 5-10 WARBLERS per trip are being seen, with ORANGE-CROWNED being seen regularly but still infrequently. Sightings of the formerly common YELLOW WARBLER and OVENBIRD are now rare in their nesting grounds.

Another sure sign of fall is the annual flocking, as some species leave their nesting grounds and start to form huge flocks. 1500 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS were in Russell on the 25th, along with 2000 EUROPEAN STARLINGS.

Quite a number of PASSERINES have their populations on the seasonal rise, some of the most noticeable being both species of KINGLETS, WHITE-THROATED and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS and AMERICAN PIPIT. An INDIGO BUNTING in Carp on the 27th is getting late, and there are still a few late sightings of BOBOLINK, which seem to be lingering a bit later this year.

Of the 12 species of SPARROW seen this week, a few were scarce sightings:

  • A FOX SPARROW in Kanata on the 27th (early)
  • 3 EASTERN TOWHEE on the Ottawa Carleton trailway on the 24th (late)
  • CLAY-COLOURED SPARROW at Hornet’s Nest trail (late).
  • NELSON’S SPARROW: small numbers are being see regularly at the mouth of Constance Creek.

Finally, 6 EVENING GROSBEAKS were in Gatineau on rue Caron on the 22nd, and there have been a couple of sightings of PINE SISKIN.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 21 September 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

This news flash is just in: a PARASITIC JAEGER at Andrew Haydon Park/ Ottawa Beach on the 21st. The other highlight of the week was 2 BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKERS, the first being in Britannia on the 16th and the second in the Richmond area on the 19th. Neither was found again, and it is too early to know if this is a coincidence or a sign of something. A YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, seen in Maple Hill Park on the 18th, was also a good find.

The week was entirely sunny and warm, and while birders enjoyed the weather, it was not particularly good for migration. Birds just trickled in with no significant influx. Likewise, with no significant influx of WATERFOWL, and a noticeable decline of PASSERINES like WARBLERS, there was a bit less variety this week.

Among the WATERBIRDS, 240 SNOW GEESE were reported in Gatineau on the 18th, early for such a large flock. There were a fewer somewhat earlier birds, such as HORNED GREBE at Constance Bay on the 17th, and 10 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS there on the 20th. A CACKLING GOOSE at the Eagleson Storm water ponds on the 17th and a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE in LUSKVILLE on the 20th were the first of the season for these species.

A STILT SANDPIPER was an unexpected addition to an otherwise bland collection of SHOREBIRDS at a storm outlet on Strandherd on the 19-20th. 3 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS were briefly at Peterson’s turf farm on Snake Island road on the 16th. As last week, generally the supply for SHOREBIRDS remains poor, with a few at Embrun and the Carp River and almost none at Almonte.

A RED-SHOULDERED HAWK at Parc du Lac Beauchamp on the 20th was getting a bit late.

A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was in Chelsea on the 17th. 200 AMERICAN PIPITS were on some bare fields on Frank Kenny on the 17th, a sure sign of the advancing season. Others were scattered here and there.

Both SWAINSON’S and GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH have been audible night migrants, but there has been no major flyover yet.

5 species of VIREOS and 22 species of WARBLERS were seen this week; a few hours in the better areas are still producing over 10 species of WARBLERS.

Some summer bird sightings are getting a bit late. An EASTERN TOWHEE was on Jack Pine trail on the 17th, and another 2 were reported in Kanata on the 15th. An INDIGO BUNTING was at the Cope Drive Ponds on the 20th, and CLAY-COLOURED SPARROW was with 7 other species of SPARROW in the fields off Robert Grant.

Finally, the first NELSON’S SPARROW was at the mouth of Constance Creek on the 17th, but it was not relocated. It is hoped that this is not the last!


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 14 September 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

The highlight of the week was a YELLOW-THROATED VIREO, seen in Britannia on the 12th. Also, while the bird itself is not rare, the first sighting reported from an airplane was of a BALD EAGLE in Luskville (at 2000 feet) on the 2nd.

It was mostly a sunny week with above average temperatures, more summer-like than most of the summer, although ironically it was not particularly good for migration. Mostly there was a decent variety with birds continuing to trickle through.

Among the water birds, CANADA GEESE are becoming more conspicuous, with small skeins of 10-100 being seemingly everywhere. Among the hundreds of CANADAS, single SNOW GOOSE was on Greenbank north of Hunt Club. Other species are becoming a little more common. The first recent report from Plaisance (Baie Noire) on the 10th was of 100 AMERICAN WIGEON, 75 RING-NECKED DUCKS and smaller numbers of others. This area will be excellent in a few weeks. A RED-NECKED GREBE was at Britannia on the 8th.

8 AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER in a field on Frank Kenny north of Giroux on the 12th and 7 were on Snake Island Road on the 9th, but none stuck around. Embrun and the Carp River Reclamation area continue to have a few shorebirds, but nothing worth chasing. Almonte had virtually none, but BAIRD’S SANDPIPER and 2 SANDERLING were at Constance Bay on the 8th.

An early ICELAND GULL was at the Trail Road landfill on the 8th. SANDHILL CRANES are starting to congregate on Smith near Milton Road.

A GREY-CHEEKED THRUSH was on Trail 10 near Shirley’s bay on the 13th.

The first of the season, 2 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were seen on an OFO field trip on the 10th. 10+ WARBLERS can be seen on better trips in places like Britannia.

5 CLAY-COLOURED SPARROWS were at the “Sparrow fields” of Robert Grant in Goulbourn on the 12th. Finally, the first RUSTY BLACKBIRDS (7) were in Plaisance on the 13th and 3 were at Britannia on the same day.

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

Common Nighthawk, photographed by Michelle Martin in Britannia.


Ottawa and area bird sightings to 7 September 2017

by Greg Zbitnew at sightings@ofnc.ca

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher photographed by Eric Leger in Vanier.

The highlight of the week was a TUFTED TITMOUSE reported at the Arboretum on the 5th. Aside from the continuing RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, as late as the 5th, there has not been anything particularly rare seen in the area.

The week was rather cool and cloudy with some wet days. The remnants of hurricane Harvey on the 3rd gave promise of good things, but in the end it was just a wet fizzle. The 3rd was also the day of the Ottawa-Gatineau Seedathon which tallied 115 species, not that bad considering the mediocre weather conditions. There have been some decent days for migrating PASSERINES, which continue to stream through, including some early sightings. Unfortunately, next week will likely see the last sightings of the year for a number of species, as fall inexorably approaches.

A few early SNOW GEESE sightings were of interest, including one at Giroux Road as late as the 4th. A few somewhat early sightings of both species of SCAUP at a few places including the Moodie Drive Ponds. These ponds also had REDHEAD.

The supply of SHOREBIRDS at Embrun is deteriorating due to shrinking habitat. However, the Carp River Reclamation area has some developing good habitat, and some of the better species found this week have been BAIRD’S, STILT and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, as well as a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER. Almonte still has only a handful of common species. A tour of the sod farms south of the city on the 5th was quite bleak, with only a single field yielding 25 KILLDEER, or 26 including the one snatched by a rampaging PEREGRINE FALCON.

The LEAST BITTERN was seen in Carp as late as the 2nd, and there was one in Kanata on the same day. One was at Baie Mclaurin on the 1st. A late BLACK TERN was at the Moodie Drive Ponds on the 5th.

A few COMMON NIGHTHAWKS are still passing through. An OLIVE-SIDED flycatcher was on Calypso Road on the 3rd, and one was at the Old Quarry Trail on the 6th. The most recent sightings of YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS were from Vanier and Britannia, both on the 6th.

SWALLOWS, mostly TREE SWALLOWS, were still present in the hundreds in Embrun on the 3rd.

A NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD was in Plaisance on the 2nd.

4 species of VIREO were present this week, as were 22 species of WARBLER, with 19 of them on the 3rd. The population has shifted this week with PALM WARBLERS becoming increasingly common.

An early WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was at the Rockcliffe Airport on the 6th. 5 PINE SISKINS were in Baie Simard on the 6th, with a few sightings of RED CROSSBILL in the northern reaches of the area.


Earlier sightings are available on request ofnc@ofnc.ca