Friday, April 3, 2015

April 3,2015 Ottawa: Red-throated Loon and more spring migrants.

Hi Everyone

Today, April 3, I spent a number of hours  birding along the Ottawa River in Ottawa visiting a number of open water areas including Nepean Bay, Lemieux Island, Remic Rapids and Deschenes Rapids. Overall, there was a significant  increase in water birds with the highlight an adult winter Red-throated Loon at Deschenes Rapids. The bird spent most of its time at the top end of the rapids and was very wary, always looking around and up in the sky. My previous early record was an adult winter plumage at the Champlain Bridge/Remic Rapids back on April 5, 1974. That year ice conditions were similar to this spring after a long cold winter. There were 6 species of gulls present along the river including one adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Glaucous Gull,  and 2 Iceland Gull. At least one of the male Barrow’s Goldeneye was present at Deschenes Rapids. Other recent arrivals including Great Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Red-necked Grebe, and Pied-billed Grebe. Another early record was an adult Black-crowned Night-Heron at Deschenes Rapids. My previous early record on April 4, 1973 at Clyde Ave Woods in Ottawa. New land bird migrants included Tree Swallow, Eastern Phoebe and Northern Flicker at the Britannia Conservation Area/Mud Lake. Cooler weather is on its way.

Good birding,

Bruce




Directions: All these locations are located along the Ottawa River between Deschenes Rapids east to Nepean Bay and can be accessed from the Sir John A. MacDonald Parkway and  Carling Ave and Britannia Road to Cassels St.

If you require additional information, please email me privately.




Bruce Di Labio
P.O. Box 538
Carp,Ontario
K0A 1L0
613-715-2571

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April 2, 2015 Ottawa: Spring migration underway

Hi Ontbirders

Today , April 2, there was an impressive movement of Canada Geese over Ottawa just west of Deschenes Rapids.  Between 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. I counted over 15,000 Canada Geese as they flew along the Ottawa River/ Lake Deschenes in flocks ranging from 20-400 from the northwest and continuing southeast. It was like a reverse migration. It appears these birds over shot and found only snow covered fields and frozen water north of the Ottawa region. As flock after flock headed southeast I observed 3 adult Greater White-fronted Geese, 4 Cackling Geese and 1 Snow Goose. I also observed 2 Sandhill Crane, 1 Great Blue Heron, 2 Bald Eagle, 40+ Bohemian Waxwing and 1 Pine Grosbeak. At the top end of the Deschenes Rapids there were a number of ducks feeding in the rapids including 3 (2 male/1 female) Barrow’s Goldeneye, and 1 male Common X Barrow’s Goldeneye. Due to the prolonged cold winter the Ottawa River is still frozen except for fast flowing water at the rapids. It still looks like mid winter along the river. With milder weather on its way the ice will begin to open quickly.


Directions: I you require additional information please email me privately.


Good birding,

Bruce

Friday, May 23, 2014

May 23,2014 Lesser Black-backed Gull at Pembroke, Ontario

On May 21st while birding at the Pembroke Marina I observed and photographed a 3rd year Lesser Black-backed Gull resting with Ring-billed Gulls on the break wall of the marina. The Lesser black-backed Gull is very rare in Renfrew County and most records are from the fall months. The first record for Ontario was found in the Ottawa area during November 1971. This species had increased big time over the last 4 decades but recently the number of sightings have dropped off. During the past decade I had counts up to 20+ individuals along the Ottawa River. The decline may be tied to the changes in dumping practices at local land fill sites. Nowadays there is little food available for the gulls due to the green bin. The days off see 1000's of gulls at local landfill sites appear to gone. As a result the number of gulls in our region has decline significantly.
Good birding,
Bruce




Lesser Black-backed Gull 


Lesser Black-backed Gull


Lesser Black-backed Gull 

May 22,2014 Red-headed Woopeckers at Constance Bay

Hi Everyone

At least one Red-headed Woodpecker has returned to the old burn site at Constance Bay. On May 17th I heard and observed a very vocal adult as it perched high in one of the few remaining dead trees. These woodepckers have successfully bred at this site since first being discovered by my dad in late May/early June 2002. The habitat has     changed significantly  since the fire during the mid 1990's and most of the dead trees have fallen and the area has been filled in with new growth. If you are going to look for these birds please refrain from using playback, all you need is some patience! 
I was back again on May 22nd and the same bird was still very vocal as it was successfully flycatching for a high perch. 
Good birding,
Bruce

 Please review OFO's Ethical Birding Principles http://www.ofo.ca/webapp/site/page/view/aboutus.ethics

Directions: Constance Bay: RHWP: From Ottawa travel west bound on Hwy. 417 to the March Rd./Eagleson Road and exit right onto March Rd. Follow to Dunrobin Road and turn right continuing northwest through Woodlawn. At the hill turn right onto Constance Bay Rd following it for approx. 1.5 km. Turn left on Allbirch Road and drive 1.3 km to the " T " intersection. Turn left
on Bishop Davis Drive and then right on Bayview Drive. Follow Bayview Drive to Ritchie St. Turn right and go a short distance to Whistler Rd. Turn left and drive .3 km and watch for a gate on the right. The trail through the burn area is opposite the gate. Parking is limited. 



Red-headed Woodpecker

Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 20, 2014 Late lingering Snowy Owls in eastern Ontario


After the most amazing winter for Snowy Owls we are still seeing late lingering individuals in eastern Ontario. After 40+ years of birding I recorded my first ever May Snowy Owl for the Ottawa -Gatineau district on May 1st. Since then no sightings but on May 20th I observed two individuals while driving to Pembroke, one was in the Fitzroy Harbour area and another along Highway 17 west of Cobden. It will be interesting to see if any over summer in the region.
Good birding,
Bruce




Late ingering Snowy Owls continue to be reported in eastern Ontario.


Snowy Owl 


Snowy Owl 

May 18,2014 Little Gull flock found on Lake Deschenes

While birding along the Ottawa River I observed a first year Little Gull in a small group of Bonaparte's Gulls off Britannia Pier. Later during the morning the number of  Little Gulls had grown to 6-7 1st year birds and 2 adult birds. The first record of Little Gull for the Ottawa-Gatineau district was found in June 1975 and over the past four decades there have been 40+ records. The majority of sightings have fallen between the latter part of May to mid June mainly along the Ottawa River between Britannia and Shirley's Bay and there are a few fall sightings. This represents the largest flock ever recorded in the Ottawa-Gatineau district. The previous high count was 5 on May 17,1987 along the ottawa river at Deschenes Rapids. 
Good birding, 
Bruce


The Little Gulls spent most of their time off Britannoa Pier and dick Bell Park. At one point I watched a flock of 1st years birds flying out over Lake Deschenes. I was able to digiscope them along with a few Bonapate's Gulls once them settled on the water. 

May 15,2014 White-eyed Vireo at Shirley's Bay

Hi Everyone
While going to check on the Bald eagle nest at Shirley's Bay I heard and briefly saw an adult White-eyed Vireo near the gate entrance to the  Rifle Range. The vireo sang a number of times as it slowly moved south and disappeared. The White-eyed Vireo is a very rare visitor to eastern Ontario and most records are from the fall season. The Bald Eagles are doing well and have two young. This is the third consecutive year that the eagles have nested
Good birding,
Bruce

Directions: Shirley's Bay: From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to the Moodie Drive exit and turn north (right) on Moodie Drive and continue to Carling Ave. Turn left at Carling Ave. and follow Carling to Rifle Road. Turn right (north) on Rifle Rd. Park at the lot at the end (boat launch). Walk back to the road, and continue through the gate on the Department of National Defense property. There is a trail on your right (clearly marked with vehicle "No Entry" signs) which heads into the woods, and, eventually to the causeway. There is lots of POISON IVY along the causeway.

**** PLEASE NOTE**** YOU MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE RANGE CONTROL
OFFICE BEFORE ENTERING THE SHIRLEY'S BAY AREA-- Call (613) 991-5740 and request permission to visit the causeway area for birding.




Bald Eagles continue to successfully nest at Shirley's Bay.