At dusk today, 3 Great Gray Owls were observed along March Valley Road and 3 along Greenland Road NW of Thomas Dolan Parkway.
Good birding, Bruce
Directions: GGOwls: From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to March Road exit. Follow March Road to Dunrobin Road and turn right. Follow Dunrobin Road to Dunrobin and turn right on Thomas Dolan Parkway. Follow to Greenland Road area. If you require additional information, please email me privately. Please review OFO's Ethical Birding Principles.
Birded Amherst Island today. Despite the -20 C temperature this morning, birding was good. Due to snow conditions,we parked along the South Shore Road and walked in to the "Owl Woods." We observed 5 Northern Saw-whet Owls and 6 Long-eared Owls. On our walk out we observed one Northern Shrike. We drove around the island roads and counted 47 Rough-legged Hawk, 16 Red-tailed Hawk, 3 American Kestrel, 11 Snowy Owl and 2 Short-eared Owl. There were 140+ Snow Bunting along the South Shore Road. Overall a good outing.
At the DuPont Plant/Elevator Bay pond we observed 6 Ring-necked Duck, 6 Hooded Merganser, 16 American Coot and 3 Gadwall among the 1000+ Mallards and 200+ American Black Duck.
Please review OFO's Ethical Birding Principles.
Good birding, Bruce
Directions:Amherst Island: Located 18 km. west of Kingston. Exit off Hwy. 401 at exit 593 (County Rd. 4, Camden East) and drive south to the very end (Millhaven). Turn right on Hwy. 33 and drive 100 metres until you see the sign for the Amherst Island ferry. The ferry (20 minute trip) leaves the mainland on the half hour and leaves the island on the hour. Cost is $8.00 Canadian round trip. There are no gas stations on the island. There are restrooms on the ferry, and at the island ferry dock. The East End K.F.N. property is at the easternmost part of the island on the east side of the Lower Forty Foot Road. To reach the Owl Woods, turn left (east) at the four-way stop sign by the general store and drive 3.4 km along Front Rd. to the (seasonal) Marshall Forty-Foot Rd. Marshall Forty-Foot Rd. is across the road from house #2320. Drive along Marshall Rd. to the mid-way point, where there is an "S" in the road (1.2 km, look for the K.F.N. kiosk which had owl observing ethics). Park in the gravel lane or off the road edge. Because of liability issues, visitors to the Kingston Field Naturalists' property at the east end of Amherst Island MUST be accompanied by a KFN member. For KFN contact information or how to become a member, please visit http://kingstonfieldnaturalists.org/.
Late yesterday and this afternoon I had a total of 6 Great Gray Owls east of Dunrobin. There was a concentration of 3 owls along Greenland Road NW of Thomas Dolan Parkway, 2 along Vance's Side road and one along March Valley Road.
Despite its size, the Great Gray Owl blends in well and is easy to overlook.
The Great Gray Owl has excellent hearing and can detect mice under the snow.
On a sad note, this afternoon I discovered the Boreal Owl dead along March Valley Road. It was laying on the ground in the general area it was observed earlier during the week. The owl was emaciated.
The Boreal Owl that delighted many earlier this week was found dead along March Valley road this afternoon. Even though it was observed catching a mouse on January 26th it was in an emaciated condition.
There were a number of flocks of Bohemian Waxwings in the area and still lots of White-winged Crossbills, Pine Siskin's and Common Redpoll.
Good birding, Bruce
Directions: GGOwls: From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to March Road exit. Follow March Road to Dunrobin Road and turn right. Follow Dunrobin Road to Dunrobin and turn right on Thomas Dolan Parkway. Follow to Greenland Road area. If you require additional information, please email me privately. Please review OFO's Ethical Birding Principles
The wintering Red-shouldered Hawk was still present along Old Carp Road and Gourlay Lane early this afternoon. Also observed a large flock of Bohemian Waxwings (250+) off Grandview road and Carling Ave.
A squirrel's dilemma! This black-morph Gray Squirrel tried everything it could to open the top!
It's amazing how many porcupines you see when you're searching for owls! This porcupine was having bark for lunch!
Good birding, Bruce
Directions: From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to March Road exit. Turn right and follow March Road past Dunrobin Road and watch for Old Carp Road. Turn left and follow to Huntmar Road or Gourlay Road.
Note finch bill, stockier build than House Finch, reminds me of the House Sparrow in shape. The tail is shorter with a deeply notched tail. The male has a reddish head with more pinkish-red breast. Note lack of streaking on under parts. House Finch has obvious streaks.
Bird #2: Who am I?
This flight photo is a little more difficult but you can see the wing shape and tail length, overall view of a small bird of prey with narrow pointed wings and a rufous color tail with a distinctive black tail band. Also, black markings on back and bluish-gray wings make it a male American Kestrel.
Here are a few more photos from my trip to Florida...
Many species of egrets and herons were hunted to near extinction in the late 1800's and early 1900's for their plumages. These feathers or plumes were used for ladies hats in Europe and North America. Fortunately, during the early 1900's one of the first projects of the Audubon Society was to bring protection to these plumed birds.
This large plain shorebird is sometimes hard to identify but in flight is very distinctive.
Willet in flight
Hard to mistake!
Note it's distinctive, downwardly curved bill.
Wilson's Plover The Wilson's Plover was easy to locate along the gulf at Honey Moon Island State Park.
The Osprey, also known as a Fish Hawk, was plentiful along the Gulf Coast.
Ruddy Turnstone bathing
Ruddy Turnstone feeding
With the abundance of clams there was lots of activity around the beached clams.
Black-crowned Night Heron
People complain about having Rock Pigeons on the roof...you should feel sorry for these people!!
Left the cold north for a long weekend in Florida to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday and do some birding and photography! On my arrival the first night the low was -4C !!! Not what I expected in the south. Fortunately the conditions improved during my short visit and I was treated to highs of +24C. During my stay from January 22-26 I spent time birding and photographing birds along the Gulf Coast of Florida near Indian Shores. Winter birding in Florida is wonderful both for watching and photography. There are many species including terns, egrets, herons, sandpipers, and other coastal species to view. Most of my time was along the gulf and Honey Moon Island north of Clearwater. I had lots of opportunity to study and photograph numerous species as they fed and resting along the shoreline. For the serious photographer and birder is a haven!
Lots of owl activity this morning west of Ottawa. There was a Great Gray Owl near the corner of Vance's Side Road and 6th Line Road. The owl was sitting in a tree beside a house. The Northern Hawk-Owl was still present off Grandview Road at 11:45 am, feeding on a kill. The Boreal Owl was also still present along March Valley Road at 12:15 pm. It still had a small rodent in its talons that it had caught earlier.
Boreal Owl with mouse. Normally nocturnal hunter, this Boreal caught the mouse mid morning.
Northern Hawk-Owl having lunch
There was a small flock of Bohemian Waxwings feeding along Hilda Road and lots of Pine Siskin, a few Common Redpoll and a flock of White-winged Crossbills were also present.
Bohemian Waxwing feeding on berries
Female White-winged Crossbill feeding on a spruce cone. White-winged Crossbills continue to move into Eastern Ontario. With their specialized bill they can feed on cones, removing the seeds.
Normally a tree dweller, this female Pileated Woodpecker finally decided to stand on the snow and continue picking for food.
Please review OFO's Ethical Birding Principles
Good birding, Bruce
Directions: Boreal Owl: From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to March Road exit. Follow March Road past Carling Ave. and continue to Klondike Road and turn right. Follow to March Valley Road and turn left. Drive down to area where there is a guard rail and watch for the owl roosting on the right in the open.
Directions: Northern Hawk-Owl (Ottawa): From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to Moodie Drive exit #134. Go north to Carling Ave. and turn left. Watch for Grandview Road on your right. Follow to the end and turn left on Hastings Str. and park. If you require additional information, please email me privately.
Great Gray Owls are still being found at various locations in Eastern Ontario. Unfortunately, none have been staying around for too long. Yesterday, two were observed: one along Hwy. 60 between Madawaska and Barry's Bay at 5:15 pm, sitting on a hydro wire, while the other was observed along a ski trail east of Ottawa. Today there was one present along Thomas Dolan Parkway east of Dunrobin.
Here are some photos:
There were 3 Snowy Owls in the Kinburn area, one along Kinburn Side Road and two along Galetta Side road near Hwy. 417. Yesterday, my wife observed one in south Kanata along Fernbank Road, between Eagleson and Terry Fox Drive, one was sighted along Rideau Road near Ramsayville Road, and another behind the Ottawa Airport.
This Snowy owl was perched on a telephone pole for almost a hour near Antrim. Even the snowplow didn't disturb it.
The finch numbers continue to increase, today I observed 200+ Pine Grosbeaks in the Kinburn-Carp-Dunrobin area, and over 400+ Pine Siskin. Also there was a flock of 40+ Bohemian Waxwing along Rifle Road off Carling Ave.
Finch numbers continue to increase in Eastern Ontario. Numerous flocks of Pine Grosbeaks were observed around Dunrobin, Carp and near Antrim where there was a flock of 150+.
A flock of 12 American Robin was a surprise near Dunrobin. They were feeding on frozen wild grapes.
If you require additional information, please email me privately.
Late this afternoon the Northern Hawk-Owl was still present hunting along Grandview Road off Carling Ave. There were also a number of small flocks of Pine Siskin and a few Common Redpoll. In the village of Carp there was a flock of 12 Pine Grosbeak and 40+ Bohemian Waxwing near 400 Donald B. Munro Drive.
Good birding, Bruce
Directions: Northern Hawk-Owl(Ottawa): From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to Moodie Drive exit #134. Go north to Carling Ave. and turn left. Watch for Grandview Road on your right. Follow to the end and turn left on Hastings Str. and park. If you require additional information, please email me privately.
As you cross on the Amherst Island ferry look to the west and you will see two tall chimneys. Between 1972 and 1982 over 22,000 birds were killed by flying into the floodlights illuminating the stacks. Specimens were collected by Hydro staff and shipped to the National Museum of Canada in Ottawa to be used as study skins. Finally, in 1983 the floodlights were replaced by strobe lights and the mortality rate dropped to only a few birds per season.
I spent a few hours birding around Kanata/Carp area today.
There were 4 Gray Partridge along Maple Grove Road near the Sensplex Centre. Check around the bottom any of the pine or spruce trees along Maple Grove Road starting at Terry Fox Drive.
There was a flock of 75+ Bohemian Waxwings near the corner of Old Carp Road and Huntmar Drive.
Small flocks of White-winged Crossbills continue to feed in the village of Carp along with Pine Siskins, Common Redpolls and Pine Grosbeaks. Drive around the area east of Carp Road.
It appears that Great Gray Owls are still moving through the region. There has been at least 3 sightings of the Great Gray Owl during the past week, west of March Road/Dunrobin Road but none were relocated today. One was found along Torbolton Ridge Road, one on Old Carp Road near Huntmar Drive and another off March Road near Peter Robinson Road. All were during the late afternoon.
At dusk today I observed 50+ Wild Turkeys roosting in a few deciduous trees along Huntmar Drive near Bradleyside Road.
How many turkeys can you count?
If you require additional information, please email me privately.
Always remember to check the trees in your backyard, especially if you have cedar or spruce trees. The feed that falls on the ground from your feeders will attract small rodents, which will in turn, attract owls. This Northern Saw-whet Owl was roosting in a cedar tree above the bird feeders in Stittsville today.
Ontario Field Ornithologists' Ethical Birding Principles As the number of birders increases, we must all make every effort to act in a positive and responsible way. We must also convey responsible image to non-birders who may be affected by our activities. Most people appreciate birds but this appreciation can be quickly destroyed by the irresponsible actions of a handful of birders.
In the past a code of ethics was not considered necessary, but times have changed and as more and more pressure is put on our environment it is essential to do whatever we can to lead by example. Each of us must show consideration to other birders, landowners, habitat, birds and other wildlife at all times. We are ambassadors of birding and our actions today will reflect the respect we receive in the future.
The welfare of the birds must come first. Whatever your interest, from scientific study to listing, always consider the impact of your activity on the bird. Respect bird protection laws. We are all responsible to ensure we abide by them at all times.
Habitat protection. Habitat is vital for the existence of birds and we must ensure that our activities cause minimum damage to our environment. Use trails to avoid trampling vegetation. Keep disturbance to a minimum. Although some birds can tolerate human activity, this varies from species to species and from season to season. Use common sense and extreme caution around nests. Migrants may be tired and hungry and should not be kept from resting or feeding. When photographing birds, study their reaction and if they become agitated, back off. Avoid the use of flash photography on owls. Tape recordings and similar methods of attracting birds may cause stress for territorial birds. They should be used sparingly and avoided in heavily birded areas. Do not deliberately flush birds. Patience is often rewarded.
Rare breeding birds. If you discover a rare breeding bird, do not feel under any obligation to report your find to other birders. Record the details of your discovery. You may wish to file the nest with the Ontario Nest Records Scheme at the Royal Ontario Museum. Avoid visiting known sites of rare breeding birds unless they can be viewed from a distance without disturbance.
Rare birds. Rare migrants or vagrants are the species most sought after by birders. If you discover a rarity, consider the circumstances carefully before releasing the information. You must take responsibility for the decision to release the find. You should consider whether an influx of birders will disturb the bird, people or other species in the area; whether habitat will be damaged; and where people will park. Inform the landowner of the find, explain what may happen and obtain permission to tell other birders. Ask the landowner for a list of dos and don'ts, for example, where birders may stand to get a good view and what restrictions there may be on time of day. Also ask which areas are off limit. If you decide to release the news, give precise directions and instructions. If possible include a phone number. At all times make as little noise as possible. Remember, most non-birders will be surprised by the number of visitors who wish to see a rare bird.
Respect the rights of landowners and occupiers of land. Before entering an area, be aware of the rules about access such as by-laws of Conservation Authorities, National and Provincial Parks, and Regional Authorities. Many landowners and authorities allow birders access to areas normally off limits. Always act in a responsible way and if you are asked to leave, do so immediately. Do not block gateways or cause damage to fences, and leave gates as you find them. Do not obstruct people who may be working in these areas.
Have proper consideration for other birders. When telephoning for information, do so at reasonable hours of the day. Try not to disrupt other birders’ activities or scare the birds they are watching. Many other people enjoy the outdoors; do not interfere with their activities. Be polite to other birders and helpful to beginners. If you see people obviously disturbing birds or significantly damaging habitat, explain to them the effect of their actions but be courteous, they may not be aware of the effect they are having. Increase our knowledge about birds. Keep notes of your sightings and send them to area compilers. Send rare bird reports to the Secretary, Ontario Bird Records Committee.
When birding in other countries, provinces or regions. Find out if there is a local code of ethics or any special rules that should be respected.