April 24, 2009
This past week we have had a variety of weather condition from rain, wind, sunny and finally warm today. The field trip for the birding courses and specialty outings also have been variable due to the weather. One of the highlights was the American Woodcock outings on April 21 and 22. Both trips produced excellent views of American Woodcocks during their flight displays at dusk. On the first outing we watched one American Woodcock do 17 flights in 30 minutes landing within a few feet of the same area each time. It was interesting on the second outing that the timing was almost the same as the first outing. The woodcock started its flight at 8:10 pm on April 21 and 8:12 pm on April 22.
Before dusk we made a few stops at wetlands in the Dunrobin area on April 21 and had no luck with Virginia Rails but the following day, same time and place we had 4 Virginia Rails. Migrations is definitely underway!
On my specialty trip on April 22nd we birded the Quebec side of the Ottawa River from Masson to Plaisance. Overall still 1000's of Canada Geese on the move and once the rain stopped we observed 3 American Bittern at Black Bay, 1 Great Egret flying east over Plaisance and an adult Peregrine Falcon at the Masson/Cumberland ferry.
Other migrants included Yellow-rumped Warbler, Pine Warbler, lots of Barn Swallows, Savannah sparrow and great views of Rusty blackbirds. My feeder still has lots of finches eating Niger seed and on April 22 there were still 150+ Pine Siskin, 3 Common Redpoll, 15+ American Goldfinch and a couple of Purple Finch along with Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, White-throated Sparrow, Song Sparrow and Mourning Dove. The feeders at Shirley's Bay had a few White-throated Sparrow and 5 Fox Sparrow nearby along with a flock of 16 Bohemian Waxwings. With the forecast promising warmer weather this weekend, who knows what will show up!