Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 4, 2010 Peregrine Falcon kills and eats Mallard.

The morning birding course field trip went well with a good variety of birds and most interesting was watching a immature Peregrine Falcon kill and eat a Mallard. Our first stop was at Shirley's Bay and with the low water levels there was still lots of activity including a flock of 8 Baird's Sandpipers. We had great comparison views of Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs as they fed on the mudflats. There were 10+ Great Egrets and 20+ Great Blue Heron, 2 Green Heron and 1 American Bittern. Birds of prey were evident with 1 Merlin, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 1 Northern Harrier and 3 immature Bald Eagles seen along the dyke. The eagles flushed up many ducks from the back bay as the flew low over the cattails. The highlight of the morning was watching an immature Peregrine catch and kill a Mallard along the mudflats east of Andrew Haydon Park.

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 dyke. There is lots of POISON IVY along the dyke. **** PLEASE NOTE**** YOU MUST OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE RANGE CONTROL OFFICE BEFORE ENTERING THE DYKE AREA-- Call (613) 991-5740 and request permission to visit the dyke area for birding.

Yellowlegs are easiest to tell apart when feeding together.

Immature Peregrine Falcon fly-by.

During the 1970's the Peregrine Falcon was a very rare sight in the Ottawa area.

Peregrine at kill.

Remains of Mallard. The Peregrine first plucked the neck and upper breast feather before eating.

No comments: