Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011 Birding Chaffey's Lock area and Canoe Lake Road

Hello Everyone

Spent the morning birding Chaffey's Lock Road/Opinicon Rd and Canoe Lake Rd. A number of new arrivals were noted including 1 Solitary Sandpiper, 1 Eastern Kingbird, 1 Great Crested Flycatcher, 3 Warbling Vireo, 1 Wood Thrush, 4 Northern Waterthrush, 1 Common Yellowthroat, 8 Pine Warbler, 7 Black & White Warbler, 1 Nashville Warbler, and 20+ Yellow-rumped Warbler. A small flight of 50+ Broad-winged Hawk, 1 ad. Bald Eagle, 1 Cooper's, 1 Sharp-shinned, 1 Northern Harrier and a couple of Osprey were also observed along with 6 Red-shouldered Hawk. On the Canoe Lake Road we observed 3 Louisiana Waterthrush singing, 5 Black-thr. Green Warbler and a small number of Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Good birding, Bruce

Directions to Opinicon Road (Courtsery M. Conboy): From Kingston: Go north on Division Street/Perth Road/County Road 10 to just past Perth Road Village. Turn east (right) on Opinicon Road. From Ottawa: Go west on Highway 417 to Highway 7. At Carleton Place turn south (left) on Highway 15. Follow Highway 15 for about 60 km through Smith's Falls and all the way to Chaffey's Lock Road (name changes to Opinicon Road west of Chaffey's Lock). The best birding is between Chaffey's Lock and Perth Road. Queen's University Biological Station (main operations centre; emergency address 280) is located at the end of Queen's University Road, 2 km west of Chaffey's Lock.
Note: Visitors are welcome at Queen's Univsersity Biological Station throughout the year. In order to avoid distrubing ongoing avain research projects we ask that birders contact Mark Andrew Conboy by email ( if they plan to visit the station proper and its properties.

Green Comma

Skycroft trail

Green Frog

Old Beaver cuttings


Adult Broad-winged Hawk

Adult Red-shouldered Hawk

Painted Turtle

Louisiana Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush

Monday, April 25, 2011

April 25, 2011 Local birding

This morning Ben and I birded along the Ottawa River from Britannia to Shirley's Bay. Overall, a noticeable drop in the number of grebes at Shirley's Bay with only 3 Red-necked and 16 Horned Grebe. Relocated the pair of Black Scoters off Rocky Point just west of Andrew Haydon Park and also saw 1 White-winged Scoter. The Britannia Conservation Area/ Mud Lake had 3 Pine Warbler singing and a few Yellow-rumped Warblers. Somewhat quiet in the woods, seems like more birds back on territory including Savannah Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, and Eastern Phoebe. A quick stop at the Carp River flood plain produced 2 Lesser Yellowlegs and 26 Green-winged Teal.

April 24, 2011 Upland Sandpiper at Constance Bay

This afternoon enroute to Constance Bay, Ben spotted a Upland Sandpiper near the corner of Dunrobin Road and Constance Bay Drive. This area has been good for Upland Sandpiper for the past decade or so. The bird was on the north side Constance Bay Drive after you turn right off Dunrobin Road. Like many grassland species, the Upland Sandpiper has become a scarce bird locally due to habitat loss. The male Red-bellied Woodpecker was present at the Old Burn site but no Red-headed woodpeckers yet.

Directions: Constance Bay: RBWP: 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 lefton 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.

Male Red-bellied Woodpecker at "old burn site" at Constance Bay.

A female Hairy Woodpecker at nest site.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 23 & 24, 2011 More Birding along the Ottawa River.

Hi Everyone Lots of birds on the move! Birding along the Ottawa River continues to be good. I spent 3 hours this morning between Andrew Haydon Park and Shirley's Bay. At the boat launch at Shirley's Bay I observed a "Yellow" Palm Warbler. It flew over and landed in some shrubbery and was visible for a couple of minutes before disappearing. It is a rare spring migrant, I've only seen them on territory at Mer Blue Bog and Alfred Bog during spring migration. Lots of water birds including 49 Red-necked Grebe and 22 Horned Grebe. Yesterday saw 53 Horned and 17 Red-necked Grebe in the same area. Also yesterday, a breeding plumaged Red-throated Loon flew over the Britannia Rapids area, 2 Long-tailed Duck off Britannia Pier and there were 2 Great Egrets at Deschenes Rapids plus 40+ Bohemian Waxwings near Moodie Drive and Carling Ave. Land bird numbers are again up today with good numbers of White-throated Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Purple Martin and Bank Swallow in the area. Two Bald Eagle, 1 adult and 1, 2nd year bird were playing with sticks in a large tree in the Shirley's Bay area this morning.

Happy Easter
Good Birding, Bruce

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 (summer). **** 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.

Breeding plumage Red-necked Grebe

Breeding plumage Horned Grebe

Small flotilla of Horned Grebes off the Shirley's Bay boat launch.

Displaying Wild Turkeys near Carp.

Dueling male Wild Turkeys

Purple Martins are now back in numbers. I check the nesting area at Nepean Sailing Club yesterday, didn't see any activity, lots of action today!

A male Northern Cardinal singing.

Canada Geese can be very aggressive and territorial during the breeding season.

April 22, 2011 Birding along the Ottawa River

Hello Ontbirders

Great weather for birding along the Ottawa River this morning between Deschenes Rapids and Constance Bay. Off Dick Bell Park at 7:00 a.m. I observed a pair of Black Scoters. This species is a very rare spring migrant and one of the few I've observed in the past 40 years. Good numbers of water birds at Shirley's Bay with 22 Common loon, 3 Red-necked Grebe, 300+ Bufflehead along with Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Common Goldeneye, and all 3 merganser. At Constance Bay there was a very vocal male Red-bellied Woodpecker at the corner of Whistler Road and Bayview Drive. Likely the same individual that over wintered nearby. Still lots of Common Redpolls in the area.

Good Birding, Bruce

Directions: Britannia Pier and Dick Bell Park: Both areas are accessible from Carling Ave. west of Carling and Richmond Rd. intersection.

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.

OFFICE BEFORE ENTERING THE DYKE AREA-- Call (613) 991-5740 and request permission to visit the dyke area for birding.

Male Red-winged blackbird back on territory.

The Northern Flicker is now back in numbers

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker was very vocal today at Constance Bay. Likely the same individual that overwintered.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21, 2011 Common Redpolls still in numbers.

Common Redpolls are still in the area and this morning we had 50+ at the feeder along with a couple of American Goldfinch and 1 Pine Siskin. Other species visiting the feeder are mainly migrants that include Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, and Common Grackle. Our resident Amercian Robin just finished building its nest and should be laying eggs soon.

Late lingering Common Redpoll continue at feeder.

Common Redpoll at bird bath.

Nesting season well underway for many species.

The American Goldfinch has almost completed its moult to breeding plumage.

A male Mourning Dove continues to visit the feeder.

April 20, 2011 Birding Deschenes Rapids at dusk, Great Egrets and Black-crowned Night-Herons

Birded Deschenes Rapids at dusk and observed 2 Great Egrets fly in and land in the area of the Ring-billed Gull colony on Conroy Island. There were at least 12 Black-crowned Night-Herons perched in the lower shrubbery and a couple of nest were seen. This is the area the first nesting record for the night-heron was confirmation a few years ago. Also, a number of Double-crested Cormorants perched and again likely nesting too.

A distant views of the Ring-billed Gull colony where now Black-crowned Night-Heron and Double-crested Cormorant have bred recently.

This site is where 30+ Great Egrets roosted last fall for a short time and recently a pair have returned. Nesting??

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 19,2011 American Woodcocks and Virginia Rails

With good weather conditions last night we were able to locate both our target birds for the birding course field trip. Our first stop was for Virginia Rails and they were still in the same as Monday and gave us great views. Also present were lots of Spring Peepers calling away which was nice to hear. Did a quick check at Constance Creek at Thomas Dolan Parkway and had 100+ Rusty Blackbirds in small groups going to roost. This location has been always one of the best spring migration areas to view Rusty Blackbirds at dusk. Our finally stop at dusk was for American Woodcock near Shirley's Bay and we weren't disappointed. This site has been excellent for viewing their flight display since the early 90's. At least 3 males were present and we were able to watch their "sky dance" a high twisting flight with lots of chirping, twittering, and bubbling sounds over head before they land. Once on the ground they started calling, a nasal peent which lasted for a few minutes before rising up into the night sky again.

American Woodcock

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011 The Ontario Swift Watch Project

Bird Studies Canada – Presents

An Ontario Region Workshop on

The Ontario SwiftWatch Project

Wednesday May 4th, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

The Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre, Ottawa, Ontario

Come out and learn about

ü Chimney Swifts, their biology and decline

ü the Ontario SwiftWatch Project

ü and other Bird Studies Canada’s programs in your area.

The Chimney Swift is easy to recognized by its cigar shaped body.

The Chimney Swift has been declining in numbers over the past few decades likely due to loss of habitat.

The Chimney Swift makes its nest out of small twigs which are pick up during flight and glued together by its saliva. They lay 3-6 white eggs.

We are seeking enthusiasts to be trained to monitor Chimney Swifts and who are willing to spend 11 – 50 hours per year as a volunteer surveyor in an Ontario community.

· Learn the techniques needed to monitor this Species At Risk.

· The Fletcher Wildlife Garden is located off Prince of Wales Drive, across the road from the Canada Agriculture Museum parking lot entrance. The centre is the white building at the far end of the driveway.

· Please dress appropriately for an evening outdoors.

This Workshop is Free For Participants

· For more information, please contact Kristyn Richardson, Stewardship Biologist or 519-586-3531 x 127

This project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Department of Environment; the Government of Ontario, and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. A special thanks to the Ottawa Stewardship Council and the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club for their support and participation.

Debbie Badzinski, Ontario Program Manager

Bird Studies Canada

c/o Environment Canada

National Wildlife Research Centre

1125 Colonel By Drive (Raven Rd.)

Ottawa, ON

K1A 0H3

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April 11-18, 2011 More local birding in the Ottawa area.

Despite cool and even cold over night temperatures, rain, snow flurries and hail the north bound migration is slowly making its way to eastern Ontario. amazingly we hit a high of +28c (humidex) on April 11th but that was short lived. We've been below seasonal highs since that afternoon and it isn't looking much better at least for another week or two. Regardless, the birds are slowly moving back north and a few of our wintering species such as Common Redpoll and Bohemian Waxwing are lingering late in the area. Today I spent a couple of hours birding at Britannia Conservation Area and observed 2 species of warbler, 1 Pine and 3 Yellow-rumped, hopefully more on the way. Other migrants included Hermit Thrush, Golden-crowned Kinglet, White-throated Sparrow and Fox Sparrow. With the cooler temperatures swallows were concentrated over Mud Lake and the Filtration plant property fly catching. A total of 5 species were found, all the regular ones but didn't find any Purple Martins.
I checked a number of marsh/swamp habitat in the Dunrobin area and heard/saw 6 Virginia Rail and 1 Sora. A pair of Virginia Rails were very active calling and feeding in the open. I was able to watch them for a while as them picked at the muck and appeared to be eating a small snail and some other aquatic larve. Anyway an interesting study.

The Virginia Rail is a common breeder/migrant in eastern Ontario.

It is easy to recognize by its distinctive territorial call, a kid-kid-kidick-kidick.

Though shy, you can sometimes get great views of these secretive birds.

This pair was very tame and spent much of the time feeding in the open.

While watching the rails the next thing I noticed the were copulating.

Unfortunately it was difficult to capture this and it lasted only seconds.

The pair disappeared into the cattails.

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 10, 2011 Birding Amherst Island

The birding today on Amherst Island was interesting with a nice selection of migrants. Highlights included a movement of Bonaparte's Gulls along the southshore of the island. Over 1200+ were counted, many back into breeding plumage with their black heads but many still moulting. The east point (KFN property) had 1 Greater Yellowlegs and a variety of puddle ducks including Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon and Gadwall. Overall quiet for raptors with only a few Northern Harrier, American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk and 4 Rough-legged Hawks still hanging around the island.
Off the south shore we counted 40+ Common Loon, 3 Red-necked Grebe and 8 Horned Grebe along with 1500+ Long-tailed Ducks and smaller numbers of Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and Red-breasted Merganser.
The "Owl Woods" was very quiet with no owls.

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.

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 ."

Long-tailed duck was the most common waterfowl.

A sure sign Spring were croaking North Leopard Frogs .

Another sign of Spring was an Eastern Garter Snake.

Adult Bonaparte's Gull s feeding along the south shore of Amherst Island.

Over 1200+ Bonaparte's Gulls were counted along the south shore of Amherst Island.

Tree Swallows were back in numbers.

March 31- April 9, 2011 Local Birding Ottawa area

The spring migrations is still moving at a snails pace. Hopefully the warmer weather forecast for later this week will kick start the north bound movement. Very little different since last week except move Canada Geese on the move and many of our resident pairs are back at their familiar nesting locations. On Tuesday, April 5th I birded Shirley's Bay and there was a nice selection of waterfowl including 3 Greater Scaup, 11 Lesser Scaup, 24 Ring-necked Duck, 2 Hooded Merganser, 3 Northern Pintail, 1 American Wigeon, and 8 Great Blue Heron which are back at the heronry. I've noticed an increase in Dark-eyed Junco starting to move through the region and had 4 Northern Harrier yesterday, April 5th near Woodlawn and I saw the Red-bellied Woodpecker at Constance Bay too. The only migrant of note was an Eastern Phoebe along Huntmar Road on April 4th. Still haven't seen any swallows locally. Despite the slow start there are many signs that the breeding season is in full gear which American Crows collecting nesting material, European Starlings also in the process, Common Ravens sitting on eggs, Cooper's Hawk doing courtship displays, lots of singing from Northern Cardinals and House Finches while all the woodpeckers are drumming. This morning, April 6th, in Carp, I observed 120+ Common Redpoll and 1 Hoary Redpoll still coming to my niger feeder.
We're finally getting some migrants moving north! On Thursday, April 7th I had my first swallows, 2 Tree and 1 Barn Swallow at Britannia. Also , 7 Black-crowned Night-Herons were back at their breeding area at Deschenes Rapids. On April 8th, Ben observed 1 Osprey near Carleton Place. On Saturday, April 9th, Ben and I observed 32 Greater White-fronted Geese near Dunrobin. This is a record high for eastern Ontario. We also had 3 Osprey in the Shirley's Bay area. At Shirley's Bay 15 species of ducks were observed including 42 American Wigeon, 24 Green-winged Teal, 27 Wood Duck, and 14 Northern Pintail. We also observed 2 immature Bald Eagle. On Tuesday, April 13th, There was a noticeable increase in migrants including Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Phoebe, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Winter Wren and Eastern Bluebird all in the Shirley's Bay-Dunrobin area.

A Northern Saw-whet Owl was one of 3 species of owls found locally over the past week in local wood lots. The other 2 species were Long-eared and Eastern Screech-Owl.

A Tree Swallow along the Ottawa River was a welcome sight this past week.

A group of Hooded Merganser at Shirley's Bay.

The Ring-necked Duck is a common migrant though eastern Ontario during late March and early April.

A group of male Bufflehead are all interested in the same female Bufflehead.

The battle begins.

It's now down to two males.

The winner now chases off the final male while the female watches.