Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011 Chimney Swifts and Northern Cardinals

Our Chimney Swifts are still sitting on eggs and hopefully will be hatching soon! Last year the eggs hatched on July 28th, so any day now. Lots of activity around the feeder including a family of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks with the full grown young still begging for food and Northern Cardinals. With fall migration starting and local birds moving around the area it's a great time to start up your bird feeders and see what you can attract!



Chimney Swift on nest.


A young Rose-breasted Grosbeak begging for food.


The female Rose-breasted Grosbeak filling up at feeder.


The begging pays off!


A juvenile Northern Cardinal sits quietly waiting for lunch.


Finally the male Northern Cardinal arrives with food.


The Northern Cardinal was first found nesting in the Ottawa district in 1974. It is now a regular breeder throughout the eastern Ontario.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 23, 2011 Birding Presqu'ile Provincial Park

Hi Everyone

Spent the day birding various areas within Presqu'ile Provincial Park. It was a good day with a nice breeze off the lake to keep the temperature down. Overall, the shorebird watching was quiet but at Beach #3 we observed a few adult shorebirds including 2 Baird's Sandpiper, 2 Sanderling and 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper. The first juvenile shorebirds should be on their way south soon! The visibility on Popham Bay was excellent and 14 White-winged Scoter, 3 Greater Scaup and 6 Redhead along with 2 adult Bonaparte's Gull were observed. The bird activity on both Gull and High Bluff Islands was overwhelming with 1000's of Ring-billed Gulls and Double-crested Cormorants and 35+ Great Egret, 8 Black-crowned Night-Heron and 60+ Caspian Tern. At Owen Point there was a small movement of 20+ Yellow Warbler and 2 Northern Waterthrush and a Willow Flycatcher calling. The Marsh Boardwalk produced 2 juv. American Bittern along with 200+ Bank Swallows resting on the cattails. Summering Mute Swans numbers were impressive with 212 birds.

Good birding, Bruce

Directions:
(Courtesy Fred Helleiner) To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, follow the signs from Brighton. Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid that is available at the Park gate. Access to the offshore islands is restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.




Distant view of High Bluff Island with nesting Double-crested Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, and Great Egrets.



Owen Point Trail map.


Adult Baird's Sandpiper along Beach #3.


Sebastopol Point off Gull Island has nesting Black-crowned Night-Herons.


Caspian Terns and juvenile Herring Gulls resting/bathing at Owen Point.


The Marsh Boardwalk Trail is a great area for early morning or late evening birding. Watch for Least Bitterns, Great Egrets, Virginia Rails and Marsh Wrens.


An adult molting Sanderling feeding along Beach #3.


There is no access to Gull and High Bluff Island during the breeding season, March 10-September 10, but you can view from Owen Point.

Molting adult Sanderling


Adult Baird's Sandpiper


A Family of Mute Swans off Owen Point.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20, 2011 Western Meadowlark near Ottawa

Hi Everyone

A Western Meadowlark was found today at 12:50 pm by Ray Holland near the corner of Upper Dwyer Hill Rd. and Panmure Rd. The meadowlark is singing from the fence line opposite the produce stand. It was still present at 1:50pm. In eastern Ontario the Western Meadowlark in a very rare erratic spring and summer visitor.

Good birding, Bruce



Directions:
From Ottawa take Hwy.417 west to exit #163 Panmure Road. Take Panmure Rd. to Upper Dwyer Hill Rd.



The Western Meadowlark is easiest to detect by its distinctive song, a series of bubbling, flute like notes.


The plumage of the Western Meadowlark is similar to the Eastern Meadowlark but the Western has more yellow extending into the submoustachail area and has more spotting on the flanks than streaking of the Eastern Meadowlark.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 15, 2011 No ibis, Eared Grebe still present at Embrun Sewage Lagoon

After monitoring the White-faced Ibis since July 4th, Ben and I spent the morning birding various east end sewage lagoons. The breeding plumaged Eared Grebe was still present at Embrun in the south east cell. There were a number of male Ruddy Ducks displaying and numerous family groups of Mallards. A few shorebirds, Lesser Yellowlegs and Least Sandpiper, were feeding in the north west cell which had a bit of muck for the shorebirds to feed on. At Casselman Sewage Lagoon there were lots of families of Mallards but little else, no shorebirds and the east cell was totally dry. At Alfred Sewage Lagoon lots of activity in the west cell but the east cell was still under construction so no water or birds. The west cell had many families of ducks including Mallard, American Wigeon and Blue-winged Teal. Also, Common Moorhen, Ruddy Duck, American Coot , Wilson's Phalarope and Sora. With high water levels along the Ottawa River shorebird have few places to feed. Unfortunately most of the eastern sewage lagoons have high water levels but the High Falls Conservation Area at Casselman along the south Nation River has some habitat with 40+ Lesser Yellowlegs, 3 Least Sandpiper and a few Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper. Locally, some land birds are on the move either to kick-start fall migrants or find another mate. I was surprised to hear a male Tennessee Warbler in full song on July 9th and a male Northern Parula singing on July 13th, both in our backyard in Carp. Even a male Indigo dropped by for a few hours! There are more Bobolinks flying over head now giving their distinctive flight call, a soft pink, pink.


The breeding plumaged Eared Grebe has been present since June visiting a number of the eastern sewage lagoons. It appears to spend most of its time at Embrun.


A family of Northern Shoveler at Embrun.

Male Ruddy Ducks displaying to females.


A male Ruddy Duck in full display.


Prior to sewage lagoons the Ruddy Duck was considered a very rare migrant to eastern Ontario. Nowadays it is a local breeder and has bred at many of the eastern sewage lagoons. The first breeding record in eastern Ontario was at Vankleek Hill Sewage Lagoon in 1978 and the first Ottawa district breeding record was found at Casselman Sewage Lagoon on August 9,1986.

West cell at Alfred.

East cell under construction.

Jacques Bouvier and I at the Alfred Sewage Lagoon Observation Tower.


Jacques Bouvier took me on my first Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club spring bird count on May 21, 1972. We covered the north-east sector and both had our "lifer" Golden-winged Warbler near Perkins, Quebec.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011 Breeding success for Red-headed Woodpeckers again!

Hi Everyone
The Red-headed Woodpeckers at Constance Bay bred again for the 10th consecutive year raising at least 2 young. I visited the site late today and watched the 2 adults fly catching while the 2 juveniles were resting in an old dead popular. The area has changed a lot in the past decade with fewer trees for nesting. No sure what the future holds for the woodpeckers but it has shown the importance of fires to produce nesting habitat for these woodpeckers.

Good birding, Bruce



A juvenile Red-headed woodpecker at the Constance Bay "old burn site".

July 14, 2011 No White-faced Ibis today.

Hi Everyone
I checked at 6:00a.m. and the White-faced Ibis was back feeding along the Carp River. While watching it a Great Blue Heron flew in and flushed the ibis which than flew around for a minute before settling back to feeding. There were a number of very vocal Killdeer and Lesser Yellowlegs present too, so be careful approaching the area.
good birding, Bruce



Directions: From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to the Carp Road exit. and turn right (north) and follow Carp Road to the village of Carp. After crossing the bridge take the first right (east) on Rivington Street and follow to the end.



Both Ben and I checked right up till dusk and no White-faced Ibis. We will give it another check tomorrow morning.

July 13, 2011 White-faced Ibis still present.

Hi Everyone

I checked at 6:00a.m. and the White-faced Ibis was back feeding along the Carp River. While watching it a Great Blue Heron flew in and flushed the ibis which than flew around for a minute before settling back to feeding. There were a number of very vocal Killdeer and Lesser Yellowlegs present too, so be careful approaching the area. good birding, Bruce

Directions:
From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to the Carp Road exit. and turn right (north) and follow Carp Road to the village of Carp. After crossing the bridge take the first right (east) on Rivington Street and follow to the end.

The White-faced Ibis was feeding on small fish, worms and leeches.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011 White-faced Ibis back in Carp!

After last being seen on Friday, July 8th the White-faced Ibis was looked for both July 9th and 10th with no luck. Didn't have a chance on July 11th but this afternoon it was there. There was a report early today of a dark ibis observed near Deschenes Rapids, likely the same bird.


Hi Ontbirders,

The White-faced Ibis is back at the Carp River flood plains in Carp as of 4:30p.m. My dad just phoned and informed me of this sighting.

Good birding, Ben Di Labio


Hi Everyone

The White-faced Ibis was present again in Carp until 6:54p.m. feeding and preening. 3 lucky observers got to see it before I watched it take flight and slowly drift southeast in large circles before loosing sight if it. I'll check tomorrow morning and post if it returns.

Good birding, Bruce

Directions:
From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to the Carp Road exit. and turn right (north) and follow Carp Road to the village of Carp. After crossing the bridge take the first right (east) on Rivington Street and follow to the end.




The White-faced Ibis was rediscovered along the Carp river this afternoon. It spent most of its time feeding, catching a number of small fish and some what appeared to be worms.


The White-faced Ibis was last observed at 6:54p.m. circling and drifting southeast.

July 12, 2011 Chris R. Michener 1949-2011

Hello Everyone,


It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of Chris Michener of Golden Lake on June 25th, 2011 after a short battle with cancer. In Renfrew County, Chris was an avid birder, naturalist and environmentalist. He was a founding and life member of the Pembroke and Area Field Naturalist Club (1983) and was the club's newsletter publisher and record keeper for 28 years. He lead many of the club’s annual excursions, including the Lake Dore fall outing, the two Butterfly counts, and the very popular ‘Owl Prowl’ held in March.

Chris also founded both the Eganville (1992) and Killaloe (1996) Christmas Bird Count and was compiler (Eganville) for most of its 18 years. He was a regular on the Pembroke CBC and participated on the Dunrobin and Renfrew CBC'c too. He took part in both Ontario Breeding Bird Atlases and was regional coordinator on the second. Chris also had a keen interest in butterflies and dragonflies and conducted many local counts. Throughout his career, he used his knowledge of these areas to conduct important environmental surveys and studies for the Ministry of Natural Resources and for other conservation groups. Prior to his passing, Chris was working on the Renfrew County Biodatabase.


Eastern Ontario birders are going to miss his generosity. During the early 80's, Jacques Bouvier introduced me to the Pembroke birders which included Chris Michener, Manson Fluegel and Ken Hooles. It was through this connection that Chris introduced me to birding Lake Dore and Westmeath Provincial Park in the late 80's and early 90's. He will be remembered for bringing the birding community together with finding many great birds on Lake Dore such as the Razorbill and Ivory Gull. Other notable sightings by Chris included both Pomarine Jaeger and Red Phalarope, a male Garganey and an adult Slaty-backed Gull near Pembroke.


Slaty-backed Gull found by Chris Michener on November 20, 2007 near Pembroke, Ontario.
Photographed on November 27, 2007 by Bruce Di Labio


He will also be remembered for his unique style of pelagic birding with Manson on Lake Dore, locally known as "popcorn pelagic" (chumming for rare gulls with stale popcorn) which helped net Sabine's, Little and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Nothing made Chris happier than sharing a find and spending time with birding colleagues. He will be greatly missed by all. Condolences should be sent to Jean Brereton, his lifelong partner, at
jbrereton@hughes.net.



Bruce Di Labio


video

In memory of Chris, 2007 Texas trip.

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 6-8, 2011 White-faced Ibis still present in Carp.

Hi Everyone
The White-faced Ibis continues to feed along the Carp River floodplain today, July 8th. It flew in around 6:00a.m. from its roosting area and was still present at 8:20a.m.



Good birding, Bruce and Ben



Directions:
From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to the Carp Road exit. and turn right and follow Carp Road to the village of Carp. After crossing the bridge take the first right, Rivington St. and follow to the end.



A series of close up views showing reddish eye colour and pinkish facial skin of the White-faced Ibis.









Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4 & 5, 2011 White-faced Ibis in Carp, Ontario!

Definitely a major highlight for birders in eastern Ontario this year was the discovery of a White-faced Ibis along the Carp River during the morning on July 4th. My son Ben was checking out one of his local birding haunts and found a dark ibis feeding in the Carp River flood plain. He cycled home which is close by and phone me. I had just finished getting the oil changed at Frisby Tire and headed to the site shortly after the call. I arrived to find Ben and his scope set up with the ibis in view. Due to the distance and lighting it was difficult to get good views of the soft part colours; legs, facial skin, and eye colour. During the early afternoon an alert was put out for a probable Glossy Ibis but there was still some uncertainty. The following morning the ibis was again reported and Ben and I tried a few times but keep missing it. Finally around 1:30p.m. the ibis flew in while I was standing near the edge of the field and landed close by. I was able to take a number photos and then headed back home. Ben and I check the photos and could clearly see the colour of the facial skin, legs and we weren't 100% sure about the eye colour. I fired the images off to Alan Wormington near Point Pelee National Park and he felt it was a White-faced Ibis. The next local alert went out on a White-faced Ibis, first record for the Ottawa-Gatineau District. Great find Ben! Both birders/photographers started to show up and haven't stopped yet!



White-faced Ibis along the Carp River floodplain.


Another view of the White-faced Ibis.