Monday, September 7, 2009

Shorebirds on the move! September 7, 2009

Finally, had a good shorebird watching today. The water level along the Ottawa River continues to lower and at Shirley's Bay today, there was actual mudflats visible for the first time since 2007. Though few shorebirds were noted, it was encouraging to see 1 Baird's Sandpiper, 3 Solitary Sandpiper, 2 Pectoral Sandpiper and 6 Spotted Sandpiper. With the lower water levels, 3 Great Egrets were observed feeding along with 11 Great Blue Heron and 1 American Bittern.
Hopefully these conditions will continue. Later in the day, I happened to come across a flooded field near the corner of Terry Fox Dr. and Fernbank Rd. To my surprise there were 10 species of shorebirds including a juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher. This rare but regular fall visitor was first recorded in the Ottawa District in September 1971 at Shirley's Bay. Also present were 22 Lesser Yellowlegs, 11 Pectoral Sandpiper, 3 Least Sandpiper, 2 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 2 Solitary Sandpiper, and 4 Semipalmated Plover.

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.

Directions: From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to Eagleson Road exit. Turn south and follow Eagleson Road to Fernbank Rd. and turn right and go to Terry Fox Road. Turn right and watch for flooded field on east side of road.

Flooded fields are always worth checking.

Solitary Sandpiper at the mouth of Watt's Creek, Shirley's Bay.

The Pectoral Sandpiper is a regular fall migrant in through eastern Ontario.

The Long-billed Dowitcher is a rare but regular fall migrant in eastern Ontario.

A juvenile plumaged Lesser Yellowlegs having a stretch!

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