Friday, August 27, 2010

August 23, 24 & 25, 2010 More birding along the Ottawa River

The Ottawa River between Britannia and Constance Bay continues to have the best variety of birds for late August birding. The combination of water birds and land birds makes it ideal for any one interested in birding from beginners to the seasoned birder. The low water levels continue to fluctuate somewhat but there is still lots of exposed mudflats. Another effect of the lower than usual water levels is the number of herons and egrets in our area. With lots of good fishing there's no shortage of activity. With each passing cold front over the next few weeks except good numbers of warblers, vireos, thrushes and other land birds in the Britannia/Mud Lake area and Shirley's Bay area. On August 23rd 3 juvenile Red-necked Phalaropes were present at Shirley's Bay feeding with a small group of Semi. and Least Sandpipers. On August 24th there were still 14 Great Egrets feeding at Shirley's Bay and the family of Red-headed woodpeckers were active at Constance Bay. At Constance Creek along the Thomas Dolan Parkway there were 3 American Bittern, 2 Common Moorhens and a immature Northern Goshawk flew over. A visit to Shirley's Bay on August 25th produced 2 Bald Eagle, 1 adult and 1 juvenile along with 5 Caspian Tern , 10+ Great Egret and excellent views of a juvenile Stilt Sandpiper.

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A juvenile plumage Stilt Sandpiper at Shirley's Bay. Look at the series of photo's and you will be able to see most of the field marks including obvious white eye line, long sightly drooped bill, green-yellow legs, some have a buffy or grayish breast, watch for dowitcher like feeding behavior, in fresh juvenile plumage will have pale feather edging, and note long winged appearance. In flight plain grayish wing and white rump. Often forages with Lesser Yellowlegs and Short-billed Dowitcher and is slightly smaller. In eastern Ontario and the Ottawa-Gatineau District it is a scarce but regular fall migrant through our area from mid July - late September.

A juvenile plumaged Solitary Sandpiper feeding at Shirley's Bay. This regular fall migrant, late June -mid September is uncommon. In suitable habitat it can sometimes be found in small numbers feeding. Note distinctive white eye ring, finely dotted on back with white, breast dark, legs greenish, in flight dark wings and very distinctive barred tail. When flushed or in flight gives a high clear peet-weet call.

Juvenile Cedar Waxwing, note streaked breast.

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