Thursday, June 2, 2011

May 26, 2011 Major Fallout along the Ottawa River!

There was a major fallout/grounding of a number of interesting water birds along the Ottawa River today between the Champlain Bridge and Constance Bay. I've been along the river since 7:00a.m. and haven't had a chance to post anything until now. Early this morning there were a number of large flocks of Brant resting on the water along with smaller groups of White-winged Scoter, Surf Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser and Long-tailed Duck. At around 8:45a.m. I observed a breeding plumage Purple Sandpiper at the end of the Britannia Pier. A flock of 14 Whimbrel flew by Shirley's Bay and 7 Red-necked Phalarope were observed along the river off Britannia Pier. At 12:30pm I observed an adult Franklin's Gull flying over Britannia Point and continuing up the rapids. Unfortunately could not relocate it but there are lots of gulls, some terns and 100's of swallows and Chimney Swifts fly catching over Deschenes Rapids. Later this afternoon at least 5 Arctic Terns were fly catching below Deschenes Rapids. The numbers recorded during the day are as follows:

Brant 11,500+
White-winged Scoter 280+
Surf Scoter 14
Long-tailed Duck 28
Red-breasted Merganser 74

Good Birding, Bruce

Directions (courtesy of NeilyWorld):

Deschenes Rapids, from Britannia Filtration Plant: From Highway 417 (The Queensway) take exit 129 (Greenbank & Pinecrest Roads). If travelling west, the 0.3 km offramp dumps you right or north onto Pinecrest Road. If driving east, a 0.3 km offramp brings you to Pinecrest/Greenbank Road, where you will turn left or north onto Pinecrest Road and in 0.4 km join the westbound offramp traffic. Both groups will now follow Pinecrest Road north 0.8 km from here to Richmond Road. Turn right or northeast onto Richmond and go 0.5 km, crossing Carling Avenue, to Poulin Avenue. Turn left or north onto Poulin and go 0.6 km to where a left only turn puts you on Howe Street. Follow Howe west 0.2 km to Britannia Road. Turn right or north onto Britannia Road and proceed 0.8 km to Cassels Street. Turn right or east onto Cassels and go 0.7 km to a small parking area on the end at the Britannia Filtration Plant.

OR: Deschenes Rapids, from Quebec shore: From Boulevard des Allumettières or Highway 148, take the Chemin Vanier exit. Turn left or south onto Vanier and go 3.9 km to the Ottawa River and the Deschênes Rapids at the end of Chemin Vanier.

Remic Rapids: From Highway 417 (The Queensway) take exit 122 (Parkdale Avenue). The eastbound exit ramp comes to a stop sign at Parkdale Avenue in 0.1 km, while the westbound exit ramp becomes Westmount Avenue and reaches Parkdale Avenue in 0.2 km. Turn north onto Parkdale and proceed 1.7 km to the Ottawa River Parkway, passing Wellington and Scott Streets on the way. Pass under the Ottawa River Parkway. Continue 0.3 km round a 270 degree righthand turn to join the Ottawa River Parkway. Continue 0.8 km southwest along the Parkway to the Remic Rapids Lookout turnoff. Turn right or northwest into the parking area at Remic Rapids.

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

A large raft of Brant off Andrew Haydon Park was an indicator that there had been a grounding of water birds.

Later in the day a few flocks of Brant were on the move north.

The Purple Sandpiper is a very rare spring migrant in eastern Ontario.

This was only my third spring record for the Ottawa District in the past 40 years. I've observed Purple Sandpipers in May back in 1974 and 1976. Both observations at Shirley's Bay.

A Least Sandpiper and Dunlin find some shoreline at the Shirley's Bay boat launch.

A Semipalmated Plover waiting for the weather to clear.

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