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.

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