Thursday, September 29, 2011

September 25 & 26, 2011 Long-billed Dowitcher and Great Egrets

Another big change in fall migration over the past week with more water birds on there way south. On September 26th while birding at Shirley's Bay I have a flock of 7 White-winged Scoter, 3 Redhead, 1 Snow Goose and good numbers of American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall, 3 Red-necked Grebe, 2 Horned Grebe and 180+ Wood Duck! I also counted 28 Great Egret both coming into roost on Sept. 25th and leaving the site the following morning. With the numbers we are getting nowadays, they we likely be breeding in the very near future, maybe next spring. It's amazing to think the first record for the Ottawa district was in August 1972. On September 24th I observed a juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher at Shirley's Bay and also found another one the following day at Richmond Lagoon. This is a rare but almost annual fall migrant and the first documented record for the Ottawa district was back in September 1971, at Shirley's Bay! I also had a pair of Bald Eagles during the week at Shirley's Bay. It is interesting to note that they built a nest last April/May at Shirley's Bay but didn't use it. I've watched them sit in it, roost in the tree regularly so maybe next year they will breed. I'm not a ware of any breeding records for the Ottawa district. So many changes to the Ottawa district birds in the past 40 years!
On September 25th, I came across a field of sunflowers that had not been harvested. It was amazing to watch all the birds that were feeding on the sunflower seeds. I counted over 200+ American Goldfinch, 20+ Blue Jay, 100+ Mourning Dove, 1 White-breasted Nuthatch, and 50+ European Starling, an amazing spectacle! Who needs a feeder when you have a field of Sunflowers!

Great Egrets roosting on mudflat at Shirley's Bay.

A juvenile Long-billed Dowitcher at Richmond Lagoon feeding with a Pectoral Sandpiper.

An American Goldfinch takes advantage of a field of sunflowers.

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