Wednesday, October 24, 2012

October 24, 2012 Black Scoter flight along the Ottawa River, Ottawa

The birding along the Ottawa River continues to change as the temperatures up north in the  Hudson Bay  region begin to fall below 0, forcing birds south. Today along the Ottawa River between Shirley's Bay and the Champlain Bridge there were a good number of scoters flocks. A total of 550+ Black Scoter, mainly males were observed along with 80+ male White-winged Scoter. A flock of 50+ Long-tailed ducks were also noted.  Lake Deschenes, on the Ottawa River, is well known for scoter flights from mid October to mid November along with flights of Red-throated Loons. Many of these flocks of scoters and Red-throated Loons are enroute to the Atlantic coast for the winter.  My first experience with a fall out of scoters was back on October 14,1975. I was in Grade 12 finished school early afternoon and headed out on my bicycle to check the Ottawa River. At Ottawa Beach (now Andrew Haydon Park) I noticed a large mass of dark ducks out in the middle of the river flying around landing then flying up and going a short distance but landing again. Using my 20X Bushnell Spacemaster, which I used for almost 20 years I studied the ducks in flight, 350+ male Black Scoter, 125+ male Surf Scoter and 100+ male White-winged Scoter. Since then this event has occurred numerous times resulting in high counts of 1000+ scoters mainly male Black Scoters.    

Distant flocks of scoters flying over the Otttawa River.

A flock of mainly male Black Scoters off Deschenes Lookout was a surprise. I've only observed a couple of large flocks, 100+ east of the rapids in the past 40 years.

The scoters are very nervous flying around landing for a short of period than taking flight and landing agian.

 They are typically in long strung out flocks over the water.

Over the years most flocks have consisted of males with only a few females.

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