Wednesday, January 2, 2013

December 28, 2012 In search of Gray Partridge and Lapland Longspurs.

In the closing days of 2012, and with me still short of my goal of 300 species, Jean Irons suggested I contact Bruce DiLabio to try to get either or both Lapland Longspur and Gray Partridge in the Ottawa area. I flew in today and the weather goddess was smiling on me as my flight in was not delayed and the Ottawa area was decked out in a new mantle of snow under sunny skies. It was chilly at -12C as we started.
Bruce had scouted for the two species in yesterday's big snow storm and come up empty, but the birding goddess smiled on me and we had two Lapland Longspurs in a flock of Snow Buntings near Antrim at about 10:10. Year Species 300 in my Big Year.
From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west towards Arnprior and exit at the Kinburn Side Rd. Turn left and follow to Upper Dwyer Hill Rd. and turn right. At the corner of Hanson Side Road and Upper Dwyer Hill Road scan the fields near the farm.

Having found one of the needed species Bruce then headed to the Kinburn area where we found a photogenic flock of 12 Gray Partridges about 20 minutes later, Year Species 301 in my Big Year. They tolerated us going past in the car and then coming back with the sun behind us as they returned to a narrow strip of green grass to forage. On looking at my photos on returning home I was surprised to see that most of them are females.
From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west towards Arnprior and exit at the Kinburn Side Rd. and turn right. Follow the road towards Kinburn and turn right on Farmview Road. For the next km or so watch for the partridge on the shoulder of the road.
Bruce was kind enough to try arrange photo opportunities with Northern Hawk Owl, Barrow's Goldeneye and Bohemian Waxwings, but none of them would cooperate. We did have long distance looks at the male Barrow's in the Rideau River above the Hurdman Bridge on the 417 in Ottawa.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Ontbirds subscribers who posted birds that I found only through their postings and all those who gave me suggestions and tips and kept me company on visits to the four corners of the province. Its been a great Big Year.

Kevin "301" Shackleton
Happy New Year


One of the best areas in Ontario to find  Gray Partridge is in eastern Ontario.

During the winter months Gray Partridge roam around in search of food. Depending on the snow depth birds are forced out onto the road sides.

Patches of  exposed weeds/grasses along back roads are good areas for Gray Partridge to feed.

In flight the Gray Partridge shows bright rufous on the outer tail feathers.

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