The best place in Ottawa to see the greatest variety is the stretch of the Ottawa River known as Lac Deschênes. Located between Deschênes Rapids to the east and Innis Point (Ontario) and Baie Alexandria (Québec) to the west, Lac Deschênes is located wholly within the Ottawa River and reaches about three kilometres at its widest point. Because it is one of the larger bodies of water in the region, and because significant numbers of water birds stop here to rest and refuel during spring and fall migration, Lac Deschênes is recognized as a globally significant Important Bird Area (IBA). It isn’t surprising that the two life birds I got this month are both water birds, and that the most unexpected of the two was found on Lac Deschênes.
A quick trip to the Moodie Drive quarry pond one evening after work proved to be an excellent idea. Among the usual Ruddy Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes (at least 15!) and mallards were three Ring-necked Ducks and about a dozen Gadwall. Several cormorants were perching in the trees on the spit, while a large raptor perched on top of a hydro pole way in the back. When I turned my scope on the raptor it turned out to be an adult Bald Eagle!
Best of all, while driving home on one of the back roads I noticed a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a fence post right next to the road. These birds are difficult to photograph and tend to fly off as soon as they catch you looking at them, so I drove by, did a U-turn, and pulled up beside him with my passenger window open.
He didn’t know what to make of the car; I took a few photos through the window while he sized up my vehicle. Even though I’m sure he couldn’t see me sitting all the way on the driver’s side, apparently he didn’t like what he saw for he flew off a moment later.
I was pretty pleased, as these are my best photos of a Red-tailed Hawk yet!
On my mother’s and stepfather’s last day in Ottawa I took them to Jack Pine Trail. It wasn’t as sunny as it had been during the rest of the long weekend, and the mosquitoes were annoying. Now that migration is over and the birds are busy nesting and defending territories, they have become harder to see. As usual, we heard more than we saw, including Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-throated Green Warbler, Scarlet Tanager and Purple Finch. We managed to see a Swamp Sparrow in the marsh by the first boardwalk, a Common Yellowthroat at the third boardwalk, and an Ovenbird between the two. The yellowthroat was singing in a small tree right next to the boardwalk and even consented to have his picture taken:
April is finally here. This is the month when it truly begins to feel like spring, yet Mother Nature played a cruel April Fool’s trick on us by sending us a mix of snow and rain on Sunday morning. I managed to get in an hour’s worth of birding before the gray skies began spitting snow, starting first at Sarsaparilla Trail where I found a male Wood Duck, a pair of Hooded Mergansers, a male Bufflehead, and a pair of Ring-necked Ducks on the pond. This was the first Bufflehead I had seen here, bringing the total number of species observed to 75 – up 15 from the 60 I reported in my blog entry about Sarsaparilla Trail.
On Saturday I stopped in at Sarsaparilla Trail before heading up to Andrew Haydon Park to look for a Greater White-fronted Goose that had been photographed there the day before. Because the weather has been so mild, the pond at Sarsaparilla was completely open; the thin layer of ice had melted, and about 150 Canada Geese were swimming in the middle of the pond. The only other waterfowl species present were two mallards, two American Black Ducks, two Hooded Mergansers, and a single Great Blue Heron. There weren’t very many birds in the woods, so I didn’t linger but continued on my way up to the river. Continue reading
I started the morning at the Beaver Trail on Moodie Drive. The last time I had been here was in July, on a scorching hot day that was over 30°C; today was much different. There was a thin layer of ice on the pond, and certainly no butterflies around! I didn’t see much other than two White-tailed Deer in the woods, a couple of Blue Jays, two Hairy Woodpeckers, and at least four American Tree Sparrows at the trail entrance as I was leaving.