Saturday Morning at Bruce Pit

The sun was shining on Saturday when I woke up so I decided to head over to the Bruce Pit to look for shorebirds. Because the water levels are so high at Shirley’s Bay and along the Ottawa River there haven’t been many shorebird species reported this spring. I thought the Bruce Pit might be a good spot to check since there is usually good shorebird habitat all along the bottom of the “pit” and it is close to home.

I put my boots on and walked down the steep slope to reach the water. It felt strange to be walking in the muck without seeing any dragonflies or damselflies; that will have to wait another month.

View of the Bruce Pit

Waterfowl included Canada Geese, mallards and seven Common Mergansers. I also saw a trio of Great Blue Herons in the weeds and a single Black-crowned Night-heron flying over. I found only four shorebirds probing the mud, two Spotted Sandpipers (which breed in Ottawa) and two Solitary Sandpipers.

Solitary Sandpiper

I decided to walk around the pit, which meant walking back up the slope and taking the path through the woods. Along the way I encountered a Northern Flicker, one Ruby-crowned Kinglet, several Chipping Sparrows, a Palm Warbler, and a small flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers. I also saw a pair of accipiters flying over but couldn’t identify them.

At the footbridge that crosses over the small creek there is a trail that leads down to the water. I followed the path and, when I heard a Virginia Rail, coaxed a pair of them into view by playing a recording of their song.

The sun was starting to break through the clouds by then, and several swallows (mostly Tree and Barn) had emerged to hawk for insects over the water. It was a beautiful morning, and even though I only saw two shorebird species and two warbler species, it was great to walk around the pond and see what was around.

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